Signs signalling transgender people are welcome to use the washroom facilities of their choice went up at Alberni District Secondary School in late October. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

EDITORIAL: School washrooms are no place for fear

This is about access for people who need to use the facilities…

What do you do when you feel the need to go to the bathroom?

If you’re like the majority of Port Alberni’s population, you find a bathroom, go in, do your business and come out—you probably don’t think too much about it.

For a small portion of the population, though, there isn’t an easy answer.

Last week School District 70 made it a bit easier for students at Alberni District Secondary School who are transgender to find an answer. As of Oct. 22, the school has labeled all its washroom facilities as “trans welcome”. That means students who are transgender may use the washrooms and changerooms of their choice.

Trans students have had the option for just over a year of using three gender-neutral washrooms without having to ask for a key—one in the sick room, one in the staff room and the family bathroom on the lower floor. Anyone can use these washrooms, however, so the wait can be extended to get in there.

The new policy and new “trans welcome” signs aren’t about people taking advantage of gender identity so they can enter whatever washroom they want to. That kind of behaviour won’t be condoned, and will be punished, SD70 superintendent Greg Smyth has said.

This is about access for people who need to use the facilities. It’s about the right to access those facilities. Gender identity and gender expression are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It’s about feeling safe when you have to go. And it’s about the right to go to the washroom whenever you need to.

If you find this issue uncomfortable, imagine going six, eight, 10 hours without using the toilet when you’ve really got to go.

That’s beyond discomfort, it’s fear. And fear has no place in our school district’s bathrooms.

— Alberni Valley News

Just Posted

Language revitalization pole to stay in Port Alberni

Strong community interest leads to change of plans, says First Nations Education Foundation

Salmon Fest derby ticket wins Alberni man $1,000

The last winner of the 48th Port Alberni Salmon Festival has finally… Continue reading

VIDEO: Frequent closures on only highway in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet expected to continue until Summer of 2020

“We’ve had 400 blasts to date and moved nearly 90,000 cubic metres of material.”

Man stabbed in Port Alberni park

RCMP dog team called out to search for attacker

Alberni business nominated for two Ecostar awards

Second year for Social Root Consulting to be nominated in Social Impact category

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Devils strike early, hang on for 2-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver now 0-8-3 in last 11 games versus New Jersey

Most Read