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Is it legal for a man to use the women's toilet in England? Scotland?

(188 Posts)
SerciteEland Mon 15-Jan-18 17:31:43

If not, can someone please point me to where I can find text of the law regulating this? I've tried searching here to no avail: www.legislation.gov.uk/search

I was always under the impression that it WAS illegal for a man to enter the women's room but now I'm not so sure and it seems a rather hard thing to search for.

I assume it must be since apparently a reading of the 2010 Equality Act has been invoked to allow transgender women to use the women's room. www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-36395646

www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/19

But I can't seem to find the original law prohibiting men from being in the ladies'.

Further, I've only really started to pay attention to the trans issue within the last few years (first as an ally from 2011-2014 and thereafter becoming progressively more and more gender critical after hitting peak trans in 2014/15) and I somehow entirely missed that it's now apparently legal for trans women to be in the women's bathrooms. Does anyone have links to good information on how this happened (focused on the UK)? And have there been any documented abuses of it so far?

LisaVito Wed 28-Aug-19 09:48:47

There's a bit of misdirection somewhat I feel in parts of this thread.

Exemptions are unlikely to be triggered for toilet use.

There are some cases of tranwomen suing successfully.

www.lawcentres.org.uk/policy/news/news/kirklees-law-centre-wins-landmark-transgender-discrimination-case

A GRC is misdirection as you can never ask to see one, nor is anyone checking for them at the entry to toilets.

So making it easier or harder to get a GRC is irrelevant, unless a case goes to court for whatever reason, the vast majority of trans people will be using the public toilets that match their self-identified gender, or will likely not use a public toilet, and go on their way.
You hardly ever hear of these tings going to court, so in effect a GRC is not affecting current practices nor will it.

The main thing is about most of the discussion around toilet use, none of it can be enforced or policed. If we use visual cue's, more passable transwomen, ie. those that most match up to patriarchal beauty standards would benefit, and those that did not would be excluded, and of course there's the problem of GNC women being caught in the cross-fire.

This isn't new either, I doubt April Ashley or Caroline Cossey ever used the mens.

I don't know what the answer is, but demanding people use the toilets of their birth sex will not work, and there is no way of enforcing it.

Fraggling Wed 28-Aug-19 11:24:59

Essentially this social convention has been destroyed, and these facilities are now open to men, in many cases with the blessing of whoever provides them.

Women did not ask for this, we don't want it. But it's done.

CharlieParley Wed 28-Aug-19 11:41:00

That case was won by the male in question only because at the time the statutory guidance given by the EHRC, which is legally binding, misrepresented the law.

EHRC very quietly changed its guidance last year by deleting the erroneous passages. Another case like this, the landlord would win. And rightly so.

Also I've seen plenty of masculine women, feminine men and males and females who identify as trans. I've never mistaken a woman for a man, no matter how butch.

The only ones that come close to passing at first glance, from a distance or in photos are women who've been on testosterone for a long time (although their size and shape tend to give them away) and men who've had serious amounts of feminisation surgeries (although for me their size, movements, behaviour, voice modulation and mannerisms tend to give them away).

Generally speaking only males who finish transitioning medically by their early 20s have a chance of truly passing as the opposite sex in the eyes of women. IIRC, that's 1 in 10 transsexuals and 1 in 100 of all men claiming womanhood. So you're far more likely to encounter an obvious male than one who passes.

And those operating toilets can and some do, of course, enforce sex segregation. But what is far more important is the social taboo that has kept men out of women's toilets. There has never been an equally strong taboo in the other direction because women generally avoid the men's and they are putting themselves at risk, but that isn't true the other way around.

As for if women use the gents why can't men use the ladies?

I have never used the gents, I doubt I ever will. And just because some women have done so in an emergency doesn't mean all of us lose the right to female only facilities. It means that toilet providers must try harder to ensure there are enough women's toilets.

CharlieParley Wed 28-Aug-19 11:43:56

Also should add, LisaVito, that toilets are explicitly one of the facilities where sex-based exemptions can be and usually are applied.

Birdsfoottrefoil Wed 28-Aug-19 11:55:37

Childrenofthestones what was to stop you taking your young girls into the men’s?

Childrenofthestones Wed 28-Aug-19 14:16:53

Birdsfoottrefoil said....
"Childrenofthestones what was to stop you taking your young girls into the men’s?"

Essentially, as I've said logistics.
As a dad with one little girl, not a problem
as we can both fit into a cubicle at the same time.
When you have a 3 year-old and a 5 year old all three of you can't fit in the cubicle along with your rucksack and shut the door. As a woman in the ladies this wouldn't matter.
As a bloke with little girls in the gents things very quickly came to a head when one day I was seeing to my youngest on the toilet while my eldest stood behind me with the door open. I glanced back to see she was ok and saw she was staring to the left.
Sticking my head out of the door I saw she was looking at a man in the adjacent urinals, who was holding his dick ( not on show) who was staring back at her.

