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I was surprised by my reaction to using a gender neutral toilet today

(99 Posts)
RugbyBuoys Fri 07-Apr-17 20:09:13

I've been contracting this week for a company who work from a relatively small, quiet office building. I was advised that the loos for women were the gender neutral ones. Initially I thought this was a good thing - it felt like the way things should be going.

However, I was surprised how vulnerable I felt using the loos - going in to the cubicles (big gaps under doors and walls) when another person unknown was in the next door cubicle, and also when finding the loos empty, going into a cubicle and then hearing someone else enter the room.

I realised that when you are getting yourself partially undressed in a public loo, it isn't gender of your fellow users that feels relevant, it is biological sex. It was something of a revelation, as I had thought prior to this I would feel fine in a gender neutral set of loos.

I have no significant experience that should make me especially wary of the male sex, but I certainly did feel very uncomfortable and unsafe in that situation.

I now think that people should experience using these sort of toilets (in a non-busy environment where you can't be sure that there will always be people popping in and out) to see how they feel about sitting on the loo and hearing heavy foot steps outside, before they reach a conclusion about converting all loos to gender neutral.

By all means have gender neutral toilets, but women-only loos must not be taken away as part of this is my conclusion.

Interestingly, I noticed that there was another set of loos further on down the corridor - but for men only. No women-only toilets...

CheesyChristie Fri 07-Apr-17 20:12:53

It's strange. I didn't think it would bother me in the least. Using unisex loos the other day but individual rooms all in a row iyswim.

Someone tried the door, nothing unusual in that. But if it was a normal, women only loo I'd have probably called out "sorry, won't be long" or something. But I didn't, I just felt very vulnerable and exposed knowing it could be a man.

I do find it interesting the base reactions I find myself having to situations that logically I consider to be fine.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 07-Apr-17 20:17:48

I find it infuriating that the introduction of non-gendered toilets in practice means that the women's is changed to be "gender neutral" and the men's is left alone. It should be in addition to existing facilities, or all existing facilities should be converted in proper safe gender-neutral toilets - individual wall to floor cubicles containing sinks, accessed directly off a public space. To just re label the women's toilets is a total joke.

RufusTheRenegadeReindeer Fri 07-Apr-17 20:21:40

I have no problem with rooms off a corridor that you find in new restaurants and shopping centres or obviously single toilets in a cafe

But this trend of turning the woman's toilet into gender neutral and leaving the mens as men only ...is royally pissing me off

Anyone thinking its a good idea is a very hard of thinking twunt in my opinion

I dont sign petitions or go on Facebook or marches

But by god you dont fuck about with my toilets

ZilphasHatpin Fri 07-Apr-17 20:25:45

I've been thinking about this and had sort of consoled myself with the idea that anyone hoping to try anything dodgy is taking a risk that the woman they try it on isn't actually a female but rather a male identifying as a woman who is very capable of beating seven shades of shite out of them. And also the risk that other men could appear at any moment and catch them in their act. I know this is a naive dream BTw but I was comforting myself with it. However if it's a case of only the ladies loos being made into gender neutral then the chance of men with no ill intentions using them is low. They will just continue using the gents loos.

Datun Fri 07-Apr-17 20:31:03

ZilphasHatpin

What would be the reason someone, a man , would use the gender neutral loo when there was a perfectly good man's loo available?

RugbyBuoys Fri 07-Apr-17 20:31:42

Glad It is not just me. It was certainly the case that the womens' toilets had just been renamed. I would have felt fine if the toilets had been their own rooms with sink etc and accessed from a more public space.

I doubt the men using the toilet would have had any such feelings of insecurity - it wouldn't have occurred to them, but then until I used the loos, I thought I was fine with then being gender neutral.

It is interesting how as a confident woman, when it comes to being in a slightly isolated place, and with clothes removed, despite their being no obvious threat and a bolt on the door, my fear instincts were on high alert.

So frustrating and angry that we have to waste our precious energy in this way.

On a more construcitve note, how do you suggest I raise this with the company concerned without coming across as either a loon or a bigot? Sigh.

muttrat Fri 07-Apr-17 20:33:14

I wouldn't want to send my young dd into a gender neutral loo by herself. She's 10 and wouldn't think twice about going to the loo alone if we are in a restaurant etc. I wouldn't feel comfortable with her doing that if I knew it was a mixed loo

RugbyBuoys Fri 07-Apr-17 20:33:18

Men did use the gender neutral loos - they were closer to the kitchen area than the mens...

