Thank you to my friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this story. Good news in Vancouver, BC for transgender youth. Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese has adopted new policies that honor the gender identity of transgender youths. This is a huge move in the right direction for civil rights within the Catholic community.
Unfortunately, the Catholic school district did not create the new policy organically, but rather as the result of a lawsuit. Tracey Wilson, an 11 year-old transgender youth, was denied appropriate accommodations at her school and consequently left, moving to public school after her family filed a human rights complaint. While I’m sad that the Catholic school district only came to adopt the trans-inclusive policy as a result of a lawsuit, I am exceedingly happy that they are moving in the right direction regarding human rights.
While Tracey Wilson has no plans to return to the Catholic school, she offered that she hopes the new policy will help other transgender youth:
When I was going through the process of noticing my difference, I felt alone and not accepted and it was very hard…It was just a horrible process and I don’t want that to happen to anybody else.
Doug Lauson, the superintendent for Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese said, “We are people of the Catholic faith. Our schools will be as inclusive as we can while still retaining our Catholic identity.”
Fortunately here in Portland, we have an organization that advocates for the rights of Transgender youth around the world. If you know of any youth that is struggling with gender identity and or gender expression and is in need of advocacy, please contact TransActive.