Letter: Gender neutral washrooms step in right direction

It absolutely thrills me to see this being included in the school’s construction

Gender neutral washrooms step in right direction

Regarding gender neutral washrooms in our new secondary school — it absolutely thrills me to see this being included in the school’s construction. Yet at the same time I have to express sadness that in the year of 2022 this is the exception and not the rule. I too hope for a day that this isn’t news, just business as usual.

I’m a trans woman who has to navigate the anxieties of using public restrooms. To put it bluntly, it sucks. I just want to go to the bathroom without fear of rude looks or remarks. Is this too much to ask?

I want to calm anyone who is expressing fear over the matter by saying this: the new design is perfect. It offers security and privacy to the individual while they are utilizing the toilet. The communal sink offers the protection of being in everyone’s view. Still concerned? Well, any safety issue has been addressed. At this point it may be compassion that is lacking, but that is not for me to discern.

This concept in our new school is a step in the right direction. I want to give credit to the Cowichan Valley School District for being proactive in addressing any issues that may come forth with this concept. I hope that instead of striking fear into people in our community it instead invokes a conversation about gender identity, and respecting each other’s right to choose that identity. These conversations aren’t easy and can be painful for some, but take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to understand something in order to respect it. I can asure you trans and nonbinary people are very real. We want the same thing you want, and that is to feel safe and included. Even when using the washroom.

Arica Alder