Wednesday, April 21, 2021
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Edmonton Catholic School Trustees go to War over a 7-year-old Trans girl’s need to pee

alberta post

A second-grade Alberta transgender girls fight to use the bathroom has ignited a conflagration between Catholic school board members, one calling on another to resign. The end game, saving the life of a 7-year-old seems to be second to 6 of the 7 board members who remain obedient to religious dogma and acquiescence to prejudice.

Bridging the gap for trans students rights equated to the crossing of the bridge at Selma Alabama.

Alberta Catholic school board chair Debbie Engel caught like a deer in the headlights back pedals over trans rights
Alberta Cattholic school board chair Debbie Engel caught like a deer in the headlights over trans rights.
The video opens in a new window. You have to restart it and turn up the volume.

In a deplorable show of double speak Board chair, Debbie Engel denied accusations in the above video that the school told the child she couldn’t use the girls room. She repeatedly said she was using a (“genderal” her words) neutral bathroom and that the child is happy and everything is going fine at school.”

According to the child parents, a teacher followed their daughter into the girls room and told her to leave instructing the girl she had to use a single stall bathroom.

The girl and her family have said she wants to use the girls washroom along with all the other female students because she identifies as a girl.

The parents have filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. , but they might not get a response for years.

One trustee Patricia Grellstood up for this transgender girl voting against the boards majority and making that public.

Board chair Debbie Engel worried over the schools ‘reputation’ called for Grell’s resigination telling the CBC that she should resign.

“It’s very hard to handle when someone breaches all of the protocols and bylaws you have in place and goes ahead and steps aside from the other board members,” Engel said. “It is a very difficult situation … In the past, when this has happened, it was followed with a resignation.”

But Grell said she won’t resign.

Engel said the district is doing its best to accommodate the girl’s family with the gender-neutral bathroom, but officials must also consider concerns and privacy of all the other families at the school.

Marni Panas statement to the supporters and media gathered at Edmonton Catholic School Division:

Sunday, May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia! The theme this year is Allies.
Every fight for human rights, for equal rights, for dignity and respect wasn’t fought alone. We need our families, are friends, our communities, our allies to join together to continue the fight for what is good and what is right.
50 years ago, on a bridge in Selma, Alabama, people of color and their allies from all communities and faiths crossed that bridge together in the fight for equality.

The children and youth of our community; Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender, Queer children and youth … need allies to stand with them and walk with them across the bridge to acceptance, equality and safety.

Trustee Patricia Grell is an Ally! She has raised her voice when others have tried to silence her. She has stood up for equality. She has stood up for love and compassion of a child. I can’t imagine a more Catholic thing to do for a leader of our catholic school system.

A child. A 7 year old child. Wants to. Needs to be able to express herself. She needs to BE herself.
Board Chair Debbie Engel says this child was never punished for using a girl’s washroom … then why does she allegedly require an escort every time she wants to go pee? What other child requires an escort?

Ms. Engel now says that they only discouraged her from using a female washroom. Then will the Board step in to ensure she is not stopped from using the girl’s washroom today??

Ms. Engel tells us that this was a misunderstanding. If this is so, why is this issue now before the Human Rights Commission?

But maybe Ms. Engel is telling the truth. If so, then these same questions must be asked of the administration of that school.

When we can create a climate where our children are educated to accept and love each other despite of and because of what makes each of us different. When we can teach love and compassion. When we, as adults, can model true acceptance rather than shaming a 7 year old child because they are different. When we can make one child feel a bit safer in their school … a place where they should feel safe … when one child can feel safer, ALL children will feel safer!
You don’t have to change your own values and beliefs to show love for a child. You don’t have to change church doctrine to show love and compassion for a child. You just have to love the child for who she is and let her be … who she is. And let her pee in peace!

To the school administration and Edmonton Catholic School Board: you have an opportunity to be on the right side of history today. Right now. Don’t wait for the Human Rights Commission to force you there.

On this day to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we stand with our allies. We stand with Patricia Grell. And together, we stand for the love and compassion of this child. For all of our children

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


  1. Hey Kelli,

    I’m on the marketing team for Simmons College, the third US women’s college to accept students who identify as transgender and we are launching Trans*forming the Dialogue. A campaign designed to shift the conversation away from the problematic questions that are often asked of the members transgender community and foster a more progressive dialogue.

    You tackle important issues related to the transgender/gender non-conforming community and I think as an advocate you would lend a valuable perspective to our campaign. We’d love your participation in our initiative – I’ve reached out to Amy Walker as well – so please let me know if you’re interested in participating. It’s not a big commitment.

    Shoot me an email if you’d like more details!




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