Vancouver school board adopts controversial policy on transgender students

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 9:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 1:46am

Vancouver's school board has passed a revised policy on the treatment of transgender students, overcoming opposition from critics who were largely drawn from the city's Chinese Christian community.

The policy includes recommendations that schools introduce gender-neutral washrooms and allow transgender students to dress as they feel appropriate.

Staff are also urged to protect the students' rights to decide who gets to know about their status.

Critics saw the policy as usurping parents' rights to raise their children as they saw fit.

School board head Patti Bacchus wrote on Twitter that she was "proud to be on the right side of history".

The new policy measure was passed at a board meeting on Monday evening by seven votes to two.

The dissenting votes came from Sophia Woo and Ken Denike, who were both expelled last week from their political grouping, the Non-Partisan Association, as a result of their campaigning against the transgender proposals.

The pair had staged a press conference in a Chinese restaurant last Friday, where it was claimed that Chinese immigrants would shun Vancouver as a result of the policy.

A press release issued by Denike linked the issue to real estate values, by making the claim that "realtors express concern that a revised policy on sexual orientation and gender identities could negatively impact enrolment … in Vancouver's public schools".