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT?"

Was my immediate response to him and he quickly looked down and then walked away.
From then on I used disabled loos apart from occasions like I have described where they were desperate and the disabled loos were being used. Unfortunately, and understandably, when they are being used by the disabled they are often ages until they have finished and come out.

OldCrone Wed 28-Aug-19 14:53:52

The logistics of a dad with two daughters means you can't use the gents, as I found out the hard way.

Why not? Women take their young sons into the ladies, so why can't a man take his young daughters into the men's? Assuming that the men's toilet has a cubicle that's clean enough to use.

Childrenofthestones Wed 28-Aug-19 15:09:49

Fully explained in my post above

Birdsfoottrefoil Wed 28-Aug-19 16:00:40

I could fit a 3 and 5 year old in a cubicle with me. Alternatively you stand outside with one child holding the unlocked door shut then swap them over. That you feel uncomfortable with men in the men’s doesn’t mean girls/women should have to put up with men (you) in the women’s.

jellyfrizz Wed 28-Aug-19 19:38:48

People often talk about 'teaching men to be more accepting' but that's not a quick fix..

It won't EVER be fixed if people just accept it.

Fraggling Wed 28-Aug-19 21:10:53

I could fit 2 small kids in and our cubicles have a fuck off massive sanitary bin in as well!

Nevertheless I can easily see that facilities for men with children / babies are not well catered to, although better than in the past.

The answer is for men to continue to agitate for better facilities and more understanding from fellow men when families use the gents.

Not for men to be allowed in the women's.

richardmuscat Mon 02-Dec-19 11:42:56

If, as a dad, I am faced with the situation where the only changing area available for a baby is in the female bathroom then I have no qualms going in there. I am not using it -- my child is.

And the same applies if my daughter -- at an age where she still requires parental assistance -- needs the loo. I am most definitely not taking her into a bathroom spattered in urine featuring a bunch of grown men with their dicks hanging out.

Clymene Mon 02-Dec-19 11:48:58

You sir, are a twat of the highest order. Take something with you to clean the disgusting piss splattered toilets in the men's toilets. Lobby for changing facilities in male facilities.

You are a man and you do not belong in the women's toilets. Ever.

LangCleg Mon 02-Dec-19 11:49:26

Zombie thread.

Wondersense Mon 02-Dec-19 12:19:37

@Qgd2019 Dear Lord. Where to start with your response. I hoped that this was some sort of troll attempt but I've heard to many things like this being said that I'm going to have to take it seriously. I guess I will go through it line by questionable line. If you want to argue your point, you really need to present much better points that the one you have.

I am actually a transwoman and however you wanna insult me and people like me over petty nonsense is your problem.

It is certainly not petty nonsense and you framing it as such shows you have a long, LONG way to understand what it's like to grow up a girl and become a woman.

Males and females use your bathroom at home.

Yes they do. Unless there is something wrong in the household, the bathroom will be shared by people who know and trust each other. It is not the same as a random stranger entering a public facility.

If someone wants to sexually assault people I doubt they would go through the hassle of pretending to be trans to do it. They'd just sexually assault women and kids in the street.

Not true. Again and again we see that sexual abusers are more than willing to go to great lengths to have access to vulnerable people. They ideally don't want to go to prison so will find a way of abusing with a minimal chance of being detected - after all, they do want to go on abusing and they won't be able to do that easily if they're locked away. How would they go about the hassle of pretending to be trans if all that's required (according to trans ideology), is to say that they feel like a woman?? If men are willing to go to the trouble of having careers where they can access vulnerable people, then what on earth makes you think they won't exploit trans ideology to get what they want??? Pretending to be trans or gender fluid really isn't that difficult. In fact it will become easier and easier. That's part of the problem.

Barracker Mon 02-Dec-19 12:32:59

I am most definitely not taking her into a bathroom spattered in urine featuring a bunch of grown men with their dicks hanging out.

Having set your precedent of any man feeling entitled to enter women's spaces and taking umbrage at being expected to leave, you've brilliantly guaranteed that your daughter will never again be able to have a space with no men in it with their dicks hanging out.

"No men allowed in here" barks man, whilst entering the room no men are allowed in.

Or did you imagine other men would respect her privacy as a female after you've demonstrated you don't believe females should have privacy?

Which is it?
Men are entitled to enter female spaces, or they aren't?

Wondersense Mon 02-Dec-19 12:49:07

@Childrenofthestones If you're a Dad with small girls then I can understand why you'd want to take your girls to the women's toilet. I think most women would be understanding of this, even if they feel a bit odd with having you there. What a lot of women here are worried would though, is that if they sense that something's not right, that they won't be able to challenge it or get assistance because the staff will be terrified of being labelled as transphobic.

