Time to open minds, and washrooms

The stigma attached to being poor is already harsh enough, why are we adding inhumane treatment to the list, as well?

Editor, The News:

Re: Better to lock washroom doors than be sorry (Letters, June 8).

The stigma attached to being poor is already harsh enough, why are we adding inhumane treatment to the list, as well?

I personally know people who are on income or disability assistance – one friend was seven months pregnant at the time and had her young child with her. Not only did she have to use the washroom as her bladder was under pressure from the growing baby, but her son, who was out of diapers and potty-trained, was on the verge of bursting, also needed access to a washroom.

She asked for a key, was denied, so she asked for use of the staff washroom.

She was still turned her down, and directed to use the Dairy Queen washroom.

Another friend, who was on water pills due to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, was also denied use of the washroom in the income assistance building.

Try a two-hour wait with a full bladder while facing the potential of losing your place in line, and start again, if you left.

Now, for most businesses, the washroom access is for paying customers only, and no one on assistance can afford to be a paying customer 20 days out of the month. Most people who have never been on the system aren’t aware of the fact that most people who are on assistance can’t afford drugs, due to being mothers with dependent children.

Assistance rarely covers rental costs in this province for decent homes, let alone hydro or basic phone bills.

I commend NDP MLA Michael Sather for bringing this to the attention of the public. Many would welcome  “Sather’s Crapper Law,” as T. Marlow put it.

Stereotyping people on assistance will get us nowhere fast. A few bad apples may have spoiled the barrel, but I thought we had evolved beyond such black-and-white thinking.

Time to open up your mind, as well as the washrooms.

Everyone is just a lay-off or life-changing event away from that line.

You could be there one day, as well.

Nerissa Gregory

Maple Ridge