N.B. schools taking steps to be more inclusive to transgender students
Published Tuesday, September 15, 2015 6:30PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 16, 2015 8:27AM ADT
Schools in New Brunswick are taking steps to become more inclusive and accepting, specifically of those that identify as transgender.
The Anglophone East School District is working to be more inclusive to students who don't identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Students at Moncton High School will soon have access to gender neutral washrooms.
“People use washrooms, so it doesn’t matter about your gender or identity, it just matters that we have a safe place for students, staff, the community at large, to be able to access services and facilities,” says John Tingley, with the Anglophone East School District.
In addition, the school district has made improvements to the forms they send home to collect information about the students. They will now be able to choose the gender they identify with.
Michelle Leard, a trans-rights advocate, is applauding the move.
“The school district needs to be, I think, commended for the work that they are doing. They are making big steps, they are making big steps without much pressure. It's almost as though, they are being proactive,” says Leard.
Leard is hoping the province will take their cue from the school district, as New Brunswick is the only province that does not cover transition surgery for trans people.
Leard met with the health minister last week, to put that issue on the table. She's says she expects a response later this fall.
“They are willing and anxious to move forward with this. They know that they need to help us. They feel the urgency, they are sincere and empathetic to what we need. I believe they are going to make these changes as soon as they possibly can, I really do,” says Leard.
Michael Murphy, former health minister for New Brunswick, says he is fully supportive of the province covering the cost of transition surgery, because he did that during his time as health minister.
Murphy approved the cost of transition for one trans person in 2006 and says, it should be the case on a wider scale today.
“It’s something that can be paid for, it is not a huge and costly thing, there is not a big line up here like at a bank,” says Murphy.
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell