Victory

New Zealand transgender student refused female bathroom rights

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I am a 16 year old transgender woman who goes to an all girls school in Blenheim and yet I have been told by management that I can’t use the girls bathroom. I’ve attended Marlborough Girls’ College for almost half a year now and have been using the girls’ bathroom since I’ve been here. However, a few weeks ago a teacher happened to see me leaving the girls’ bathroom and asked my Dean which bathroom I was meant to use. When my dean later brought this up with me she used transphobic language and ideas. She told me that a member of staff had complained and asked me what bathrooms I was using. Naturally, I told her I was using the girls’ bathroom because I am a girl, and the majority of the school’s bathrooms are for girls. She went on to say that I should be using the boys toilets because I was a boy.

This was incredibly shocking at the time and I stormed out, after all, how could my dean who is supposed to support me say that to my face? I organised to go see the principal about this as soon as it happened and eventually had a meeting with the principal, my dean and a support person from the school’s QSA with me. In this meeting they told me that they made an agreement when I first enrolled that I would use the few available men's bathrooms at the school. I had no recollection of that agreement ever being made. I told them that I very much wanted to be able to use the girls’ bathroom, and that I have as much right as any other girl. Several other meetings occurred with very little progress. They kept trying to tell me that I couldn’t use the girls’ bathrooms because it was all about everyone’s comfort and safety, as though anyone was at risk from me just trying to use the bathroom. The one idea that they kept using as an excuse as to why I could only use the few gender neutral or male bathrooms in the school was that it would make some students uncomfortable, and that they would complain and parents would become involved. These assumptions are completely incorrect and offensive; not a single student has complained since I first enrolled at MGC, and only one teacher made an enquiry out of curiosity.

That aside what I want to get across is how blatantly transphobic the school has been against me and how upsetting this whole situation has been. There is no need to worry about other students safety in this situation. It is me who has been forced to stop using certain bathrooms; interrupting my learning and my school day. This whole situation has ended in me being told I can use the gender neutral bathrooms that are available, and that the school is looking to add more. But right now there are only four, and these are at the outskirts of the school. As a girl I want to and should be able to use the girls bathrooms. Why spend money on making bathrooms for me to be segregated and out of sight of others when I can just go in the girls’ bathroom free of charge? In the end it will be taxpayers forking out for this schools transphobia.



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