Canada: Vancouver School Board taken to court for gender-neutral pronoun policy

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Vancouver School Board has been taken to court by angered parents petitioning to quash a policy which provides more support to transgender students.

The new policy, which the school board adopted in June, directed teachers to use pronouns ‘they/their’ in place of ‘he/his’ where requested, as well as to accept potential neologisms including ‘xe/xir’.

It also called for gender-neutral, single-stall washrooms to be installed in schools.

However, three Vancouver parents have filed a petition in the B.C. Supreme Court claiming the school board policy violates the School Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Xiaofeng Huang, Yuen Ching Li and Shaohui Liu said the policy violates students’ rights to privacy.

The petition reads: “Some students are uncomfortable with sharing very personal information or private spaces with members of the opposite sex and deeply care about their privacy when using the washroom or change room.

“The board never proposed how to accommodate the wishes of students who are uncomfortable with sharing the same washroom and change room with members of the opposite sex.”

School board chairwoman Patti Bacchus responded, saying: “We made revisions to a 10-year-old policy.

“What is now in policy now is in fact what was in practice.”