Boy verbally abused for using female, disabled toilets
CARLA* is at an absolute loss about what to do. Her 11-year-old son, Andre*, doesn't feel comfortable using male public toilets. And the mother-of-two isn't entirely at ease with it either.
"If my son needs to use the toilet, I am not comfortable sending him to the male toilets on his own because he is tall in stature but certainly not equipped to deal with any issues that may arise while he is in there on his own," she explains to Kidspot.
This has led to the poor boy being verbally abused by complete strangers on numerous occasions for using both female and disabled toilets instead.
"I once had him use the ladies toilet, while I too was using the facility, and he finished earlier than me and a lady ripped into him saying 'what the f**k are you doing in here? You're big enough to use the men's toilet!" Carla explains.
"This upset him and he was nearly crying because he's not used to being spoken to like that from a perfect stranger."
"Although he's tall, he's not a big boy"
And just on Sunday when Carla was out with Andre and her 15-year-old daughter at a shopping centre - the poor little guy copped it big time again.
"It was a single stand-alone disabled toilet which I was waiting directly outside of, so I saw it first-hand," Carla says.
"The comment a woman said when my son came out was 'what the f**k are you f**king doing you little s**t? You're clearly not disabled!'
I didn't respond but walked away with my son trying to ignore her and me telling him he'd done nothing wrong."
Carla says she's worried about what could happen to her son if he went into public male toilets on his own.
"Although he's tall, he's not a big boy so if there was someone in the toilet with bad intentions he wouldn't be able to fight them off or defend himself in anyway."
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It's up to my son when he wants to use the male toilets
She says it's entirely up to her son when he wants to start using the men's bathrooms.
"When he feels comfortable to use the men's toilets is when he will use them," she says.
"I'm not really OK with it - but I certainly wouldn't stop him if he wanted to use the men's toilets."
"I think people should just mind their own business"
Thankfully, Andre has risen above the rude remarks he has received: "He ignores them because he knows he's done nothing wrong", his mother says.
However, Carla is desperate to get advice from other parents about what they do in similar situations.
"What are we supposed to do with our young boys when there is not a parenting toilet facility available? I would love some other parents' feedback on what they do with their offspring of the opposite sex."
And in the meantime, she says strangers need to butt out because her son isn't hurting anyone.
"I think people should just mind their own business it's not affecting them in any way and there wasn't anyone waiting for the disabled toilet."
*Names changed for privacy reasons
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been reproduced here with permission.