Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Philosophy




Martino, Wayne


Western University


This integrated article thesis presents a multi-sited case study that investigates how the space of the all-gender bathroom is constructed by trans-affirmative policy, education stakeholders, and students. Specifically, through four interconnected articles, I draw primarily on trans-informed theoretical frameworks and scholarship to address questions about how the all-gender bathroom is constituted and written into policy discourse, which is subsequently enacted (or conversely, not at all) by education stakeholders in one school board. I conduct a paradigmatic and instrumental multi-sited case study which details specific policy analysis and entails interviewing a policymaker, administrators, educators, and students to engage numerous perspectives about the possibilities and limitations of trans inclusivity vis-à-vis the space of the all-gender bathroom in schools. I examine the extent to which trans-affirmative policy and education stakeholders fail to confront broader systems of cisgenderism, which ultimately affect the liveability and viability of transgender and gender non-conforming students in schools, regardless of the presence of an all-gender bathroom. Ultimately, the findings highlight the need for more intentional confrontation of these oppressive cisgenderist systems that would ultimately minimize the necessity of trans students advocating for their own rights to ensure their liveability and conceivability in the education system.

Summary for Lay Audience

This thesis reports on the role of the all-gender bathroom in schools in Ontario. In particular, it provides a case study of one of the first school boards in Ontario to develop a specific transgender-inclusive policy that supports the implementation of all-gender bathrooms in all of its schools. The research involved conducting interviews with principals, teachers, and students to learn more about these bathrooms and the extent to which they support transgender and gender diverse students in schools. The thesis is comprised of four interconnected articles that examines how numerous schools have created these all-gender bathroom spaces and the response from the school community in light of their creation. It also critically looks at the school board policy that has encouraged schools and their administrators to create these spaces. The purpose of this research study is to learn the extent to which such policies impact the experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming students who utilize and access the all-gender bathroom in their schools. The findings of this research reveal that simply implementing an all-gender bathroom does not necessarily translate into supporting transgender and gender diverse students and in itself is not able to ameliorate broader systemic barriers that impact on this population. The implications of the research are outlined and highlight the need for broader interventions from school boards, administrators and teachers which address the systemic barriers that impact the access of transgender and gender non-conforming students so they are not required to engage in acts of advocacy in order to procure spaces (i.e., all-gender bathroom) that should already be made available to them in their schools.

Available for download on Saturday, March 25, 2023