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I'm not sure how I feel about this

(121 Posts)
Sunnywithachanceofshowers Tue 04-Dec-12 15:31:17

Our university library has recently installed a gender-neutral toilet, following requests from transgender people. I don't have a problem with that.

However, it replaces the ladies' toilet, so the toilets on one floor are 'mens' and 'women / genderless'. It feels as this reinforces that men are the default gender, and anything else is aberrant.

What do you think?

SomersetONeil Wed 05-Dec-12 08:45:51

Is it Fabric in London that famously has unisex loos? I remember using them in whichever club it was, but it's all a bit hazy... :-/ Do they still? Have an other establishments gone that way?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Dec-12 08:46:03

Kim, hope you're ok. Is the walking this weekend? It's going to be cold if so!

Wilding Wed 05-Dec-12 08:49:58

Yes, all Fabric's toilets are unisex - just a load of cubicles and big communal hand-washing facilities. Seems to work fine.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 08:52:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 08:56:25

I'm aware this is a difficult topic for a lot of us, but mad, your phrase 'physically intact' gets to me a bit.

Are men who've undergone surgery no longer 'physically intact' (I don't follow how that connotation could be anything but negative)? Or are women not 'physically intact'. I'm possibly over-thinking but I just felt a bit unsettled by that phrase in this context.

kim - call the YHA and ask if they're one with mixed dorms/loos? Most are AFAIK.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Dec-12 09:02:03

HNC, I don't think that any guy wanting to go into a woman only space can "just put on a dress". The provisions of the Equalities Act 2010 IIRC apply to those who are living as the other gender, not people who put on a dress one day and a tuxedo the next.

AliceWChild Wed 05-Dec-12 09:03:39

I'm surprised people are surprised. It's pretty usual for the LGBT officer to campaign for 'gender neutral' toilets, the universities I know of have them. There's a whole scene round being 'gender queer/trans' with a perceived coolness attached and strong campaigning. It's big deal in student politics.

The way those signs have been changed is indeed telling. Men then others.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 09:05:54

Genderless and gender neutral are very different IMO.

I'm surprised if a university has honestly thought it was a good idea to label the non-men's toilet the 'genderless' toilet.

SomeTiggyPudding Wed 05-Dec-12 09:08:33

The DoctineOfSnatch said: "Are you in the UK? I'm pretty sure that under the Equalities Act, this is not the correct way to handle the issue of transgender people and toilets. I believe that the correct way is for the transgender person to use the toilets of their chosen gender. "

I think the thread shows that a lot of people would be disgusted if a 'Male2Female' transssexual uses the women's toilets. A lot of people would also be disgusted if the person were to use the men's toilets. It might also ruin the chances of the person receiving treatment as it could be a sign of lack of commitment to her 'new' gender. They could use the disabled toilets but a lot of people would be disgusted, such as people with disabilities meaning they have to use those loo,s as well as Transpeople who do not view their medical situation as a disability.
In short, if a transsexual person leaves their house some people will get disgusted. Bloody disgusted people everywhere. Fuck 'em. It's the disgusted people who should only ever use their own toilets at home not the person with a recognised medical condition. No public toilets should be made available to the disgusted.

They probably changed the ladies into neutal because it could be done with a quick sign change rather than plumbing and re-cubiclising. Ask them their toilet plans.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 09:21:00

If I promise I'm not 'disgusted', am I still allowed to be angry at the idea that being female is seen as the same as being 'genderless' (if the OP is accurate and honestly, OP, are you sure because it seems really odd)?

SomeTiggyPudding Wed 05-Dec-12 09:26:26

I don't think I've ever heard anybody in the TG world describe themselves as being genderless. The wrong gender, both genders, inter-gender, but never genderless. I think maybe the toilets are genderless. Bad wording.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 09:30:09

What is 'the TG world'?

I'm a woman. I'm not 'genderless' and if the sign on one door says 'men' or 'men's toilets' it's fucking rude to me (and surely to transwomen too?!) to put a sign saying 'genderless' on the other one.

You seem to have focussed on your personal assumption people are going to be 'disgusted' at transgender people, and ignored that bit of the OP, and I don't quite get why. Surely it is actually quite a valid reason to be pissed off?

There is a perfectly good word for toilets that are intended for whoever wants to use them, and it's unisex.

If a university (or any other place of work) has really put a sign up saying 'women/genderless', that's fucked up.

ethelb Wed 05-Dec-12 09:34:54

They did this when I was at uni.

I did kind of get it but I fel that it took away the opportnity for people to be trans inclusive without it being forced on them iyswim.