CheesyChristie Fri 07-Apr-17 20:33:47

Probably to have a nice, big shit datun. I guess male only toilets are kept as they have the urinals in - so quick piss you can pop in there.

ZilphasHatpin Fri 07-Apr-17 20:37:48

What would be the reason someone, a man , would use the gender neutral loo when there was a perfectly good man's loo available?

Read to the end of my post.

allegretto Fri 07-Apr-17 20:39:00

Our loos at work are "gender neutral" I suppose - there just aren't separate mens and womens. I don't particularly like them but there is no choice. It doesn't seem at all fair for there to be men's toilets though.

Floggingmolly Fri 07-Apr-17 20:39:58

Have I understood correctly; there are still two loos - one for men and the other for whoever feels like using it?? shock

BigDeskBob Fri 07-Apr-17 20:44:03

I suppose its easier that way, flogging. No money needs to be spent in extra sanitary bins and the removal of urinals. The company get to tick their inclusion box. Its a win/win scenario.

TheFifthKey Fri 07-Apr-17 20:48:37

At work the staff loos are essentially unisex - there's a small room with two cubicles crammed in next to each other each with a loo and tiny sink in. One is marked male and one female but if busy anyone will nip in any cubicle. I know and trust my male colleagues, I don't feel unsafe at all...but I still hate it when I know a man is next door! They're the most gentle, unentitled bunch ever but even so I still hate it!

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 07-Apr-17 20:52:26

They should have sanitary bins in the men's for those people that identify as men but menstruate, otherwise they're not being as inclusive as they think. Probably should have urinals in the gender neutral ones too so that any person who identifies as a woman but has a penis and prefers to stand up to wee isn't discriminated against.

If you really want to raise it Rugby, you could try emailing the person responsible for HR/premises or whoever, and say that you just wanted to let them know that you felt vulnerable using the gender neutral toilets. You could also point out that it seems odd to have a separate men's toilet and that you wonder why men using their office need a separate facility. But tbh, I would probably be really cowardly and not mention it, especially if you want to get another contract with them. It could mark your card as being awkward or worse.

picklemepopcorn Fri 07-Apr-17 20:52:38

Having tights/trousers around the ankles feels extra vulnerable.

Thecontentedcat Fri 07-Apr-17 20:56:49

I had a man come in to the ladies when I was using it, made me feel very vulnerable and uncomfortable. To be fair to the Mtt asking for this change I don't think they can have any understanding of what it is like to be an actual woman in this situation, not having female biology or growing up with all the hassle you get from men. It is a shame they don't listen or even try understand though, they are so focussed on their own feelings rather the very real risks women face.

Ollivander84 Fri 07-Apr-17 21:02:51

I saw a perfect layout in a restaurant that didn't have space for single sex toilets
Cubicles but complete walls and doors with no gaps. Then a row of sinks and mirrors but each cubicle also had a little mirror in, and a hook for coat/bag
The sinks and mirrors were along a back wall (hard to explain!) which was offset so not in full view but not closed off by a door or anything, you walked around a corner and they were there
Seemed to work well

StrawberryMouse Fri 07-Apr-17 21:07:03

I went skiing recently in France and there were a lot of mixed sex toilets at the resort. It felt very strange.

Floggingmolly Fri 07-Apr-17 21:12:26

Unisex toilets, strange or not, are a whole different ballgame to having a Mens and a Gender Neutral. That's an abomination.

ithakabythesea Fri 07-Apr-17 21:17:02

I don't mind unisex toilets, but I object to men only and unisex toilets. Why not women only and unisex toilets instead?

TumbleTrans Fri 07-Apr-17 21:20:18

It is a shame they don't listen or even try understand though, they are so focussed on their own feelings rather the very real risks women face.

I will listen smile

RufusTheRenegadeReindeer Fri 07-Apr-17 21:21:28

Hey tumble

How ya doin'

TumbleTrans Fri 07-Apr-17 21:24:27

I'm fine. No complaints smile

How is everyone else?

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