BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A 16-year-old transgender student has been denied access to the men’s washroom in his Ontario high school; instead, he must use the women’s washroom or a private washroom that requires a key from the main office, the Toronto Star reports.
James Spencer has collected signatures from half the students in Durham Region’s Clark High School for a petition to allow him to use the men’s washroom, but so far to no avail. According to the report, Spencer thought the school’s administration was just “figuring it out” and that the current arrangement was temporary. “But as time went on they’re portraying the message that transgender people are wrong and they need to be segregated,” he told the Star.
“I pretty much came out to the entire school with that petition and the students were phenomenal, and I didn’t expect that much support or acceptance from the students,” Spencer says, adding that he expected more support from the school board and principal.
He alleges he was also asked to use a washroom at a Harvey’s near the school, but the school denies this.
“I think we have to be careful that we accommodate students as best we can, but we also have to be conscious that not everyone might feel comfortable with that at this point,” Martin Twiss, superintendent of education at the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, says. “I think we have to do some education and some preparatory work to make sure that it’s managed in a way that everybody understands the situation and it’s managed safely.”
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