Chilliwack school board candidate Heather Maahs says some parents are upset about new gender neutral washrooms at Vedder Elementary and Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt Elementary/Middle School. (Facebook video screenshot)

Chilliwack school board candidate Heather Maahs says some parents are upset about new gender neutral washrooms at Vedder Elementary and Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt Elementary/Middle School. (Facebook video screenshot)

LETTER: Inclusion benefits everyone

‘Many workplaces have gender neutral washrooms’

With the greatest of respect, I find it hard to understand how a school trustee can endorse a document without reading the whole thing through. This is like agreeing to a credit card application, loan, mortgage, changes in internet agreements, etc. with just a cursory glance and accepting all that is implied.

Gender neutral washrooms. At last, we are finally coming into the 21st century in Chilliwack. Several years ago, my husband and I visited Versailles. I needed to use the washroom. The washrooms were mixed with both sexes. I headed to the stall passing by several men urinating at the urinals. I admit it was a bit of a surprise to my prudish North American self, but hey, when you must go, you must go. No molesters, no oglers, just people getting on with their business. I seem to recall, many universities have gender neutral facilities in the dorms, and that has been going on since the 1970s.

Many workplaces have gender neutral washrooms.

Schools have washrooms that say ‘staff’ and again are for people of all genders.

The marina’s bathrooms in Vancouver have no designation. You use a fob to get in, lock the door and do whatever business you need to.

Lastly, while I might personally find floor to ceiling doors a little claustrophobic, have you never been to some of the fancier restaurants and hotels and encountered similar long doors? It is a lot better than having a little child peering under the door into the cubicle, which I have experienced in my life. This is a model of inclusive/accessible adaptation that benefits all students. These students are going out into the wider world where all of this is going on. Education is not only the 3R’s but that of accommodating to the world they will inhabit one day.

We are in a world of flux. I don’t always like it, but I accept that it should not impinge on my own personal values or beliefs. I fully support making people feel as safe as possible. If my child needed a place where they feel no one will mock them for their gender fluidity, I would be grateful. Our world is confusing enough as it is.

Elizabeth Gillies

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