- Auckland Grammar School built unisex toilets with the goal of openings its doors to transgender students in the future.
- The school hopes that the latest initiative would be enough to earn them a Rainbow Tick, a symbol given to establishments that recognize and welcome diversity in terms of gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Responding to questions about the reaction from students, Headmaster Tim O’Connor said that adults have bigger hang-ups on bigotry and LGBTQ.
The top boys-only school in New Zealand’s largest urban area is introducing key changes in its facilities, including the establishment of gender-neutral or unisex restroom.
According to transgender latest news by the NZ Herald website posted on February 22, Auckland Grammar School, an exclusively school for boys and regarded as one of top educational institutions in Auckland, a city in New Zealand’s North Island, built unisex toilets with the goal of openings its doors to transgender students in the future.
The school hoped that the latest initiative would be enough to earn them a Rainbow Tick, a symbol given to establishments that cater to the needs of the members of the LGBT community as well as those that recognize and welcome diversity in terms of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Tim O’Connor, the school’s headmaster, spoke to the media and explained that the said action was geared towards protecting the privacy of young men both facilities located in the school and in the public area.
“We responded to that, but also in the back of our mind has been diversity, and the reality, that at some point in the future we will have students who identify themselves as transgender or in the LGBT community,” O’Connor said.
He also stated that while the Auckland Grammar School did not have any students who identify as transgender currently, the school had been mulling over the idea of accepting those who were transitioning from female to male.
He continued, “We’ve thought about it, and for boys’ schools it’s a big topic being discussed around the world.”
In addition, he said that attending conferences abroad had opened their eyes on how other countries had been addressing admission of and opening doors to transgender students.
“In other countries they’re much more advanced in being prepared, than we are. In attending those conferences, we’ve realised we’ve been a little bit naive, and that we needed to prepare so it’s not a shock,” he stated.
Responding to questions about the reaction that he got from the students, he said he realized that the adults have much to learn from the younger generation in terms of acceptance and equality.
“We’re the ones who have bigger hang-ups about bigotry and LGBTQ,” O’Connor said.
He confidently also claimed that the school has addressed homophobia and that it is improving.
“Absolutely. The key is to name it and have conversations with the boys. The use of ‘gay’ as a colloquial phrase is present in our society, particularly amongst young people,” he explained. “When you name it and say you could actually be offending someone else – our boys have understood that, and we’re seeing a positive reaction to it.”