MONTREAL, MAY 4, 2016 –Westmount High School has opened a gender neutral washroom, following up on requests to this effect that were made to Principal Michael Cristofaro.
On Thursday, May 5 (1 pm) the Student Services Department of the English Montreal School Board will hold a workshop for in-school administrators on the subject of “Transgender/Gender Non-conforming Children” at 6000 Fielding Avenue. The animators will be Kimberly Manning,Associate Professor of Political Science (Concordia University) and Akiko Asano, Co-founder and President of Gender Creative Kids Canada. Both are parents of a transgender child.
“I am privileged as a principal to be in a school where students and staff are comfortable in coming to me to discuss what they believe are important issues,” Mr. Cristofaro said. “I heard from some students who are not comfortable in using either a boys’ or girls’ washroom. It struck me that a solution to such a fundamental basic human need must be sought. I was also confident that given Westmount’s past recent history, which has been so accepting of its diversity on many levels, whether it be cultural, ethnic, spiritual, or sexual orientation, that the creation of a gender-neutral washroom would simply be another important step in the inclusivity we already enjoy as a community.”
Last year it was brought to the administration’s attention that a number of students were uncomfortable using the washrooms because of gender identity issues. Given these comments, a survey was conducted with the student body about their level of comfort regarding a gender neutral washroom and approximately 80 percent said they supported the notion or were indifferent to the concept. With this in mind, the school moved forward with consultation and discussions at different levels including the teachers, Governing Board and School Board. Given what has been positively happening in other school jurisdictions, the decision was made to move forward with a pilot project where one of the girls’ washrooms would be transformed into a gender-neutral washroom.
Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213