New Zealand school sets up unisex toilet for 6-year-old transgender pupil

© Jonathan Drake
An Auckland primary school has installed a unisex toilet for a 6-year-old transgender pupil. The name of the school wasn’t given by Australian media to protect the child’s privacy.

Schoolmates supported the pupil, according to sources cited by the New Zealand Herald.

The school’s board chairman said that they had decided to set up a unisex WC to support and help the pupil “feel safe in the school environment.”

Other parents weren’t informed about the move, he said, but added that he thinks their “parent community supports diversity.”

"There's nothing scary about that, there's nothing unusual about that. It's been happening since the beginning of human kind. We are just more aware of it now, and we're making sure [those transitions] are safe.”

He called the step “awesome”, also saying, “this school is leading the way to show other schools the sky doesn't fall down if you have a gender-neutral or unisex bathroom."

In New Zealand 1.2 percent school-aged kids identify as transgender, 3,000 of them in Auckland, and over 9,000 across the country, according to a recent youth poll, as quoted by the New Zealand Herald.

LGBT activist Duncan Matthews said many parents address his ‘Rainbow Youth’ group about their transgender children, especially when the school doesn’t support the name change, and enforces gender-specific uniform.

The Auckland primary school isn’t the first in New Zealand to install a gender-neutral bathroom: earlier this year, two Wellington secondary schools set up unisex toilets, too.

Transgender toilets and changing rooms have been a hot issue in the US, too: just over a week ago, more than 50 families in Illinois sued a school for allowing a transgender student into the girls’ locker room.

In April, over a million people signed a petition against the Target retailer’s decision to allow men to use the women’s WC, and vice versa, depending on what gender a person identifies with.

At the same time, a town in Alabama passed a law to make using a bathroom that doesn't correspond to the person's biological sex a criminal offense, with a 500-dollar fine or six months behind bars if the law is breached.