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Gender neutral toilets at work

(54 Posts)
SmallPug Tue 10-Nov-20 18:30:54

I know it’s been done to death, but I need to rebut the ridiculous ‘we do it to be inclusive’ email re loos. Our office building - which is an arts institution and we rent an office inside effectively has mixed sex loos. There are ostensibly male and female toilets, but they all have ‘gender neutral’ signage. I wrote a very clear email (using Woman’s place info) outlining the issue of having ‘mixed sex’ toilets and I got a ‘it’s to be inclusive so people can use the toilets they feel most fits their gender identity’. Which basically defeats the point and they might as well be honest. I haven’t seen anything to be concerned about (yet) it’s all very naice etc etc and not like a train station loos - but it is accessible to the public in places, and the point remains that they’re affectively mixed sex. I used ‘sex’ throughout - they used gender. It would be good to have the best evidence, including links, of what’s wrong with this. I am not suggesting they shouldn’t have any gender neutral toilets - but they shouldn’t be all gender neutral. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
midgebabe Tue 10-Nov-20 18:42:18

Are there san bins in the gents? Because there should be to be truely inclusive of women who identify as men

Goosefoot Tue 10-Nov-20 18:46:01

What kind of facilities are they?

For most shared ones, neither women or men love it, so I would focus on whether the people using them are actually happy with that situation.

If they are actually individual rooms, people may not care though, and there aren't the same arguments about safety.

SmallPug Tue 10-Nov-20 19:06:34

In the ‘women’s’ (any sex) they’re rooms with cubicles and shared hand washing bins. Not individual rooms (which would be fine). I haven’t been in the ‘men’s’ (any sex) to see if they have sanitary bins in there.

OP’s posts: |
Newwayofthinking Tue 10-Nov-20 19:09:43

Are you in the UK?

SapphosRock Tue 10-Nov-20 19:11:06

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CheeryTreeBlossom Tue 10-Nov-20 19:13:28

If you're in the UK it's a legal requirement under health and safety law for employers to have separate toilets for men and women (and since this is the law this would mean the legal definition, not some woolly self ID) unless they are self enclosed rooms containing sinks, like accessible cubicles.

bakerstuart.com/guides-officetoiletprovision/

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 10-Nov-20 19:14:06

You need to do a recce I to the all sex men's and see if they have bothered with san bins or if the signs on the door are all the effort they put themselves to.

SmallPug Tue 10-Nov-20 19:17:07

Thanks CherryTree. When I initially emailed them I used the Woman’s Place email which outlined this - and used sex throughout - but they’ve come back with: “The majority of our facilities onsite are single-gender, but the signage invites those to use the one consistent with their gender identity. We use gender neutral signage to communicate an inclusive environment and safe space for trans and non-binary people, so that they have toilets to use comfortably, without challenge or prejudice.”

OP’s posts: |
slipperywhensparticus Tue 10-Nov-20 19:18:02

And gender neutral toilets shouldn't have open urinals either cubicle only

SmallPug Tue 10-Nov-20 19:18:15

SapphosRock - why do we have toilets separated by sex in the first place if it doesn’t matter?

OP’s posts: |
Manderleyagain Tue 10-Nov-20 19:23:18

Have you searched this board for previous threads on this? If you go to advanced search and tick 'feminism chat' it will search just this board. You can choose whether key words appear only in the thread title or in the thread too.

It might be worth finding out if they should have done any risk assessments or equality impact assessments before bringing in the new policy (I assume it's new). Also worth finding out what the law says about loos in work places.

How are the fact they are now both 'gender neutral' but also men's & women's indicated?

SmallPug Tue 10-Nov-20 19:25:44

Thanks. They’ve given me a load of guff which shows that they’re confusing sex and gender. So they think they’re abiding by the law but they’re not. There are the traditional signs for the loos, but in addition to the male and female signage, there’s a gender neutral symbol.

OP’s posts: |
midgebabe Tue 10-Nov-20 19:45:12

I suppose it could be that the toilets are explicitly Male female sex divided and actually truly gender neutral...ie any gender can use the female toilets provided they are of the female sex.

