One of Auckland’s top boys’ schools has built a new unisex toilet block to cater for transgender students in the future.
It’s the latest step Auckland Grammar is taking towards gaining the Rainbow Tick – which specifically recognises and welcomes sexual and gender diversity.
Speaking to Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB, Headmaster Tim O’Connor said the concept came about when school officials realised young men want more privacy in school and public toilets.
“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 Auckland Grammar did not have any transgender students attending school at the moment, but they had been thinking about what would happen in the future when it came to accepting students who would not be biologically boys but rather girls transitioning.
“We’ve thought about it, and for boys’ schools it’s a big topic being discussed around the world.
“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.”
When asked about the reaction from students, O’Connor said he thought adults typically underestimated where the younger generation was at.
“We’re the ones who have bigger hang-ups about bigotry and LGBTQ”.
He was also confident that homophobia at the school was 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.
“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.”
Source: NZ Herald