A Catholic high school currently being built in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta (Canada) will provide only gender-neutral bathrooms for its students. The school, named St. André Bessette Catholic School, is under the jurisdiction of Elk Island Catholic Schools (EICS), which is part of Alberta’s publicly-funded education system. According to the Archdiocese of Edmonton, where Fort Saskatchewan is located, “Ten school districts operate Catholic schools within the boundaries of the Archdiocese.” Including Elk Island Catholic Schools.
In 2016, during a ground-breaking ceremony for the new school, Bishop Gregory Bittman said: “We know God did great things with his son and we know he did great things with St. André — and we know he will do great things for the staff and students of this new school. We are grateful for all those who made it happen as we break ground today.”
According to an article from CBC News: “All students attending the new St. André Bessette school will use gender-neutral multi-stalled toilets…When the building is completed in September 2018, students will have access to the same eight cubicles with a shared sink area outside in the hallway, regardless of their gender identity.”
In 2014, the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese, which operates over 50 primary and secondary schools, released a policy on transgendered students, called “CISVA Elementary School Policy regarding Gender Expression and Gender Dysphoria.”
The policy stated: “The Case Management Process will involve a collaborative team of educator(s), medical professional(s), pastor, the family and the student (as appropriate), who will develop a Case Management Plan for accommodations. The Case Management Plan has the goal of providing a unique set of accommodations based on the particular student’s situation. Such accommodations may include a change in common name, use of an alternate change room, uniform adaptations, classroom adaptations, alternate delivery of the Catholic sex education curriculum, sports team participation, field trip accommodations, and change of pronouns.”
Mark Guevarra, who is the current “Pastoral Assistant” at St Albert Catholic Church in Edmonton, made the following statement on his Facebook page, concerning the gender-neutral restrooms at St. André Bessette Catholic School:
“This is a positive to having publically funded Catholic schools. This would never fly in private Catholic schools in BC. The Archbishop is a smart man…this is not a battle worth waging.”
Also on Mark Guevarra’s Facebook Timeline is a screen-shot from the presentation on LGBT issues given by Arthur Fitzmaurice (who deemed certain language in the Catechism concerning homosexuality as “gravely evil”) at the 2017 LA Religious Education Congress. One of the recommendations for creating an LGBT-friendly Catholic parish includes: “Provide an all-gender restroom.”