Montreal-based trans activist, Celeste Trianon, has publicly criticised Quebec’s Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville, for overlooking the welfare of trans and non-binary students by rejecting the provision of mixed-gender bathrooms in the region’s educational institutions.
Drainville made his opposition to the idea undeniably clear in the recent Tuesday session of the National Assembly, instigated by a school in Rouyn-Noranda expressing plans to introduce mixed-gender facilities.
Trianon, who is also the founder of Quebec Trans ID Clinic, expressed her dissatisfaction with his comments, considering them dismissive of trans and non-binary students’ safety. She warned of the potential ‘othering’ of these students who are likely to feel insecure in the absence of gender-neutral bathrooms.
Drainville was responding to an announcement that the École d’Iberville was preparing mixed-gender bathrooms to be available for students by the 2024-2025 school year. The planned facilities would offer full privacy stalls and a common sink area, eliciting a petition in opposition to the project.
On his first day of parliamentary proceedings in Quebec City, Drainville voiced his lack of support for the initiative. “The school needs to get its act together,” he stated, expressing his preference for traditional separation of boys and girls bathrooms, while remaining amenable to potentially introducing individual mixed bathrooms.
Describing the current availability of single mixed bathrooms, he suggested a compromise: These facilities could demonstrate respect for diversity while still upholding separate intimate spaces. Drainville aired fears over privacy issues for developing female students who could face potential harassment in mixed bathrooms.
However, Trianon saw little validity in Drainville’s concerns, countering that effective, comprehensive sex education in schools could negate these issues. She advocated for the school staff’s preparedness in addressing eventual harassment instances. She emphasized that the collective demand of trans and non-binary individuals is to ensure equal opportunities for a fulfilling life, employment and successful school completion.
Earlier the same day, Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon suggested a parliamentary inquiry into the specific issues under dispute, including gender-neutral bathrooms, usage of non-binary pronouns, and the process for young people opting to transition their gender.
Québec solidaire spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois retorted by comparing Plamondon to Pierre Poilievre, the federal Conservative leader, whose party has recently voted against under-18s’ gender transition. He highlighted the worrisome fact that transgender children are eight times more likely to end their own lives, further emphasizing the responsibility to ensure all children receive adequate resources, such as nutritious meals.