Kiwi teen hits out over transgender toilet policy

A Kiwi teenager has spoken out about her school's decision to allow a transgender student to use the girls' bathrooms, saying it was made without consultation and her rights were overlooked.

In a video titled Ask Me First About School Toilet Privacy: Laura the girl, known only as Laura, says the management's decision to allow a transgender teenager, who was born male but identifies as female, to attend the all-girls' school last year shocked her.

School leadership initially told the transgender student she could use the gender-neutral toilets, but she successfully campaigned to access the girls' halfway through the school year.

Laura said it was then that she spoke up to the school's management, voicing her concerns for her and other students' safety.

``And at that point I was like `No this isn't right','' she says in the video.

``As a girl I feel uncomfortable with a guy being in the same toilets [as me]. There are already gender-neutral toilets in the school.

``Girls going through puberty and stuff, it can be quite stressful and embarrassing. And knowing that there could be a guy that could walk in, it's a little bit terrifying to think about that.''

She says she feared cisgendered boys could manipulate the school's stance.

``What happens if someone misuses that and claim to be [transgender] but they're not? That's a little bit scary to think about.''

The school's decision also put sexual abuse survivors at risk, Laura says. Seeing someone who was biologically male in the same toilet as them could also trigger trauma memories.

However, Laura says her concerns fell on deaf ears, with the principal telling her if she had a problem with being in the same toilet block as the other student Laura could use the unisex toilets herself.

``And that's when I thought `hold on a minute. I'm at an all-girls' school with these girls' bathrooms and you're telling me if I don't want to use them I can go to a unisex toilet?' It doesn't make sense. It really doesn't.''

Laura's mother also voices her opinion on the matter in the video, which lobby group Family First produced as part of a campaign to bar transgender females from using girls' and women's' facilities such as toilets and changing rooms.

``As a mother when I found out about the issue I was extremely distraught and upset,'' she says.

``I think there's a moral situation that you have to look at, a biological situation that you have to look at. A female is just so different to a male.

``Girls deserve a toilet just for girls because they are built differently than a man, a male. End of story.?''

She quotes a letter the school allegedly sent out to parents, which said: ``Our community value of respect for both self and others have been at the forefront of our carefully considered response''.

Laura's mother says the school's claims that it considered the rights of all its students before making the decision are ``really incorrect''.

``They have not respected the value of the girls' vulnerability. They haven't respected their thoughts on the matter. There's over 600 girls. They also have a right to have a voice.

``I think as a parent, we should've got together in the school itself before it all happened. Why didn't they ask us what we wanted to do?''

Laura adds that while she has nothing against the transgender student involved in the stoush, she takes issue with the school's lack of consideration of her views.

``I understand the guy's got to go to the toilet. But I still want my rights and my privacy,'' she says.

''[The school] never asked me my opinion. They never respected my rights. Nobody asked me first.''

Comments

Yeah, I can see boys lining up to pretend to be transgender just so they can go to a girl's only school and use their toilets. Why does this student even know that the transgender student isn't physically female (yet). I think the person whose privacy has been breached is not this complainants... and besides, it's not as if they make the girls use a common, urinal type loo... got a problem? Shut the door!

Go to another school if you feel unsafe ...soon

The placement seems to have been made without consulting the students. Do schools still work this way and damn the consequences? The reasons the complainant gives are valid to the students of a girls' school. However, transgender is not 'male' predatory, so the fears are likely to be unfounded. Oddly badly managed, this situation affects a school's equilibrium.

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