09/17/2015 23:10 EDT | Updated 09/17/2016 01:12 EDT

Rights commission to proceed with transgender discrimination complaint

WINNIPEG — The family of a transgender girl who filed a discrimination complaint against a Winnipeg school division says they have been told by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission that the file is moving to adjudication.

Bella Burgos was eight years old when she transitioned from male to female in the summer of 2014.

When she returned to school in the fall, she wanted to use the girls' washroom but after the parent of another child complained, Bella was forced to use a gender-neutral washroom.

Her father, Dale Burgos, says the family is looking for changes in administrative procedures, education and a policy on gender identity and inclusion in the school division.

The River East Transcona School division says in a statement that it is committed to making its schools a safe place for all students.

The family has since moved to Nanaimo, B.C., and Dale Burgos says his daughter's introduction to her new school has been fantastic.

“She’s thriving here," he says. "She’s got some great friends already."

He calls the experience very different when compared to the situation in Winnipeg.

“The school district (in Nanaimo) itself has longstanding policies in place addressing inclusion and gender identity,” he says.

Burgos says he wants the public to know that Bella’s story is about more than just bathrooms.

“It’s about saying, `this is who I am. You’ve accepted me and you’re not telling me to go and use a bathroom somewhere and that it’s my bathroom to use.' It’s basically segregating and that’s not really what we’re looking for in this case.”

Burgos and his wife plan to attend the public hearing in Winnipeg when it does begin.

(CTV Winnipeg)


The Canadian Press