Okay, here’s one that might be up for debate. Gender neutral toilets. There is an ongoing discussion at the moment that schools should cater for transgender pupils by having gender neutral toilets.
I feel strongly about equality. I will fight for it, argue for it, and get angry when it is not present. I always feel the need to state how I feel about something before delving into a discussion, because I think it is easy for things to be taken the wrong way, especially online.
Despite my belief in equality, I am going to go with no! I cannot agree with or get my head around the need for gender neutral toilets. I understand that some people identify with a gender that is not necessarily matched with their physical appearance. I imagine it must be quite difficult and confusing when it comes to choosing a bathroom. Not to make light of it, but the first time I wondered about this was due to watching Mrs Doubtfire as a child, and seeing the character getting confused about which one to be in. I can’t imagine not knowing whether it is okay to enter a toilet.
Gender neutral toilets in schools?
Despite my attempt to understand and empathise, I look at this ‘issue’ with the majority in mind. Younger children, as far as I’m concerned do not really need separate bathrooms. I don’t think we did until we got to about 7 years old in my school, and never really thought anything of it. However, as children get older, and with puberty hitting them much younger, it can become a bit uncomfortable going to public toilets.
Sorry to delve right in, but…I have a feeling a young girl who has just started her period doesn’t fancy going to the toilet amongst their less developed female peers, let alone boys who might be even less understanding.
Also, when younger, as a child or teenager, would you have trusted the boys not to peek under or over the cubicle? I don’t mean because they’re perving (but that’s not out of the question), but mostly to annoy and embarrass you.
There may be a minority currently worried about facing the bathroom, but imagine that being everyone. The awkwardness would not end with unisex loos, but would likely increase.
What about for the adults?
As for adults, can I just make another point to the females out there campaigning for this? Have you ever been into a men’s toilet? Or even a boys toilet? I have! Not a proud example of myself, but desperate times and all that. They’re disgusting! It’s almost like even in their 20s men can’t aim properly, and they have absolutely no qualms about doing every bit of business in there. The place stinks! I worked in a pub once and had to go in them – it was a horrendous sight, and not to mention the smell. I don’t want this to be the everyday public loo experience!
I have been to a few places where there are gender neutral toilets, but there are separate cubicles, each with their own sink, etc. inside the cubicle. That’s basically separate toilets, only I’m allowed to go in after a guy so the wait time might be slightly shorter. Is that what people mean when they say gender neutral? Even so, I don’t think it’s convenient for everywhere.
A lot of men prefer to use urinals (so I hear), but this would not really be an option in gender free bathrooms, unless they stick one of those in each cubicle as well. If you’re planning on opening a new business, extra planning may be needed to accommodate all these cubicles!
Taking away the safety of women’s toilets.
I’m not going to be silly and go down the men are scary route, but it is something some women worry about. Regardless, the ladies toilets are a safe place. You can go in and do your make up and hair, or rearrange your outfit in the comfort of other females and make yourself look a bit more acceptable halfway through a night out. Don’t take that luxury and ‘mystery’ away from us!
You can ask someone if they have any female supplies without having to hide away or get embarrassed. I don’t think being a female is embarrassing by any means, and I actually don’t care, but some people do, and would probably like to feel free while going about their business.
Also, hello…where can we go to talk about the men if they’re in the toilets with us! Bad decisions can be made without the toilet talk with mates!
Do men want this?
Now I know that coming at this from a female’s point of view seems a bit biased. But honestly, do men really want to share with us? Even people who identify as a different gender than they were assigned, do they really want to share or have it changed for them. I read about one transgender person who was happy to be able to identify as a woman and use the toilets for the gender she identified with. It seems to me that people campaigning for these changes in schools, etc. are not even necessarily transgender, but people who are trying to please others and remain politically correct. If schools decided to change the system that works for a majority in order to please the minority, would this not cause more issues? Also, if, as suggested, there were male/female/other toilets, wouldn’t this cause more of a debate inside the head of a confused teenager. If you choose to go into other, it’s obvious there is a reason why and you end up facing the same fear of being ridiculed for being different.
What should we do?
What I believe would be a much better option is for schools and parents to teach children that there are different types of gender identification. People of all school and college ages should be able to enter the bathroom of the gender they identify with, and if they don’t clearly identify with just one, then they can go to the one with the shortest queue! It would be pretty easy to figure out if that rule was being abused.
Making people more comfortable with non-binary gender identification is a better solution than changing the structure that the majority is happy with.
I would be interested to know what people from another perspective think so feel free to comment. I am never offended by an opposing view, and am open to all opinions. These are my own personal thoughts on the matter, and although I have read opinions from the other side, I have not studied the subject and am not personally close to anyone who relates to the issue.
Do you think there should be more gender neutral toilets? What about in schools?