Canada: Catholic schools in Vancouver adopt transgender policy

Vancouver from Kitsilano beach

Vancouver from Kitsilano beach

The Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese in British Columbia, Western Canada, have introduced a transgender policy, following a human rights complaint by parents of a transgender girl. Tracey Wilson was born a boy but now identifies as a girl. She was attending Sacred Heart, a a semi-private Catholic School in Vancouver. Her parents raised the issue after the school refuse to allow Tracey to use the girl's toilets.

The new policy states: “Where a request for accommodation is received on the basis of gender dysphoria or gender expression, the administrative staff should respond in a prompt and supportive manner, and in accordance with the principles outlined in this policy.”

It says students have the right to be addressed by their preferred name – even if they don’t legally change their name. School records will also be amended to reflect any changes.

The policy also states “whenever possible, administrators should aim to keep students who engage in gender non-conforming behaviours or who experience gender dysphoria at their original school site.”

Schools should also “provide access to a private washroom for use by any student who desires increased privacy,” and “a private changing area for the use of any student who is uncomfortable using the common changing facility, whether such discomfort is related to gender dysphoria, gender expression, or another reason.”

Dress codes will also have room for some flexibility under the new policy - “Upon receipt of a written request by a student’s parents/guardians in the attached form, a school shall provide an alternative uniform for that student, in designated school colours. The alternative uniform shall be determined in collaboration with the student’s parents and the school administration.”

In addition, PE classes will no longer be segregated on the basis of sex, according to the policy. “Physical education activities and intramurals shall not be segregated by sex, unless there are safety concerns.”

Vancouver is the first archdiocese to adopt a transgender policy in schools.

Read the full statement from the Archdiocese here:

Tags: British Columbia, Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese, Tracey Wilson, transgender policy, Western Canada

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