Gender neutral toilets head south

January 14, 2009

sign above door of gender neutral toilet - click to embiggenI’m still not entirely sure why so many discussions about being trans always come down to either what’s inside our underwear or which toilets we use. And, having been made aware on numerous occasions by a variety of cis people that These Are The Things That Matter, how could I not mention this piece in The Sentinel, about Staffordshire University Students’ Union nightclub introducing gender-neutral toilets alongside the existing facilities offered to women, men and people with disabilities?

sign on door of gender neutral toilet - click to embiggenIn passing, there’s a video version of The Sentinel’s largely hysteria-neutral report here. It’s worth a look, if only to get an idea of how utterly mundane and unremarkable the subject matter really is. Certainly not worth getting your knickers in a twist over, that’s for sure.

Students’ Union president, Fee Wood, said: “It is known that public toilets are gender separate and are often difficult to negotiate for transgendered or androgynous people.”

“This often leads to embarrassment, harassment, or even assault by others who are offended by the presence of a person they interpret as being of the other gender.”


Fee added: “There have been quite a lot of people using the new toilets.”

“We had one complaint from a girl on the first night, but overall the feedback has been positive.”

I don’t know if I can really add anything more to my post of last September (“Toilet signs ‘too PC’”), which was about the introduction of gender neutral toilets in the basement of Manchester University students’ union building. In that thread, we talked about political correctness; but I think my main concern was, and is, for the safety of trans users of the facilities. Not the safety of cis users who are, I think, talking out of their privileged backsides when they spout the old tropes about trans people just being men who want to use women’s restrooms, and won’t somebody think of the children, and all the other misplaced and pearl-clutching comments that are wheeled out every time the subject comes up.

I mean, far better that trans people run the risk of harassment and assault than cis people face up to the discomfort they feel at having to examine their own privileges and assumptions about the gender binary, normativity, prejudice, discrimination, ableism and so on and so forth…

…*rolls eyes*…

Coming to a restroom near you. Soon.
Get over it…

(Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)


One Response to “Gender neutral toilets head south”

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