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Single-Sex Toilets to be Compulsory in England's Buildings

Single-Sex Toilets to be Compulsory in England's Buildings
14 August 2023 | Updated 18 August 2023

Single-sex toilet facilities will become a minimum requirement for new non-residential buildings and places undertaking major refurbishment.

The new guidance also recommends the use of “universal toilets”, extra self-contained toilets which are a fully enclosed toilet room with a wash hand basin for individual use. Mixed sex facilities are only permitted when a lack of space allows only a single toilet.

Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Women and Equalities, claims that a move towards gender-neutral facilities have removed a “fundamental right” for women are girls to have privacy and dignity when using public facilities.

“These proposals will ensure every new building in England is required to provide separate male and female or unisex facilities, and publish guidance to explain the difference, protecting the dignity, privacy and safety of all.”

Gendered Intelligence, a charity that works to increase understandings of gender diversity and improve the lives of transgender people called the change “part of the government’s ongoing attacks on the queer community - trans people in particular.”

Their statement said: “Gender-neutral toilets don’t cause problems. They provide a space where everyone can go to the loo without a fuss. They’re also not replacing separate facilities - men’s and women’s toilets are still being built and used alongside gender-neutrals.”


Majority of Consultation in Support of Non-Gendered Toilets


The decision has been informed by a government consultation on the accessibility of toilets, which gathered over 17,000 responses.

However the findings showed that 83 per cent of responses were read to be supportive of non-gendered toilets; 12 per cent of separate sex toilets; 6 per cent of non-gendered toilet provision in addition to separate sex toilets; and 2 per cent of Changing Places toilets.

In terms of safety concerns, 79 per cent of responses mentioned safety concerns for trans/non-binary people and 75 per cent mentioned safety concerns for women.


Toilet Design Suggestions


As part of the evidence-gathering process, toilet design concerns were raised, such as:


  • The issue of cubicles having no gap under/over the door.
  • Making cubicles bigger, to accommodate prams, buggies, or pushchairs.
  • The need for sanitary bins in all toilets
  • Making gender-neutral toilets a third option alongside male and female toilets
  • The replacement of urinals with cubicles


A technical consultation that seeks views on the new proposals is now open until 8 October 2023.

Picture: a photograph of a wall mounted sign indicating a male and female toilet. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 14 August 2023


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