TVNZ One News 14 March 2016
Family First says allowing schools to introduce gender neutral toilets for transgender students is sending a “harmful message” and causing confusion.
The lobby group is today publishing legal advice around incorporating transgender students into the school environment and its national director Bob McCoskrie believes schools are being bullied into policies instead of seeking guidance.
At least one Wellington college has installed gender neutral bathrooms, and another is planning to.
“Legal opinion says that legally schools don’t have to allow that which is good but at the same time they need to allow for special circumstances,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today.
“What this is about is safety for the whole school environment and parents are not expecting their young daughters to be getting a biology lesson in the school toilets with a boy who thinks he is a girl.
“It’s a safety factor as well. If you have a young girl who perhaps comes from a history of abuse, and then have a boy come in who thinks he is a girl, that’s harmful to her. You’ve got to consider both parties.”
“We think it’s a harmful message. To target these messages at schools at young and vulnerable people saying if you’re not happy with yourself, you can change your sex, that’s a dangerous message, it’s causing harm and it’s causing confusion.
“We want them to be unique and who they are but based on the reality of biology.”
Schools being ‘bullied’ over gender identity policies – Family First
TVNZ One 14 March 2016
A lobby group says schools are not required by law to allow transgender students access to shared toilets, showers and changing rooms.
Family First says it has obtained a legal opinion for schools that says limiting access to toilets and changing rooms based on sex has long been considered appropriate given the need to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for all students.
Family First NZ says limiting participation in sports teams on the basis of sex has also been about providing a safe physical environment particularly in the contexts of sports that involve physical contact and a physical contest of strength.
The legal opinion says it is “overly simplistic and incorrect to say that schools are required to give transgender students access to shared toilets, showers and changing rooms”.
But, the opinion acknowledges that schools need to consider and address the needs of students with gender dysphoria in a reasonable manner.
“This legal opinion will give important information to principals who want to act in the best interests of the whole school community without fear of breaching the law,” Family First director Bob McCoskrie says.
We believe schools are being bullied into adopting ‘gender identity’ policies.”
Family First director Bob McCoskrie
Mr McCoskrie says calls for young people to have the “right” to use any toilet that matches their gender identity irrespective of their biological sex fail to consider the welfare of the whole school environment.
“Students with gender dissatisfaction must be given the very best support we can and handled with love and care, but ignoring biology is not a proper solution. To push the gender agenda in schools is a dangerous step to take.”
Last week two Wellington colleges revealed they are meeting the needs of transgender students by installing gender neutral bathrooms.