Campbell River is going gender-neutral.
The washroom facilities in all city owned or operated properties will soon be inclusive for all genders and identities.
“Employees and visitors have the right to use a locker room or change facility that corresponds to their gender identity, regardless of their sex assigned at birth,” city policy states. “Where gender neutral spaces do not exist and/or have not been created yet, private spaces will be provided within gender-specific locker room of change facility where possible.”
A report from the city’s facilities general manager Dave Morris outlines some of the difficulties members of the LGBTQ+ community face and suggests that the city should be doing more to offer “spaces that encourage diverse gender expressions,” as that “decreases the risk of margainalization and discrimination while fostering a more supportive and accepting environment predicated on equality and inclusiveness.”
The report cites changes to the B.C. Human Rights Code that were implemented in 2016, which “now provide explicit protection from discrimination, as opposed to what previously were indirect protections under other categories,” and suggests it is the duty of municipalities to ensure this same inclusiveness in all its public services and amenities.
As such, council has implemented the Gender Identity and Expression policy for all city owned and operated facilities, including the museum, Centennial Pool, Discovery Pier, Maritime Heritage Centre, the library, Tidemark Theatre, Campbell River Airport, both fire halls and the Sportsplex.
Under the policy, all washroom facilities will have signage prominently placed indicating “the space is inclusive and respects a person’s right to choose the washroom that is appropriate for them.”
“No one will be required to provide medical documentation or any other form of ‘proof’ to establish gender identity,” the policy states. “Self-identification is the only criterion required to determine which washroom a person uses.”
Similarly, locker rooms and changing facilities will also fall under this policy.
The policy was adopted at Monday’s public meeting.