The Toronto Police Service has opened a gender-neutral washroom at its downtown headquarters that will be open to any person regardless of their gender expression or gender identity.
Located on the second floor at 40 College St., the new facility is available starting June 22 to coincide with the Service’s annual Pride reception.
“It’s on the second floor because we want it to be accessible to community members,” said Staff Sergeant Shane Branton, who played a key role in getting the project off the ground. “It’s for our internal and external members and we want to show that we have a safe and inclusive space for everyone.”
Constable Danielle Bottineau, the Service’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) liaison officer, said the launch of the public washroom is a step in the right direction.
Today, we have so much more of an understanding and appreciation of the LGBTQ community and we are continuously working harder to strengthen the relationship. That’s the right thing to do.
“Historically, we have not had the best of relationships with that community. We are still working on mending bridges not only with the gay community, but, specifically, the trans community where they still don’t have all the same human rights as the majority of us do in society,” said Bottineau. “We want to show we are an inclusive Service and we are welcoming regardless of your gender identity and gender expression.”
Chief Mark Saunders fully supports the new initiative.
“One of our key successes as a police service is the fact that inclusion is not just a word,” he said. “It’s an action. This new initiative gives us an opportunity of understanding the importance of the issues of today. It’s also symbolic of how we, as a Service, has progressed when you look back 35 years with the bath house raids. Today, we have so much more of an understanding and appreciation of the LGBTQ community and we are continuously working harder to strengthen the relationship. That’s the right thing to do.”