Gender Neutral Toilets: are they better for everybody?

The safety threat some believe gender neutral toilets pose to women has sparked up debate once again, following remarks made in the House of Lords by Lord Lucas, a backbench Conservative peer.

Lucas claims these facilities make women feel “unsafe and uncomfortable,” especially when they are on their periods. Although research is limited, there are no statistics which suggest a rise in sexual assault or harassment at gender neutral toilets in London.

Myles Shillingford, an activist and member of the LGBTQ+ community, frequently attends queer spaces which use these facilities. “I don’t feel as though they take the safety away from women as I myself personally have yet to hear of a case in which this has happened,” he says. “Plus, every house [and] hotel room has a gender neutral toilet but I don’t see anyone raise hell about them!”

Universities are also starting to embrace gender neutral facilities, which is where Monique Ryan-Long, a former student of Ravensbourne University, first encountered them.

“The cubicles were self contained with a sink and dryer so I didn’t really come into contact with other people,” Ryan-Long states. “Women are still at risk when in an all female toilet, I don’t think the risk comes just from the opposite gender.”

Although everyone’s experiences with gender neutral facilities differs, it is clear that the debate will not end anytime soon.

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