Source: Facebook

Brampton, Ont. councillors shrugged off a concerned citizen’s issues with the building of several all-sex changrooms in the city’s recreation centres. 

Beata Kostka, a mother and Brampton resident, helped to organize a delegation to a city council meeting in which she spoke about her experience of sexual harassment at one of the “universal” changerooms that had been built in recent years.

As part of an initiative to revitalize the city’s community centres, Brampton has been doing away with male-female changerooms at several of its swimming pools, with five of the city’s ten pools exclusively providing an all-sex changeroom. 

Kostka told True North and Brampton city councillors that she took up this fight after her daughter was forced to see five men’s genitals in the pool changeroom, an experience she says was “shocking.”

Kostka says the rec centre’s manager told her there had been numerous similar complaints made.

Accompanied by a small group of individuals who shared her concerns, Kostka urged the city council to reverse course.

“Our simple request is to reinstate the safety of separate changerooms for everyone while also providing a separate space for all those who require it in a cost-effective manner,” said Kostka. “It is possible to promote inclusivity without compromising the comfort of all individuals.”

While every delegation beside Kostka’s was met with questions and active interaction from the city councillors, no councillors were willing to engage with her on the issue. After her remarks, she was immediately dismissed by meeting chair Rowena Santos.

Some councillors even left the council chamber briefly while Kostka was delivering her remarks, including Mayor Patrick Brown. 

Kostka says that she was “not surprised” that the council had expressed indifference to her concerns because of what she calls an ideological push for the building of these changerooms.

Kostka says that before attending the council meeting, she had attempted to let the city know about the problems with all-sex changerooms by emailing councillors, the mayor, the relevant city department, and even presenting a petition to Brown in-person.3

Kostka is not alone in her fight, as she has received support from a group of like-minded groups such as Hand Off My Kids – who had helped to organize the Million Person March – and We are the Change. 

One of Kostka’s supporters expressed concern that all-sex changerooms could be used by sexual predators and sex offenders to victimize women and children. 

One concerned mother said she became interested in this issue after discovering that these sorts of changes were not only happening in the United States, but in the very community she lives in. 

A bylaw officer even expressed support for the remarks Kostka delivered, telling the group that he didn’t know American-style bathroom politics had made its way to Canadian cities. 

Kostka says that if the city does not take any action to address the change-room problem, she will consider taking legal action against the city.