MockersFactCheckMN Mon 02-Dec-19 15:00:57

The recent attack in London led me to re-watch an old film (Copycat - 1995) in which a criminologist at a conference is attacked in the toilet by a man pretending to be a woman to get her. Which I never spotted at the time. Was far too smitten with Holly Hunter to notice.

It's rather glib in that Hollwood one-liner way, and has more than a dose of post Dirty Harry neaderthal populism with the ending. I'm sure the audience whooped and cheered. There's nothing so alien and unrelatable as the recent past, with its workplace sexism, huge CRTs and all the lights and appliances left permanently on. And I can do with out the Sub-Conan Doylian analysis, but it's still a good and in its better moments an intelligent watch.

And Holly's still lovely.

DadDadDad Mon 02-Dec-19 16:29:09

If you're a Dad with small girls then I can understand why you'd want to take your girls to the women's toilet.

Well, I'm a Dad, and I don't particularly understand it. Unlike @richardmuscat , I would not have gone into the women's toilet with my daughter when she was little - I would have been embarrassed and I would have assumed it would be unwelcome by women.

Men only have "their dicks hanging out" when they have their backs to the room. Unless you're planning on giving your daughter a close-up tour of the urinals, she can go straight to a cubicle with you and be none-the-wiser.

I should probably point out for those who missed it: this is a ZOMBIE THREAD which appears to be regaining life.

GRACEANDHOPE Wed 08-Jan-20 19:57:53

Hi to all you parents.
I am Trans feminine, I have been presenting as female for over two years. As you can imagine I have researched this subject in detail if only to ensure my own safety both legally and physically
Firstly It is not illegal to use the toilet that a person deams to be appropriate to their gender It is Ileagal to behave in a way that would cause harm or distress to others (this would include taking drugs etc) .
Now personally (and having spoken to other trans male&female) I try where possible to use gender neutral spaces including disabled toilets, I am usually very feminaly dressed wear make up and pass reasonably well as a woman so you can imagine how inappropriate and dangerous it would be to use a male toilet for me,
I have often "to my extreme discomfort" not used toilets due to the environment or if there are children or young adults present, 'why?' Because I don't want to upset anyone and I don't want to experiance hostility in a public place.
I have 3 children and now 3 ' 2-7 years old male & female', grandchildren which I regularly spend time with I am very protective of them so fully understand all your views and concerns.
Now the facts... there are no documented cases so far of inappropriate behaviour by trans women or men in the UK envolving the use of a public convenience , there are however many cases of assault of Transitioning people in public toilets many of these are very serious .
There are approximately 1% of our population who identify as "othere than their bialogical sex at birth" if you think at least half will be anywhere in the Trans spectrum (not identify as female) there would be less than half a percent that's just 300'000 out of a population of over 60 milion that ID as feminine... so the chances are you will live a full life and never see or be aware of a trans feminine person using your pubic toilet.

Finally , genuinely I wish the media and politicians would back away from this somewhat they only propagate and exagirate the situation I do want to just live my life without hostility from other's I do listen to women's veiws and mostly understand and accept those veiws that is why I do try to be sensitive about how I use public facilities.
We "I " am horrified that women feel their hard won rights are being eroded. Please to not think that is what we want.

OldCrone Wed 08-Jan-20 20:11:55

Now the facts... there are no documented cases so far of inappropriate behaviour by trans women or men in the UK envolving the use of a public convenience

Did you not read about this one?

metro.co.uk/2019/03/16/transgender-woman-18-sexually-assaulted-girl-10-morrisons-toilet-8914577/

Kantastic Wed 08-Jan-20 20:29:28

there are however many cases of assault of Transitioning people in public toilets many of these are very serious

Are there really? I've never seen a case of a transwoman assaulted in men's toilets, could you link?

There was that one case of a transwoman "assaulted by cis women" in the women's toilets in a bar, which got a huge amount of publicity. But then the transwoman concerned got arrested for sexually assaulting a woman in a different bar so it seems both the police and the media jumped the gun there.

happydappy2 Wed 08-Jan-20 20:45:53

Grace why do you feel unsafe using the mens facilities, not all men are violent or aggressive, why do you feel entitled to use facilities that were designed for the safety & privacy of women and girls?

Gibbonsgibbonsgibbons Wed 08-Jan-20 20:56:08

With the greatest respect G&H if you are mature enough to be a grandparent it is extremely unlikely that you are read as female after two years of whatever you are doing.

Your discomfort at using the correct sex based space doesn’t override my, my daughter’s or any other woman’s consent.

What is your preferred solution? Are you campaigning for third spaces?

terfsandwich Wed 08-Jan-20 21:01:47

Why are you unsafe in the men's? Is it because you're wearing a frock?
Why do you want to make women's toilets mixed sex if you say men are dangerous?
I am a woman but i don't have a ladybrain, would you consider me to be dangerous in the women's toilets if you saw me there?
If not, how can I discern between a male bodied person in the wrong body, with a ladybrain, and a man with a manly brain?

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