With respect to all restrooms, locker rooms or changing facilities, students shall have access to facilities that correspond to their gender identity. Schools may maintain separate restroom, locker room or changing facilities for male and female students, provided that they allow all students equal access to facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. Students, including non-binary students, should determine which facilities are consistent with their gender identity.
Any student who is uncomfortable using a shared sex-separated facility, regardless of the reason, shall, upon the student’s request, be provided with a safe and non -stigmatizing alternative. This may include, for example, addition of a privacy partition or curtain, provision to use a nearby private restroom or office, or a separate changing schedule. However, requiring a transgender or gender nonconforming student to use a separate space threatens to publicly identify and stigmatize the student as transgender and should not be done unless requested by a student. Under no circumstances may students be required to use sex -segregated facilities that are inconsistent with their gender identity.
Where they exist, schools shall designate facilities designed for use by one person at a time as accessible to all students regardless of gender. However, under no circumstances may a student be required to use separate facilities because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
Schools are encouraged to incorporate single -user facilities and greater privacy into new construction or renovation, and to assess ways to increase privacy for all students in existing facilities.
All students are entitled to have access to restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities that are sanitary, safe, and adequate, so they can comfortably and fully engage in their school program and activities. In meeting with the transgender student (and parent) to discuss the issues set forth in this memorandum, it is essential that the principal and student address the student’s access to the restrooms, locker room and changing facility. Each situation needs to be reviewed and addressed based on the particular circumstances of the student and the school facilities.
In all cases, the principal should be clear with the student (and parent) that the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity. While some transgender students will want that arrangement, others will not be comfortable with it. Transgender students who are uncomfortable using a sex-segregated restroom should be provided with a safe and adequate alternative, such as a single “unisex” restroom or the nurse’s restroom. Similarly, some transgender students may not be comfortable undressing in the changing facilities that correspond to the student’s gender identity.
Some students may feel uncomfortable with a transgender student using the same sex-segregated restroom, locker room or changing facility. This discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student. School administrators and counseling staff should work with students to address the discomfort and to foster understanding of gender identity, to create a school culture that respects and values all students.
The Department strongly recommends that districts include an appropriate number of gender-neutral restrooms commensurate with the size of the school, and at least one gender-neutral changing facility, into the design of new schools and school renovations. School staff as well as students and their families may find the use of restrooms and changing facilities to be among the more challenging issues presented by the gender identity law, perhaps due to issues of personal privacy.
As emphasized in other sections of this guidance, these issues should be resolved on a case-by-case basis, through dialogue with students and parents, and through leadership in creating safe and supportive learning environments.
Restrooms: A student who has been identified as transgender under these guidelines should be permitted to use the restrooms assigned to the gender which the student consistently asserts at school. A transgender student who expresses a need for privacy will be provided with reasonable alternative facilities or accommodations such as using a separate stall or a staff facility. However, a student shall not be required to use a separate gender-neutral facility over his/her objection.
Locker Rooms: The use of locker rooms requires schools to consider a number of factors, including but not necessarily limited to the safety and comfort of students; the transgender student’s preference; student privacy; the ages of students; and available facilities. As a general rule, transgender students will be permitted to use the locker room assigned to the gender which the student consistently asserts at school. A transgender student will not be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the gender identity consistently asserted at school. A transgender student who expresses a need for privacy will be provided with reasonable alternative facilities or accommodations, such as using a separate stall, a staff facility or separate schedule.
Other Gender-Segregated Facilities or Activities: As a general rule, in any other facilities or activities when students may be separated by gender, transgender students may participate in accordance with the gender identity consistently asserted at school. Interscholastic athletic activities should be addressed through the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) Participation Policy.