A primary school in the Netherlands is facing calls to rethink its LGBT inclusivity policy after receiving complaints from the parents of a student who is refusing to use the girls’ locker room after being confronted by a biological boy identifying as a girl using the same facility.
Jessica Kakiay-Yavuz, the mother of a 9-year-old student at the Roman Catholic primary school De Tweemaster in Huizen, told the De Telegraaf newspaper how her daughter no longer feels comfortable attending gym class because she is forced to change in the presence of a boy.
“My daughter came to me because she thought it was strange that a boy came into the dressing room,” Kakiay-Yavuz told the newspaper. “I have requested a meeting with the school to find a solution. The director was initially open to that.”
She explained that after informing the school of her daughter’s concerns, she received a “very humiliating” response in which she was asked to accept the situation and was accused of “undermining the school’s gender inclusivity policy.”
“If I wanted, I could receive information so that I could understand the ‘difficult situation that gender and sex diverse people face,'” the mother was told.
“She doesn’t feel comfortable having to change in front of a boy. This is of course not a situation you want to be in as parents. We have been upset for weeks, I cannot let go of the issue,” she said of her daughter’s predicament.
While the school’s principal was dismissive of the concerns, Rob Hageman, a board member of the RK Education Huizen Foundation (SRKOH), which governs the educational center, was more receptive and has vowed to find a compromise; however, this is proving to be more challenging than first thought.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time that this problem has arisen at a primary school,” Hageman said.
“We were surprised by the issue and started looking for colleagues in the country who had already encountered this problem and perhaps already had a solution. But we haven’t found it yet,” he added.
With transgenderism on the rise across Western Europe and increasing measures being implemented to ensure acceptance and tolerance of LGBT issues, some are concerned that the legitimate worries of those on one side of the debate are being ignored.
“Our objection does not arise from religious or ideological considerations. We respect that the fellow student feels like a girl and we do not want to question that feeling in any way, I want to be very clear about that. But the dressing room is a red line for us. Girls should be able to remain girls there and not be confronted with transgender problems at such a young age,” Kakiay-Yavuz told De Telegraaf.
“We want a solution for our daughter — and I know of another girl whose family is also struggling with it. An extra dressing room for fellow students, perhaps that is the best option,” she added.
Under current Dutch law enshrined in the Citizenship Act 2021, all educational facilities in the Netherlands, including primary schools, are legally obliged to ensure the safety and acceptance of LGBT students.
The interpretation of this legislation has resulted in shared changing rooms for pre-op transgender children and biological girls, and there currently appears to be little guidance on how to resolve concerns raised by Kakiay-Yavuz’s daughter.
“A protocol, regulations regarding the question ‘how do we deal with this in primary education?’ This would be very welcome,” said Hageman, who called for governmental guidelines in order to set a precedent for a situation that is likely to become more commonplace across the country.