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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?

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 15:17:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 15:18:25

Ok, if we've moved on from hypothetical children ... what's a 'typical male', kim?

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 15:18:55


How did the interview go this morning? I hope you get enough money to go on the trip, it would be a shame to miss out/ Eat baked beans for the rest of the month?? grin

The people you do know, are they aware of your situation?

Do they know you as a female?

Why would you ask? I guess that's probably dependant on your answer to my first question.

Could you/would you not get dressed in the shower cubicle? Not because your are TG, simply because that's what a lot of people do when they are sharing with people they don't know.

I think if it was me, if I lived my life as a female and 'looked female' (when dressed) I would just book in as a female and change in the shower cubicle. If I lived as a female but didn't 'look female' then I would probably book a single room - not because I (or you) should, but it would be what I would feel most comfortable doing, because I wouldn't want to discuss it with a large group (once again, no reason you shouldn't, I just know I wouldn't want to). Unless of course I could book in with a small group of females who I was friendly enough with to discuss it. I am so sorry your life is this complicated sad

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 15:21:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 15:23:45

That makes sense - I see what a typical male is not. A typical man is also 'not' many other things.

What is a 'typical male'?

I'm not just being snarky here - I think this is really important. I don't understand why people are talking about issues like urinals in men's bathrooms as if they create some kind of inviolable sacred space for 'men', whereas women should be happy to be 'women/genderless' (I don't begin to get why anyone wants to identify as 'genderless' and didn't know it was the same thing at all, but that may be me).

Surely it matters what we think a 'typical male' is in this situation, and a 'typical woman' for that matter?

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 15:24:22

(Btw, I didn't say, thank you chipping. smile)

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 15:31:00

Urinals are useful, when there are urinals, queues are shorter. However, in a library, I doubt that is really necessary, both sets of toilets should be changed to Unisex. Job done, with very little expense and upset.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 15:32:06

LRD smile

Dromedary Wed 05-Dec-12 15:36:58

Elf - we'll have to agree to disagree. I just don't think it's sensible to send young girls out into the world armed with the information that all people present an equal level of risk.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 15:37:29

Queues for men's loos tend to be shorter anyway.

Interestingly (god, no, it's really not interesting, is it?!) quite a lot of elderly buildings have the wrong balance of men's loos to women's loos because back in the day they'd have provision for men and for the odd visiting women/female cleaner, and they can't cope with roughly equal numbers of men and women, given women spend longer on the loo.

(So, she rambles, why the feck make it the women's loos that are 'genderless'?!)

madwomanintheattic Wed 05-Dec-12 15:49:12

I find it interesting, lrd. grin. It's a great literal example of 'woman, know thy place'. Presents a really neat cameo from a business perspective to line up alongside all the hearth and domestic stuff. Fascinating.

Another one of my pet not-so-secret research projects on gendered public spaces is calling me... grin I so should have veered off into human geography somewhere along the line.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 15:54:31


Glad it wasn't totally dull. Human geography would be fascinating - I wish I'd realized that at school!

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 16:07:55

There are so many things that would have been interesting to have known about when I was still at school. Any adult with a view other than accountant/teacher/doctor would have been interesting & appreciated.

HalloweenNameChange Wed 05-Dec-12 16:27:34

Hope my comment on the first page didn't offend, it wasn't meant to. And if it did I apologise

badguider Wed 05-Dec-12 17:02:30

I am sort of ignoring the transgender debate here as I don't know how the thread got into that tangle and don't have anything useful to add...

But on the topic of toilets, I don't care who does what inside a stall. I am happy to share rooms consisting of many stalls with anybody providing there are properly closing and locking doors which provide complete modesty screening. Men should not explode if they see a sanitary ware bin or dispensor and women should be able to use a dispensor without dying of embarassment (afterall shops selling sanitary wear are not women-only spaces).

I don't like walking past urinating males and seeing naked penises (as you have to in a lot of unisex toilets in france). So I'd be happy with two doors - one marked 'urinals' the other marked 'toilets'.

AliceWChild Wed 05-Dec-12 17:30:06

Chipping, I'm surprised because in my feminist world I come across a lot of students, so I see a lot of what their priorities are, what they campaign about. I would have imagined that to be common to other people's feminist worlds. I guess not. That surprises me. No great shakes

TheSmallClanger Wed 05-Dec-12 17:32:30

The only TG people I have known just use the loo for the gender they identify as.

The university is Manchester, isn't it? I'm not really sure what they're trying to achieve with this, other than confuse people, patronise TG people and make a vaguely antifeminist point.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 17:38:37

chipping - true. Same here!

alice - shows how out of touch I am. I am a student and so (unsurprisingly) are most of my RL mates. I live in a town with two universities, attend a third one and regularly visit two more, so I've got a fair sense of several student communities.

I had no idea 'genderless' loos were a thing, or even unisex ones.

The undergraduate feminists at my university seem (so far as I've seen) to be very focussed on better approaches to sexual assaults and good strategies for feminist teaching and learning (cos they're awesome).

At a couple of other universities I've known students to get very into transactivism, but I can't say this specific issue is one I've come across often.

SomeTiggyPudding Wed 05-Dec-12 17:45:44

Having unisex loos would make life easier for transvestites too. Unisex is the way forwards.
I think the library just isn't very good with words. They will probably change the gent's to unisex too. The work will start next Thursday.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 17:48:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 17:53:20

Unisex also much easily for shagging in. Very practical for your average 'no, I can't wait' students.

Very traumatic for LRD-types who have to pretend they have no idea what you were doing while your eyes meet over the handdryer.

(All together now - ewwwwww)

AliceWChild Wed 05-Dec-12 18:16:52

LRD good to hear.

Google tells me the NUS included it in a guide in 2008 and brings back lots of hits from various universities across the country. So maybe it depends how on board they are with NUS politics.

CrunchyFrog Wed 05-Dec-12 18:28:53

I can think of an easy answer- label one toilet as "cubicles" and one as "urinals/ cubicles" or similar.

Those in a position of penis ownership/ a shewee/ good aim and flexibility/ not needing a poo can use the urinals, everyone else can use either set of cubicles although having worked in a pub I think urinals are there for something to look at while they piss on the floor

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 18:57:57

Oh, how weird. When I googled 'genderless toilets' I just got the MN thread. Can you link?

If this really is in an NUS guide I'm inclined to see if any of the student feminists I know fancy kicking up a stick. It's a really nasty, sneaky bit of casual misogyny - much worse than if an individual library has just been 'not good with words'.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 18:58:32

crunchy - there we go! Perfect elegant solution.

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