TORONTO - TORONTO -- Kids have the right to use any school washroom they wish -- as long as the choice corresponds with their view of whether they're male or a female, according to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
The board released guidelines Wednesday for transgender kids to address the issue of whether students should use washrooms designated for males or females.
"All students have ... the right to use a washroom that corresponds to the student's gender identity, regardless of the student's sex assigned at birth," states the 30-page document, Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students and Staff.
It adds that a student will not have to provide a doctor's note or "identity documents," and that "a student's self-identification" is proof enough.
Schools should also provide an "all-gender, single-stall" washroom for transgender pupils if one is available, but that it is up to the student to decide if they want to take advantage of such an option, according to the document.
"We're talking about a very small minority of the (school) population -- a very beleaguered and marginalized minority," said NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, a proponent of the guidelines.
Transgender students are a tremendously vulnerable group, DiNovo added, saying there are statistics showing high rates of attempted suicide among those dealing with gender issues while attending school.
The guidelines also address school sports and change rooms, stating "school staff must ensure students can exercise their right to participate in gender-segregated sports and physical education class activities in accordance with each student's gender identity."
The TDSB's guidelines are the result of a human rights decision in 2011 that was based on a complaint by a transgender student.
"The student, who was living as a male at school, was experiencing difficulties ... accessing programs and services specific to his gender identity," school board spokesman Ryan Bird said. "The student was provided with an accommodation at his school and as part of the settlement, the board developed these guidelines."