SapphosRock Wed 11-Nov-20 09:47:11

Why on earth was my post deleted?

Not all toilets are separated by sex. Many businesses have unisex loos, particularly agencies or small businesses.

OP in my opinion making a fuss over unisex toilets at work and pre-empting issues when it's not actually causing any problems could be seen as crying wolf, especially as there are so many other things women have to deal with in the workplace.

GCAcademic Wed 11-Nov-20 09:57:25

You could point out that they should await the results of this consultation to avoid the very expensive possibility of having to reverse any changes that they make:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/toilet-provision-for-men-and-women-call-for-evidence/toilet-provision-for-men-and-women-call-for-evidence

Escapeplanning Wed 11-Nov-20 11:02:57

SapphosRock

Why on earth was my post deleted?

Not all toilets are separated by sex. Many businesses have unisex loos, particularly agencies or small businesses.

OP in my opinion making a fuss over unisex toilets at work and pre-empting issues when it's not actually causing any problems could be seen as crying wolf, especially as there are so many other things women have to deal with in the workplace.

They have actually told Op that women and men objecting to the provision of mixed sex toilets only is prejudice and not permitted. This is a lot of manipulative gaslighting, as are the usual excuses behind many things women have deal with in the workplace.

Beamur Wed 11-Nov-20 11:17:23

Why should you have to wait for a problem before you flag up with your employer that their toilets do not meet the required legal standards for unisex toilets?

Caroncanta Wed 11-Nov-20 11:20:51

OP in my opinion making a fuss over unisex toilets

Just making a fuss about nothing eh? Nothing to see here right? Nice try 😉

PatchworkElmer Wed 11-Nov-20 11:29:41

They tried this where I work before I started there. The reality was that no women (yes, it was the women’s toilet which was designed unisex- the men’s stayed as a men’s toilet) used the unisex toilets. They had issues with women queuing to use the women’s toilets on other floors. As a result, the toilet is now female-only again.

IAmNotAGirl Wed 11-Nov-20 11:47:39

SapphosRock

Why on earth was my post deleted?

Not all toilets are separated by sex. Many businesses have unisex loos, particularly agencies or small businesses.

OP in my opinion making a fuss over unisex toilets at work and pre-empting issues when it's not actually causing any problems could be seen as crying wolf, especially as there are so many other things women have to deal with in the workplace.

Yes many small businesses with limited facilities have mixed sex toilets due to limited space but that is not a justification for everyone to change.

Mixed sex toilets have caused problems especially in industries with few women, there are studies showing the increase in sexual assault and in schools with mixed sex toilets there’s an increase in female UTIs as girls are avoiding going to the toilet during the day.

So unless you have a source of data proving your assertion (which I’m confident you don’t as there are studies showing the opposite) I suggest you stick to facts rather than making data up.

Thelnebriati Wed 11-Nov-20 12:09:08

It is not ''crying wolf'' to challenge them for failing to comply with the law. That sounds like victim blaming to me.
We don't have to wait for there to be an incident to object to having our rights removed.

SapphosRock Wed 11-Nov-20 13:48:59

@CheeryTreeBlossom that link you shared promotes the use of unisex toilet facilities confused

The designation of some toilets as “unisex” or “toilets for all” or better still simply leaving all toilets un-designated will alleviate any unnecessary or accidental upset or pressure.

EyesOpening Wed 11-Nov-20 13:55:16

What do they mean by The majority of our facilities onsite are single-gender? are there some other toilets too?

BobbinThreadbare123 Wed 11-Nov-20 13:57:33

The legislation, covered by The Workplace Regs 1992 (reg 20), says:

"separate rooms containing conveniences are provided for men and women except where and so far as each convenience is in a separate room the door of which is capable of being secured from inside"

i.e. totally separate rooms UNLESS the 'toilet' is a self-contained cubicle with a floor to ceiling door with the washbasin and loo inside it.

How many conveniences depends on how many staff the workplace has, but the arrangement of them is the same.

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