Media Release 22 July 2015
Family First NZ is welcoming comments by a transgender support group that gender-neutral fitting rooms in department stores are totally unnecessary.
“These comments are in line with the concerns – and solutions – raised in our recently released report on gender identity. The safety of children and families should come first, and the expectation of parents and children is to see people of the same gender in places like changing rooms, especially where family members can be trying on difference clothes and in various stages of undress,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“As the report highlights, family changing rooms are a reasonable option but department stores would need to ensure that they are suitably secure and discreet – something which many changing areas in clothing stores are not always. The problem is that ‘gender identity’ is a very subjective criterion, based solely on the feelings and beliefs of the customer.”
The report “BOYS GIRLS OTHER – Making Sense of the Confusing New World of Gender Identity” draws from decades of mainstream academic and international research, and seeks to bring clarity to this topic and practical advice for schools, parents and community leaders, for the wellbeing of children.
The report says: “Even while realising these issues are very personal and deeply felt and how they must develop empathy within us, it is unwise to allow emotions – regardless of how deeply felt – to drive the decision and policy-making process related to such issues. We must take a sober understanding and appreciation of what the leading scholars and clinicians have to tell us on these issues. Their voices should be heard more clearly and strongly than the various advocacy groups of any stripe” particularly as they impact our children.
“As the report says, those with gender dysphoria should have access to both safe and appropriate toilet and changing room facilities, and should be treated with respect. They do not however have the ‘right’ as a ‘matter of choice’ to use the bathroom or changing room that seems right to them, as this infringes on the comfort and sense of security of all the others. Bathrooms and changing rooms are not about self-esteem and ensuring feelings of acceptance,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Among the other implications of gender neutral proposals is that sex-specific facilities, including gyms like Contours and swimming pools who have dedicated times for females only, plus the use of men’s and women’s public toilets and changing rooms, could no longer be limited on the basis of a person’s actual biological sex.”
The report has been sent to every school in New Zealand, and to politicians.