Credits: Gillian Wheatley, The London Free Press
Does the Toronto District School Board’s latest policy make it OK for a boy to enter the girl’s washroom whenever he ‘feels’ like it?
In another controversial move, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has declared that transsexual and ‘gender non-conforming’ students and staff have the right to use whichever washroom they please.
Since the TDSB’s use of the term of ‘gender’ is all about how one feels, this means that any student could enter any student washroom whenever they like – and it would be against the human rights policy to question it. The same goes for staff and their respective washrooms.
While transgender or ‘gender neutral’ bathrooms have popped up across the country – most notably on university campuses – the TDSB isn’t offering an alternative restroom for students.
Instead, customary ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ washrooms will still be in place – and the TDSB has opened those washroom doors to all staff and students at any time.
The TDSB Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students and Staff states that “all students have a right to safe restroom facilities and the right to use a washroom that corresponds to the student’s gender identity, regardless of the student’s sex assigned at birth.” The same is stated for employees.
It is unclear whether students and staff have to pick a (non-conforming ) ‘side’ and stick with it, or if they are able to change desired washroom identity based on the day.
“Requiring students to ‘prove’ their gender (by requiring a doctor’s letter, identity documents, etc.) is not acceptable,” the guide states. “A student’s self identification is the sole measure of the student’s gender.”
In this case, the TDSB has made a clear distinction between ‘gender’ – what a person feels and/or identifies as – and ’sex’ – the male or female classification with which a person born.
It’s all a little confusing for critics, who are concerned about the privacy implications for young boys and girls simply trying to use the washroom in peace.
The controversial guide also touches on the TDSB’s affirmative action hiring policies, stating, “School leaders should make an effort to hire and retain transgender and gender non-conforming staff."