South L.A. High School Opens Gender-Neutral Bathroom With Multiple Stalls

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Santee Education Complex is the first school in the Los Angeles Unified School District to let students of different genders use the same bathroom at the same time.

Transgender student Alonzo Hernandez, 16, stands in what will be converted on on April 14, 2016, into the first multi-stall gender-neutral bathroom at Santee Education Complex, and in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Hernandez said he felt uncomfortable using gender-specific bathrooms. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Transgender student Alonzo Hernandez, 16, stands in what will be converted on on April 14, 2016, into the first multi-stall gender-neutral bathroom at Santee Education Complex, and in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Hernandez said he felt uncomfortable using gender-specific bathrooms. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

On Thursday, the circular "girls" sign outside a second-floor bathroom is being replaced by one that says "all-gender restroom." The inside isn't changing at all.

Starting Friday, the 15-stall bathroom will be open to all 1,780 students at the high school, located in Historic South-Central L.A. just south of downtown. The school's other bathrooms will still be marked for either boys or girls.

The country's second-largest school district is joining a growing movement toward gender-neutral bathrooms, particularly in California, where state law and L.A. Unified policy already specify that transgender students can use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. Policies differ elsewhere: In North Carolina, lawmakers passed a bill that restricts which bathrooms transgender people can use, and South Dakota's governor recently vetoed a bill that would have denied students the right to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

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