Ottawa School Board Trustee Says Candidate Stirred 'Anger Against Trans Kids In Washrooms'

Candidate says he wants 'viewpoint diversity.'

Ottawa News Reporter
A crowd holding up a Pride banner. Right: School bus crossing an interssection.

A crowd holding up a Pride banner. Right: School bus crossing an interssection.

A financial advisor is running for school board trustee with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and his social media posts are igniting anger around gender and washrooms, according to current school board trustee, Lyra Evans.

Shannon Boschy says he filed his trustee application in the Rideau-Vanier and Rideau-Rockcliffe area, zone 6, on June 21. By that afternoon, Evans said that Shannon Boschy's registration against her was "whipping up hate against trans kids in washrooms." Evans noted that the news came in time for Pride Month.

"An anti-trans activist has registered to run against me because I'm the only trans trustee in Canada and is actively whipping up anger against trans kids in washrooms," reads Evan's tweet.

Candidate says he wants 'viewpoint diversity'

"I did decide to run against Lyra," Shannon Boschy told Narcity. "Now, I've lived in that neighbourhood for a number of years. I'm quite familiar with it and they reshaped the zones. Lyra happens to be the trustee incumbent in the zone that I currently live in, so this is not like going out of my way."

Shannon Boschy said he wants to get a diversity of voices out to the school board. He shared news of his candidacy on Twitter Tuesday morning. "I’m a candidate for school board trustee – running against Canada’s only trans-identified school trustee Lyra Evans," he wrote. "After 20 years of declining results in education in Ontario, it’s time to stir the pot."

"We live in a democracy and we need to represent viewpoint diversity," Shannon Boschy said to Narcity. "And calling one side hateful because an activist says it's hateful is perpetuating the problem." Some of the problems, Shannon Boschy says, are about the safety of girls in washrooms from men who may be predatory.

But Shannon Boschy's views are not shared with his 19-year-old trans son. Andy Boschy told Narcity that he stopped talking to his father.

Andy Boschy, who fought for gender-neutral bathrooms in high school, says it's difficult to hear his father openly talk about trans issues and washrooms. He adds that trans men and women face increased violence in restrooms.

"Speaking from experience as a trans man who's used the men's washroom before I think that what needs to be looked at is the safety of trans students in washrooms [...] because a lot of this safety of girls thing is, it's a dog whistle."

When asked about whether anger is being stirred in school washrooms, Shannon Boschy said he started a debate on Twitter about the OCDSB's stance on gender and washrooms. He says the board relies on self-identification and raises a conflict of rights.

Many of the tweets have since been taken down, says Evans. Evans, who came out as a trans woman over 10 years ago, said, "trans lives are so much more than the bathroom debate."

In celebration of Pride Month, Andy Boschy said he will be celebrating his gender identity by "just living authentically". "I'm not gonna hide who I am and I'm not gonna pretend to be someone I'm not and think that, in and of itself, is a celebration," he said.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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