Ottawa

Gender-neutral washrooms introduced at Ottawa high school

A high school in Lowertown has opened its first gender-neutral washrooms for students and staff members. The school board says it has plans to open more "inclusive" washrooms across eastern Ontario.

A third stick-figure symbol has been added to washroom signs

The new gender-neutral washroom at an Ottawa high school has new signage to go along with it. (Radio-Canada/Jacques Corriveau)

A high school in Lowertown has opened its first gender-neutral washrooms for students and staff members — and the school board says it has plans to open more "inclusive" washrooms across eastern Ontario.

Two single-stall washrooms at École secondaire publique De La Salle — which used to be staff washrooms — were converted to gender-neutral facilities at the beginning of the school year.

The signs on the doors have been updated to include a third stick figure, along with the traditional symbols for male and female. 

Any student or teacher, regardless of gender, can use the space, according to the superintendent Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, Matthieu Vachon.

Safe space to do 'their business'

"We just want students to use whatever washroom they feel most comfortable using," Vachon said.

Some students at De La Salle told CBC News they're "proud" their school has created the spaces, especially for their transgender peers.

"I'm just very happy that they now have a space for them, that they know they're wanted and appreciated, and for them to just feel safe doing their business," said Grade 12 student Frederic Amdur.

The school board already has gender-neutral washrooms at two other schools, including École des Adultes Le Carrefour.

The school board said it plans to create similar facilities at schools throughout the district. 

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