BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — After his Ontario high school initially barred him from using the men's washroom, a 16-year-old transgender student is now being allowed to use the facilities at his Durham Region school, the Hamilton Spectator reports.
James Spencer was told at first to use the women’s washroom or a private washroom that required a key from the main office, but he objected to the decision and started a petition in protest at Clarke High School. The petition garnered hundreds of signatures from fellow students in support of his complaint.
“I pretty much came out to the entire school with that petition and the students were phenomenal; I didn't expect that much support or acceptance from the students,” Spencer told the Toronto Star in November, adding that he had expected more support from the school board and principal.
The petition appears to have done the job. According to Spencer's sister, Jess, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board has decided to lift the ban on his use of the washroom of his choice.
“We decided it would be most appropriate," the board’s superintendent of education, Martin Twiss, is quoted as saying. "That’s the direction we’ve taken." The high school’s private, gender-neutral bathroom no longer requires a key, Twiss added. “We’re piloting [the accommodations] at this school . . . it’s certainly teaching us a lot."
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