The restroom panic about Tanya White was reprehensible, and we know the appalling treatment of Roz at London Pride was equally unnecessary – and the subtext of this latest panic attack (via The Manchester Evening News) makes me question, once again, non- trans people’s groundless and faintly absurd fixation that they are going to be assaulted by massed throngs of trans people if they don’t keep us out of public toilets.
STUDENTS say new signs on toilets at their union building might be making their WC just a ‘bit too PC’.
The traditional sign on the door of the Gents has been temporarily replaced with one that says ‘toilets with urinals’.
And the sign on the Ladies now simply says ‘toilets’ in a move to make the lavatories more inclusive for trans-gender students.
The signs on the toilets in the basement of Manchester University students’ union were changed after a meeting of the union’s executive in the summer.
She said: “The idea is that trans-gender people feel more comfortable using their student union.”
“Trans-gender people can face violence and abuse when they go into toilets and we wanted to provide a place where they can feel comfortable.”
“I have had complaints from people who said we didn’t have any facilities for them.”
Minutes from the union’s executive meeting in July said: “The women’s officer asked if any action could be taken following the directive from the council to look into gender-neutral toilets in the union.”
“After discussion, the women’s officer felt the solution would be to change the signs on one set of toilets in the building to `with urinals’ and `without urinals’ with explanatory signage.”
“She felt the basement would be the most appropriate area to trial this. This was agreed.”
And leading the charge of the gender-specific brigade:
Second-year literature and linguistics student Jane McConnell, 19, is a news editor on the Student Direct student newspaper.
She said: “While these signs might be appropriate for people with different sexualities in the community of the University of Manchester, I also think that many people from different religious and ethnic groups are going to feel uncomfortable using these facilities.
“I think they might believe the university union aren’t reflecting their beliefs and choices and that they are going to feel very uncomfortable using these toilets.
…But it’s perfectly acceptable for trans people to feel uncomfortable, is that what you’re saying?
And your comments about people from different religious and ethnic groups are a red herring in this context as the report clearly states that the signs have only been changed “on one set of toilets in the building“.
Note also that these toilets are in the basement, so we don’t know what access there is for disabled people, be they trans or other.
But the last part of Ms McConnell’s quote is really very special:
“Even though they’re just two signs, at the end of the day, toilets should be for women and for men specifically, not for both.”
Because as everybody knows, there is only the gender binary. Male, female. Man, woman.
And you a journalist an’ all; maybe you need to work on your researching skills a little more before launching into thoughtless op-ed pieces like that?
And is this anonymous person (below) actually not a student but in fact a retired colonel from suburbia?
Another student, who did not want to be named, said: “This is ridiculous.”
“It is just too much political correctness.”
“I can not believe they are changing the signs – everybody knows the traditional male and female toilet signs.”
“It could lead to some confusion.”
“Too much political correctness“? I wonder what the recognised maximum limit actually is. Y’see, Nonny, actually it’s attitudes like yours which continue to drive the need for political correctness, as you call it. Tell me –
– What’s too politically correct about providing public toilets which don’t add to trans people’s existing concerns about their gender identities?
– What’s too politically correct about providing public toilets where trans people don’t feel they’re going to be humiliated, verbally abused and possibly even physically attacked by non- trans members of the public?
What is your problem exactly, hey Nonny?
ETA, 28 October 2008: Updated – see Trans people are a bit like spiders