Bernard Drainville

Quebec schools are not adopting gender-neutral bathrooms any time soon, the province’s education minister says.

Quebec Education Minister Bernard Drainville said “no” to mixed-gender bathrooms in response to news that a secondary school in Rouy-Noranda has plans to install gender-neutral bathrooms for their students for the following school year.

Officials of the school said that the stalls in the bathroom would run the length of the ceiling to the floor and that only the sink area would be shared. 

“We don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said. “The school needs to rectify the situation.”

Drainville cited privacy as the basis for his decision, and worried about the possibility of boys teasing girls who were going through puberty. 

“A young girl 12, 13, 14 years old who is starting to have her period, for example, and who leaves a stall, and there are 13-, 14-year-old boys looking at her. Insults, sarcasm, humiliation. A scenario we don’t want, so I think we have to draw a line and the line, we’re drawing it now.

Drainville said he would not be opposed to the installation of an individual gender-neutral bathroom, according to the Toronto Star.

His statements on the issue were also prompted by the recent request from Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon for a parliamentary commission to take place on a number of issues, including gender-neutral washrooms.