“I was just scared to go out,” said Olivia, 16, a transgender teen who has struggled with anxiety and depression since coming out as transgender last year.
“I thought I was going to be killed.
I was afraid to go anywhere in the school.”
Olivia said she was told she was “gross” and “disgusting” for wearing a dress and asking to use the girls’ restroom at her school.
She said she often felt uncomfortable and isolated.
The Nova Scotia school board agreed to allow Olivia to use her bathroom, but said it was too early to make any changes.
After the board heard from parents, it announced last week that it will hold a public meeting on Jan. 15 to discuss the issue.
“We believe in allowing transgendered students to use their own bathrooms, and we are happy to provide guidance to students and staff,” the school board said in a statement.
“However, we need to be careful to protect the privacy of all students.”
Olivia has not heard back from the school since the announcement.
The board said it will consult with parents before making any changes to the policy.
Olivia, who is enrolled at the Nova Scotia Public School System, said the school’s handling of the situation has been “horrible” and that her parents “feel like they were treated as second class citizens.”
“We feel like we were ignored,” she said.
“They made us feel like this is normal.”
Olivia, a fifth-grader, said she has been bullied by classmates who refer to her as a “woman” or “girl.”
Her parents have been concerned about the safety of her classmates and have contacted the school, but have not received a response.
She has been asked to stop wearing the dress, which she said is a “feminine style.”
Olivia was born male but identifies as female, and said she feels a sense of “anger and trauma” for her trans status.
“It’s very scary, because I don’t think anyone’s going to believe me,” Olivia said.
A few days before the public meeting, she posted a Facebook status that read, “We are all the same.
We all deserve equal rights.
We are all equal.”
She said the social-media posts are an attempt to “get back at society for treating us differently than others.”
“I feel like it’s time to stand up for myself,” Olivia wrote.
The school board has said the matter is “in the hands of the provincial government.”
Olivia’s mother, Kristi, said her daughter’s school’s decision to allow her to use a bathroom that corresponds to her gender identity is “disgraceful.”
“It shows that Nova Scotia does not value children’s well-being, especially trans children, and the fact that this is happening in Nova Scotia shows that it’s not the first time that bullying is occurring,” she told The Associated Press.
Kristi said her son is “totally comfortable in his own skin” and is not afraid to use his own restroom.
“The only thing that worries me is that they are not going to take a more conservative approach to this issue,” she added.
“This is about protecting the safety and well- being of children, not just the transgender students.”
Kristi is now asking her son to stay away from the boys’ restroom, and to not use the bathroom with anyone other than her.
Kristie said she plans to take legal action.
“If this is a pattern of bullying and harassment that goes on, then there’s going be a public backlash,” she explained.
“There are children in this school who need to feel safe.”