A group called Grassroots Christian Impact wants Plympton-Wyoming council to have a plan incase someone who is transgender asks to use a public washroom.
John Lammers and Curtis Bryce told council in the last few months there have been several cases being dubbed “pee where you please.”
“People identifying as trans (gender) of various descriptions would sometimes like to use the public washrooms,” says Bryce. The Ontario government has recently changed legislation to “make it possible for men to use women’s washrooms and change rooms.”
That concerns him and the group’s members. “This public policy concept of washrooms, change rooms and showers of choice is problematic and is not reflective of the vast majority of citizens nor in their best interests,” he writes in a letter to council. “We want to believe that our wives, daughters and granddaughters will continue to feel comfortable using public female-only washrooms, change rooms and showers.
“We request that Plympton-Wyoming act now to ensure that public policy and by-laws are put in place to enforce this as need arises.”
Bryce says in the case of a public pool, accommodation could be made. “It may be using the staff washroom or a single stall facility,” he says adding the town could tell people “until there is major renovation at the pool…you’ll have to work with us.
“Map out what facilities you have for transgender people,” he says. “The idea of the policy is to head off any confrontation and there is an effort to accommodate them. If we could head this off there would be less litigation.”
Bryce says the municipality could be held liable if there was an incident in the washroom and advocates setting aside a single stall for transgender people to use.
“The single stall reduces the opportunity for calamity – you don’t want to have an incident …If there is a single stall there would be no interaction,” says Bryce adding it is a respectful way to deal with the issue.
“Everybody is a person and everybody needs to be treated with respect.”
Bryce adds the move wouldn’t be against the Canadian Human Rights Code which does recognize the right to equal service “is not infringed where the use of the services or facilities is restricted to persons of the same sex on the ground of public decency.”
Mayor Lonny Napper says the group has opened the councilors eyes to the possiblities and staff will look into the issue.
Lammers says it is better for the municipality to be prepared than to react when someone comes asking to use the restroom.
“Some day it (the request) is going to come so I think you have to be prepared….this is proactive instead of reactive.”