Nonbinary Students Share Crofton High School Experience


Photo Courtesy of Twitter

Gender Neutral ideas for addressing a group.

Shannon Tallon, Staff Writer

Warning: This article may contain triggering and uncomfortable topics such as suicide, bullying, abuse, and depression. Please read at your own risk.

The nonbinary and transgender community has gone through many hardships in their ongoing fight for equality, and this fight carries over to school grounds. This fight extends to AACPS school grounds, where the fight for equality continues. Students have struggled with deadnames, being misgendered, and the dreaded gender-neutral bathroom situation. There are many issues with how schools treat transgender and nonbinary students, and a handful of nonbinary and transgender students shared their views. 

Being transgender is to be unaligned with the gender assigned to you by birth, whether it be through gender expression or gender identity. For example, being assigned female at birth but aligning and identifying as a man or being assigned male at birth but identifying with neither male nor female. Being cisgender is to be aligned with the gender you were assigned at birth.


How have teachers respected your name and pronouns?

Tommie Loughrey: Some teachers have used my preferred name in attendance and seating charts, and some have also had [people] say pronouns in introductions.

Sid West: They say the right name and some say “she” while some correct themselves.

Dorian Franklin: Teachers are mostly good with my name but almost always use the wrong pronouns even when I wear a pronoun mask.

Sam Norris:  Most teachers have been understanding and used my name although most don’t bother to think about pronouns.


Has the school accommodated you similarly to a cis person?

Loughrey: The school has accommodated similarly but the emphasis on similar and not the same, as things are more out of the way compared to cis[gendered] [stuff].

West: Yes.

Franklin: Mostly, I haven’t noticed any difference.

Norris: I have extra difficulties but the school is still accommodating for the most part, but definitely not ideal.


Are the nonbinary utilities easy to access?

Loughrey: [Nonbinary] utilities aren’t as easy to access:

  • There are only two bathrooms on two different floors and they’re hard to unlock.
  • There is no [nonbinary] locker room, I’m using a staff one or [something].

West: I don’t use the nonbinary utilities.

Franklin: For the most part they are, although the school didn’t make an announcement so it would be easy not to know that they exist. The school should make it clearer that we have them. There are only 2 in the building so it’s funny to hear the people who use the men’s bathrooms complaining about only having 2 in the building because they destroyed theirs when nonbinary people only have 2, to begin with. 

Norris: The gender-neutral bathrooms aren’t ideal since there isn’t one on the first floor, and there are only two so if one is occupied I have to go to a different floor. The doors were also difficult to open and it took us a few days to figure out how to unlock them properly.


Have you been deadnamed in a class by a teacher or peer?

Loughrey: I’ve been deadnamed by a few teachers in attendance despite having my name changed in the school system and supposedly my teachers were emailed about it.

West: Yes, by a teacher.

Franklin: There is one teacher who deadnames me a lot and I get deadnamed by [my] peers more than I would like.

Norris: I’ve been deadnamed about 10-12 times total since school started, mostly by teachers.

Have you been denied access to nonbinary bathrooms or locker rooms?

Loughrey: I have not been denied access but for a while, I didn’t even know there was a locker room I could use. The locker room is also not always unlocked, and I have to wait for it occasionally. This makes it stressful to get to class on time.

West: No, I don’t use them.

Franklin: I had a teacher tell me that I couldn’t go to the bathroom because it wasn’t on the same floor so it would take too long. So she told me I couldn’t go to the bathroom because of my being nonbinary.

Norris: I haven’t been denied access to the bathrooms but it took me the first 3 days of school before I figured out how to use the key properly.

Have there been any instances of targeted harassment to you based on your gender identity?

Loughrey: I haven’t been targeted or harassed.

West: I don’t think so.

Franklin: Some people deadname or misgender me intentionally but nothing awful.

Norris: I haven’t been targeted or harassed but it does make me nervous to say my pronouns in front of a class in the rare circumstance where a teacher has asked.

Would you say that your experience has stayed the same from before you came out?

Loughrey: My in-school experience has definitely changed since coming out.

West: Definitely not.

Franklin: For the most part it has.

Norris: I don’t regret coming out but it is a much different experience and there are definitely more [difficulties] in certain aspects as well as more to worry about.

On a scale of one to ten, one being the worst and ten being the best, what would you rate your experience with the nonbinary treatment at Crofton High School?

Loughrey: I’d rate my treatment a 7.5/10: it’s not terrible but it’s not [really] great either.

West: 5/10.

Franklin: Probably a 5/10.

Norris:  I would rate it a 6/10.


The average rating of the treatment is a 6/10 (rounded up, rounded down it would be about 55%), which in school terms is a 60%: below an E. The utilities are hard to find or even know about, not to mention the deadnaming and misgendering that goes on from both teachers and peers. There is also the issue of the nonbinary bathroom: the door is hard to open and many people need teacher help to get it open, and the key needed to open it costs money if you lose the first one. Cisgender bathrooms don’t have a key, nor do you have to pay for a new one.

Aside from the moral standpoint of treating transgender and nonbinary individuals equally to cisgender individuals, which should be a given, there have been studies that show that transgender and nonbinary students have a higher likelihood of being bullied and targeted. 

During an experiment conducted by it was found that transgender and nonbinary students were targeted much more than cisgender students: “Both experiences of being bullied and perpetrating bullying were more commonly reported by transgender youth than by cisgender youth. Among transgender youth, all involvement in bullying was more commonly reported by non-binary youth than those identifying with the opposite sex.”. The fact that this study was conducted in the current age even after years of fighting for equality is mind-boggling.

Normalizing these statistics and also normalizes the suicide rate among transgender and nonbinary students. Studies conducted by have shown that over half of transgender students have attempted suicide sometime in their life. To put this in other numbers that found, that is one in every three transgender students. According to 41% of transgender adults have attempted suicide sometime in their lives. 

Because of prejudice against the transgender and nonbinary community, these numbers are seen as just that: numbers. We, as a school, should not contribute to these numbers and should be able to create an environment that is accessible and equal for transgender and nonbinary students. 

The Crofton High School community must create an environment where everyone is equal. We must accommodate nonbinary and transgender students with nonbinary and gender-neutral bathrooms and locker rooms, and though there has been a good effort on behalf of some of the teachers, all teachers here should respect pronouns and help their students be happy with themselves and their identities.