Unisex bathroom for transgender Auckland primary pupil


Rainbow Youth is applauding an Auckland primary school's decision to install a unisex bathroom for a transgender pupil.

The six-year-old is transitioning from male to female, and a toilet's been put in for her with the support of the school's Board of Trustees.

Rainbow Youth executive director Duncan Matthews says it's important to support young transgender people.

"It's just not possible to be fully engaged in learning if you have been holding on for four hours because you're too scared to use the bathroom."

Similar instances have making headlines around the world -- with the US government recently attracting criticism after the Obama administration directed all schools to let students use the bathroom that matches their chosen gender identity.

"Ultimately the approach would be we don't have gendered bathrooms full stop," says Mr Matthews.

"I think that would help a lot of people who use gendered bathrooms as a safety argument, but it would also help those who wouldn't feel comfortable."

He adds if unisex bathrooms are built alongside gendered bathrooms there is a risk of othering people.

"Only providing unisex bathrooms is quite normal, when you think of the context of being on a plane, where all bathrooms are unisex."

But Mr Matthews admits providing both gendered and unisex bathrooms are more practical.

"When we look at the practicalities of changing all bathrooms it's potentially a good middle ground providing facilities for people who need it in a more cost-effective manner."