Motion passes for genderless bathrooms in Vancouver schools

WATCH: The Vancouver School Board makes some controversial changes to its policies around transgender students. Catherine Urquhart reports.

VANCOUVER – It’s a victory for the LGBTQ community in the Lower Mainland – the concept of genderless bathrooms is coming to Vancouver schools.

Vancouver School Board trustees passed the motion during a meeting Monday night.

It was a heated meeting with hundreds of people showing up to voice their support or their criticism of the decision.

All trustees voted in favour of the motion, except for Ken Denike and Sophia Woo, who were expelled from the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) Caucus last week over comments made about the LGBTQ community.

The new policy calls for single-stall, gender neutral washrooms in all school buildings so that a child will not have to tell anyone their gender based on the bathroom that they use.

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The new policy also pledges to reduce or eliminate the practice of segregating students by their sex.

While most people at the meeting were happy with the vote, several dozen people were not and Vancouver Police officers were brought in to make sure nothing got out of hand.

Dr. Ann Travers, associate professor of sociology at Simon Fraser University, said she was not surprised by the turnout at the meeting.

“It is consistent with the way the group opposing the amended policy have conducted themselves so far,” she said on BC1. “There’s been a lot of aggression and it seems to be, like a very angry group.”

She said this move is not just a win for transgender students, but for gender non-conforming children.

“It’s really basic daily things,” she said. “Knowing that when you have to go to the bathroom that you can find a bathroom and you can use it and that’s the end of it.”

“It also means that if you are born a boy but you identify as a girl, that you can ask to be called by a different name and that you can have an appropriate pronoun used to address you.”

WATCH: Travers talks to Leigh Kjekstad on BC1:

– With files from Catherine Urquhart


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