At age 19, Danielle Thrasher has already transformed the lives of countless individuals. And she is just getting started.
Thrasher co-founded the LGBTQ-focused nonprofit Out MOV serving the Mid-Ohio Valley in 2019. She also compiled a report, “LGBTQ+ Youth in the Mid-Ohio Valley: An Empirical Report,” while attending Washington State Community College through the College Credit Plus program for high school students.
Early in 2021, while serving in Capital University’s Student Senate, Thrasher garnered unanimous support from the student government body to pass the Restrooms-for-All resolution.
The resolution backed the renovations of restrooms in the Harry C. Moores Student Union so they are gender-neutral and (finally!) compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Those renovations are set to begin Dec. 16 and be completed by the time students return from winter break on Jan. 4.
According to GLSEN, nearly two-thirds of transgender students avoid school bathrooms because they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. They risk physical and verbal harassment, regardless of which sex-segregated bathroom they use.
As a trans youth growing up in Appalachia, Thrasher was one of those students.
“I don’t want the next generation of trans youth to have to go through what I went through,” said Thrasher, who was compelled to use the nurse’s restroom at her high school. Prior to coming out as trans, Thrasher said she avoided school restrooms altogether.
It’s not only transgender people who benefit from gender-neutral restrooms. The American Psychological Associates notes they are helpful for people whose family member, such as a disabled person, child or older adult, requires assistance from different-sex parents or caregivers.
Gender-neutral restrooms are also vital for people with medical conditions that prevent them from comfortably using multi-stall restrooms.
Thrasher benefited from the advocacy of students before her. She lives in Capital’s first gender-inclusive hallway, which was created in 2016.
“That’s where my passion came from,” Thrasher said. “The restrooms in the Convergent Media Center and the gender-inclusive hall were the only facilities on campus that were gender-neutral. These renovations will create more opportunities for trans people to have a space that feels safe and inclusive.”
Thrasher said she will continue advocating for people who have historically been excluded.
She is studying nonprofit management and public communication and will begin her senior year in the spring. As part of her capstone, Thrasher plans to compile a business plan to form the first LGBT center in her hometown of Marietta. 🔥
- Take a look around your workplace/school. Are there any single use restrooms separated by gender? Ask the powers-that-be to re-assign them as gender neutral. This will make a *huge* difference.