Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

95.2% of trans and non-binary students supported the introduction of more gender-neutral toilets – 84.8% said the current provision is insufficient (out of the 400 respondents to CUSU LGBT+’s 2018 Big Cambridge LGBT+ Survey).

Why?

  • For many people, having two options—male or female—is actually a no-option scenario. A lot of the time, the anxiety related to using either of these “options” causes trans people to put off using the loo until they get back to their accommodation.
  • Trans and non-binary people are sometimes challenged if they use the binary bathroom that is closest to their gender identity. The internalized self-policing caused by such experiences complicates what should be a casual human function.
  • Many ‘male’ bathrooms lack sanitary facilities, making things difficult for those trans people who need them but who are not comfortable using a ‘female’ bathroom.
  • The predominance of gendered toilets makes people who require gender-neutral toilets travel large distances.
  • Potential applicants are not allowed in residential areas within college (due to child protection regulations). A significant part of University access work is with minority groups such as trans and non-binary people, so more facilities are needed.
  • Many trans and non-binary students may be driven to use the non-gendered disabled toilets, and this increases traffic to disabled toilets, inconveniencing disabled students.

How?

  • Start the conversation among students in your college or your faculty. Get their opinions, informally or formally – this can make it more convincing to staff.
  • Start talking to college or faculty staff. Show them the “Why Gender-Neutral?” leaflets (available from the committee). Tell them about your peers’ needs.
  • Try to get college and faculties to agree to:
    • Change signs on all toilets to easily available ‘Toilet/WC’ signs
    • Show which toilets have urinals with a ‘Cubicles & Urinals’ sign or symbols
    • Put sanitary bins in every toilet cubicle
    • Place a lock on the entrance of toilets with only one cubicle where there is also be a separate sink/queuing are

But…

  • ‘Our college/faculty already has some gender-neutral toilets’
    • Our survey results suggest that nearly all colleges need more. One gender-neutral toilet isn’t enough if it’s on the other side of college!
  • ‘Our college/faculty staff won’t listen to us’
    • We can give you advice on how to best campaign. Attached to this page is a guide regarding the implementation of gender-neutral toilets, which can (and should!) be used in negotiations with college staff. You can contact the Trans and Non-Binary Reps and the Campaigns Officer for more statistics or any other help we can give. We can put you in touch with people who have already had success, so that you can get help from them.

 

PDF guide on gender-neutral bathrooms: GN Bathrooms Guide