Are you at Manchester? i was.

Shelby2010 Wed 05-Dec-12 09:40:40

I expect the university only needs one transgender person in order to need to provide toilet facilities for them. If a male-to-female is wearing a dress & uses the men's toilets they are more likely to be hassled & will not be following their own requirements of living life as a woman.

The sign will have been put on the women's toilets in order to 'warn' them that they may encounter a transgender individual in what is normally a women only environment. I can't believe that anyone does anything more personal than wash their hands in the communal area of a library toilet so what's the problem?

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 09:48:49

People mentioned urinals in men's toilets, which for some reason I can't quite follow, would be too much of sacred ground to risk letting a transgender person witness on their way to the cubicles (I don't think, based on what DH says, many loos have only urinals, do they? Or do they?).

But I think the 'warning' is a poor excuse.

Putting 'women/genderless' is discriminatory. It doesn't make it ok that the university thinks they're 'warning' some people of their policy that people can use the toilets of the gender they nominate, and it doesn't make sense either - if you provide for MtoF transsexuals you should do the same for FtoM.

Shelby2010 Wed 05-Dec-12 10:13:07

As (IMO) F-M transsexuals are usually less conspicuous, they probably just use the cubicles in the men's toilets without anyone even noticing.

I agree that the wording on the sign (which we don't know yet) needs to be thought out, but all this talk of building new toilets is ridiculous. Where is the money going to come from? I'm sure the students would rather it was spent on cheap beer books!

How about if they signed the men's toilets as "Men & F-M transgender" and the women's as "Women & M-F transgender"? That should keep everyone quiet happy. Apart from those who think all transexuals are some kind of sexual pervert/predator & quite frankly they can poo in their pants for all I care.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 10:16:00

I don't think they should build new toilets. I think they should have unisex toilets. Much simpler.

Fortunately, I don't think students get to decide university budgets, or it definitely would be cheap beer! grin

I think the signs you suggest would work too, but I don't know enough about how transsexuals would take that to be sure?

Shelby2010 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:08:35

Ask the people concerned? That's a bit revolutionary, even for students! I would imagine that there would differing opinions like in any other group of individuals. Some may be offended that it discriminates against them by suggesting they aren't 'real' men/women, others would be pleased that everyone knew the 'rules' and the rest won't care as long as they can have a pee in peace.......

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 12:16:53


I thought I just did. That was a question mark at the end.

I'm sure the students canvassed people and I'd hope the university did, but since the OP's raised the question here, what's wrong with me asking a question here too?

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:32:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dromedary Wed 05-Dec-12 12:55:54

This is a difficult one. Personally, if I am spending the night in a dorm with only other women in it, I will probably behave slightly differently - I will undress less carefully than I would if there were men in the dorm. I might feel a bit uneasy if I were in a dorm on my own with a man I don't know, and might prefer to avoid that situation, or to avoid it for my children (in a youth hostel they would go to bed in the single sex dorm while I am still downstairs in the living room). I appreciate that most men are not dangerous, but I think that it is sensible to take some precautions with men that you don't know, particularly in respect of young female children.

I suppose the issue is that I don't feel that a pre-op male to female transsexual is actually a woman. They may feel that they are a woman. If I don't know them, I will not feel or be able to trust that they are essentially a woman. In any event, in the living as a woman stage they are finding out whether the operation is in fact for them - they may decide to stay as a man.

Do other people genuinely feel that if a man is dressed as a woman (and remember that you don't know this person, or how genuine they are), you are happy simply to treat them and feel towards them as you would a woman, and that knowing that they are from a body point of view at least a man would make no difference to you?

I don't want to offend anyone, but maybe if you are going to a youth hostel as a pre-op male to female it would be sensible either to get a private room (which many years ago was the YHA policy, I was told), or ensure that if you would like to share a female only room the other occupants know about the situation and are happy with it.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 13:00:33

I think that's pretty offensive, TBH. I don't get what 'precautions' you'd take.

I can see someone not wanting their children in a mixed dorm (and YHA don't let you have children in mixed dorms anyway!), but I would think the risk would be more children seem random pissed students/a bit of nudity.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:01:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Dec-12 13:53:24

Dromedary you might feel like that but it would be a breach of the Equalities Act were organisations to act in the way that you outline.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 05-Dec-12 14:11:31

Probably because I have been physically attacked by women on more than one occasion, I don't consider myself more at risk when there are men, transgender people, adults, children, foreigners, members of specific religions, or people from other social classes in the same space as me. Dangerous and tiresome people can exist in every class of human being.

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