Remember this picture I took at BiCon this year?
Looks like as a concept it’s going to become not-so-strange, according to a report in Metro: University students open trans-gender toilets.
I’ve been talking to one of our sabbatical officers today, and some of the other executives, and thankfully they are rather more open-minded than other students I’ve spoken to (post about those coming up shortly) – all but one of the officers I’ve spoken to have explicitly told me that they believe degendering the toilets was a good move, but there is all manner of offensive comments going on on my SU forums and on the buses around here.
I’m back in Manchester this evening and on my way home from the coach station, found myself sitting behind a couple of girls swearing blind that they’re not going to use the toilets at the SU until it’s sorted out. Fair enough I say, shorter queues for the rest of us.
I just wish more people were as open-minded as, well, most of my friends.
[...] Once again, I find myself wishing that the real world was more like BiCon. [...]
I think the danger is that it may be abused. There’s a potential problem if students who identify as male (and are viewed as male by female students) start to use toilets without urinals. It could become a way of harassing female students.
Having said that, I think all toilets should be unisex. I regularly use the toilet labelled ‘gents’ if I know it’s just one cubicle and there is a queue for the ladies. (But I wouldn’t use one that I knew had urinals – I think your average guy would feel uncomfortable if I did.)
Well said, Judith! I was trying to express something similar to this over on xugglyblog but gave up (on that particular point and said something else instead) because I couldn’t find a way to say it that I felt would definitely avoid causing offence. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.
We have unisex toilets in the Maths department. I think its mainly due to a lack of space, but it works well for us. The concept of unisex toilets doesnt worry me, however I agree with Judith (and Claire) about this. I would personally feel uncomfortable. Although many people would value from these toilets, I would worry about men claiming to identify as female (when they don’t) just so that can go into bathrooms with females. I also worry about this the other way round! However, like Claire, I believe Judith worded that better than me.
There was a restaurant in Liverpool (may still be…) where the actual toilets (cubicles/urinals) were separated by gender but the hand-washing area was unisex, which seemed to work quite well. Personally I don’t see why toilets shouldn’t be unisex everywhere, and if that were the case that harassment would be no more likely than it is now (and it can happen even in single-sex toilets). I have been on the receiving end of a tirade from someone who responded to that notion with a vehement “The sexes should be kept separate” line, and I couldn’t get across the problems faced by the transgendered, who do face significant adverse reactions whichever toilet they use. I recall hearing one TS speaker some years ago saying that the advice she’d give to a transgendered individual using, say, a service station would be to use the toilet and then immediately leave the premises, if necessary using the toilets in one service station and taking refreshments in the next, because of the likelihood of the police being called if they were seen to use a toilet someone felt was not “appropriate”. I don’t know if things are still so bad, but I thought that was pretty damn shocking.
Well done Manchester U. SU, anyway.
[...] wish more people and more environments were as inclusive and supportive as Bicon. [...]
[...] and old and new maps, which I much prefer. They even have ceramic tiles identifying the gendered loos, which I think are quite attractive, and are in keeping with the rest of the art on the [...]
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