Mothers of transgender children take to the bathroom to fight 'bathroom bill'
Published Friday, March 27, 2015 6:21PM EDT Last Updated Friday, March 27, 2015 6:59PM EDT
Mothers of transgendered children are launching what they're calling a "bathroom movement" tomorrow. It's in protest over an amendment to a bill that they say would prevent their children from using public washrooms.
For Ottawa-area mother Anne Lowthian, this bathroom protest is at the core of her fight for the rights of her daughter Charlie.
‘I have never been in a men's washroom,’ Lowthian said from her Stittsville home, with Charlie by her side, ‘I don't belong in men's washroom.’
She says neither does nine-year-old Charlie, who is biologically male but identifies as a female.
‘These six other moms and my mom,’ says Charlie Lowthian-Rickert, are all going in the face of danger for us transgender people to save us from living a life of grief.’
That "danger" is using the men's washroom in public places beginning this Saturday until a controversial amendment to Bill C-279 is dropped. Lowthian will be joined by another mother in Ottawa at the Museum of Nature for her noon protest. Two mothers in Toronto and two in Saskatoon will take part in the protest at the same time.
Bill C-279 would essentially protect transgender people from discrimination. That private member’s bill passed the House of Commons two years ago. Last month, though, Senator Don Plett introduced three amendments, including a controversial one dubbed the “bathroom bill” that the transgender community argues would prevent them from using public washrooms in federal spaces.
Charlie's mom says if passed, it would prevent Charlie from using the women's restroom, in places like the airport, post offices and military bases even though Charlie identifies as a girl.
Senator Plett did not agree to an interview today but maintained his amendment isn't about access to bathroom; it's about the safety of young children in public bathrooms.
"Whether or not it is called 'the bathroom bill,' he said during Senate debate, "it allows for pedophiles to take advantage of legislation that we have in place."
Amanda Ryan is with a transgender support organization in Ottawa, fighting Plett's amendment.
‘I see it as transphobic,’ she says, ‘it makes me a second class citizen, it makes me someone not allowed to use same facilities anyone else in Canadian society and why not? Why shouldn't I be able to use the same facilities? We're not causing difficulties.’
Charlie's mother has vowed to use the men's washrooms in public until this amendment is quashed. It's a fight she's willing to make for the sake of her daughter.
‘We are inspired by our daughter,’ says Lowthian, ‘She is a miracle to us and has been since day she was born.’