The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Review Into Gender-Neutral Public Toilet Provision Begins

Review Into Gender-Neutral Public Toilet Provision Begins
02 February 2021
 

A call for evidence by the government to review the provision of toilets in public places for men and women has begun, prompting concerns from transgender support groups.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government wants to consider the ratio of female toilets needed versus the number for men, “given the need for women to always use cubicles”. 

The consultation statement claims that there has been “a trend towards the removal of well-established male-only/female-only spaces when premises are built or refurbished” in favour of gender-neutral facilities.

However, transgender support groups such as Gendered Intelligence have questioned this claim and asked for specific evidence that women-only spaces are being removed.

The consultation is open for comments and closes on 26 February 2021.

 

A Review of “Accessibility and Provision”

 

The suggested implication of the apparent removal of these facilities, is that women are placed at a significant disadvantage, as women can only use cubicles, and are “likely to feel less comfortable using mixed-sex facilities”. The consultation introduction also emphasises that women also need safe spaces “given their particular health and sanitary needs”.

It’s also claimed in the statement that it is desirable to avoid queues for toilets, and male toilets are typically able to allow for a quicker transition of customers. 

Gendered Intelligence has taken to its social media channels to promote the fact that access to toilet facilities is an ongoing barrier for transgender people, and that 48 per cent of trans people don’t feel comfortable using public toilets, according to The LGBT in Britain - Trans report by Stonewall in 2017.

As stated in a series of tweets and Instagram posts:

“Trans people are entitled to use the spaces that (best) accord with their gender identity and should be supported to do so, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

“There is no hierarchy when it comes to inclusion. It is a matter of support and access for all.  We call for inclusive and available universal public toilets which protect a person’s privacy, thus provide access to safe facilities for all.

“By advocating for universal toilets, we mean: purpose-built, single floor to ceiling cubicle facilities that offer privacy and comfort for all.”

The consultation description asserts that it will take into account the needs of all members of the community, to ensure there is a fair provision of accessible and gender-neutral toilets.

The review will also look at signage, which should be clearer and use gender-specific language, to avoid confusion

 

Gender-Neutral Changing Places Toilets

 

The government is keen to clarify that this consultation is entirely separate from the issue of gender-neutral Changing Places toilets for disabled people, which has been subject to a recent government consultation, where gender-neutral provision is encouraged to facilitate carers/partners of a different sex providing assistance.

Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for severely disabled people, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers. A major change to building rules in England will require thousands of large (12m2) and accessible toilet facilities to be designed and built into new public buildings from this year onwards.

 

Picture: a photograph of a public washroom, showing the sink area

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 February 2021

Share



Related Articles

Tackling the Crisis in the UK's Public Toilet Provision

The British Toilet Association has called for improved legislation and more government funding to address the current "appalling" lack of public toilet...

 Read Full Article
Changing Places Toilets Compulsory in new Public Buildings

A major change to building rules in England will require thousands of large (12m2) and accessible toilet facilities to be designed and built into new public buildings,...

 Read Full Article
TfL Fines Thames Water for Unsafe Streetworks

Thames Water has been fined £100,000 for four safety streetworks related offences committed on the Transport for London Road...

 Read Full Article
ThisWeekinFM’s Celebrity Open – In Aid of Centre Algarve

ThisWeekinFM, together with Clarion.Golf, got back to their annual golfing event after a year hiatus during the pandemic. The event raised £3.5K for...

 Read Full Article
Sodexo Re-Accredited as Disability Confident Leader

Sodexo has had its leader status in the UK Government's Disability Confident scheme re-accredited for a further three years. The Disability Confident scheme...

 Read Full Article
UK Government Launches Strategy to Address Disability Employment Gap

Boris Johnson has launched a new National Disability Strategy, including plans to consult on disability workforce reporting for businesses with more than 250...

 Read Full Article
Disability Pride Month – The Business Case for Equality

July marks Disability Pride Month, an international event that shines a light on physical, learning, hidden disabilities and mental health conditions, enabling open...

 Read Full Article
Washroom Innovation has Far-Reaching Sustainability Benefits

Washroom water conservation specialists HSG continue to win major contracts with a wide range of businesses and venues across the UK that share the company’s...

 Read Full Article
Accessibility and Our Cities – Why is This Relevant to Inclusion?

How is the erosion of the traditional high street impacting access and inclusion in our cities? Whilst much is being written about how socially distanced,...

 Read Full Article
The UK’s Most LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employers – What Practical Steps Do They Take?

This Pride Month, we are looking at what practical tips businesses can learn from the best-performing organisations from the UK Workplace Equality...

 Read Full Article