Westmount High School opens gender-neutral washroom

Westmount High School principal Michael Cristofaro says a number of students came to him to ask for a washroom that catered to students who don’t identify with either gender.

Principal says he’s happy to provide for students 'fundamental basic human need'

Students were polled on the idea, and 80 per cent responded that they were either in favour of or neutral to the idea of a gender-neutral washroom. 0:46

It's a big day for Adrienne Buell, a secondary four student at Westmount High School.

Buell self-describes as agender, meaning identifying as neither a boy or a girl, and in the past, using the school washrooms could be uncomfortable.

"It feels sort of like telling a lie. Using a gendered washroom, people will automatically associate you with that washroom. It's a lot of emotional baggage, especially for a teenager," says Buell.

From now on, Buell has another option.

Westmount High School is following in the footsteps of other Montreal academic institutions, including Concordia University, Dawson College and Vanier College, and adding a gender-neutral washroom.

Principal Michael Cristofaro says the idea started with the student body.

He says he spoke with a number of students who described the need for a washroom that catered to students who don't identify with either gender.

"I decided, well, let's move on this because it's really a simple thing to do," he says.  

Students were polled on the idea, and 80 per cent responded that they were either in favour of or neutral to the idea of a gender-neutral washroom.

"We needed to get a sense of whether there was a real need... and there was."

Not the 1st

Westmount High School isn't the first high school in Quebec to move to accommodate transgender students.

In March, Montreal's largest French-language school board, the Commission scolaire de Montréal, adopted a new policy on transgender students.

The policy guarantees that students can use the locker room they are most comfortable with, dress as they please, and be called by the name and pronoun of their choice.