How to approach the 'TW in a work loo' issue

(318 Posts)
LockdownLisa Tue 14-Sep-21 21:57:20

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/a4279797-Workplace-advice-needed?msgid=108499436#108499436

This was my thread from a few weeks ago. My colleague has now come out as trans, which is fine. However, I saw her use the women's toilets today, which is not so fine. We do have self contained disabled toilets which I think would be more appropriate.

All we've had from management is a 'Peter is now Sandra, work systems will be updated to reflect this' type email. There's been very little chat in the office about it so I can't gauge how other people feel about it.

I don't really feel comfortable approaching my section manager as I know I'll just be fobbed off. I was thinking about emailing my HR department (I work for an NHS hospital trust, it's a Stonewall member as I think most of them are) but have no idea how to word it!

Does anybody have any suggestions? I was thinking something very simple like:
'Please can you clarify our policy on which toilets, changing rooms and showers our transgender staff are expected to use?'

I'm the lowest of the low in terms of my banding and although I've held more senior positions than this before, I'm so uncertain how to handle this. I believe (from the previous thread) that women are legally entitled to same sex provision, but fighting for that right in the workplace isn't an easy thing to do, especially from my lowly position 😕.

OP’s posts: |
Thelnebriati Tue 14-Sep-21 22:03:35

Ask them to clarify which toilet is single sex for women only, not mixed sex and single gender.
They shouldn't treat you differently for asking for single sex toilets; its actually an offence for them to do so;
www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/26

MonsignorMirth Tue 14-Sep-21 22:04:22

Could you instead ask whether toilets are supposed to be single-sex or mixed-sex rather than focusing on whether the user has a particular gender identity/is trans or not?

Ereshkigalangcleg Tue 14-Sep-21 23:30:25

The law in question is not the Equality Act which most people cite, it's The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Regulation 20 which specifies that toilets must be either single sex or self contained units in separate rooms.

"^sanitary conveniences shall not be suitable unless ... 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."^

Ereshkigalangcleg Tue 14-Sep-21 23:33:47

An FOI was done of the Home Office following the unpopular imposition of mixed sex toilets - here is the lame, evasive response:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/729260/response/1748844/attach/3/FOI%2062706%20S%20White%20final%20response.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1

flibberyjibbery8 Tue 14-Sep-21 23:38:21

Tread very carefully... trans women are viewed as women and therefore you may be thought of as transphobic by any perceived objection. Trans people are pretty marginalised and I doubt this person would change up their entire life to use a female toilet, so I think I'd ask yourself what is making you wary and why. Then decide how you'll answer this if asked.

ShrillSiren Tue 14-Sep-21 23:42:02

If TW were actually viewed as women, they wouldn't get all the special treatment.

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flibberyjibbery8 Tue 14-Sep-21 23:47:38

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toomanytrees Tue 14-Sep-21 23:53:15

It is the women in this workplace who are being marginalized.

pombear Wed 15-Sep-21 00:03:15

flibberyjibbery8

Tread very carefully... trans women are viewed as women and therefore you may be thought of as transphobic by any perceived objection. Trans people are pretty marginalised and I doubt this person would change up their entire life to use a female toilet, so I think I'd ask yourself what is making you wary and why. Then decide how you'll answer this if asked.

Really? Let's run that through the reality-translator. (Words coming up that could be bannable, but I'm so rarely here nowadays I don't care)

Tread very carefully : ie if you're a woman who has concerns about this, be careful of raising your concerns as there are some people who won't like it, and will do their best to stop you raising your concerns, even to the extent of attempting disciplinary action against you..

Transwomen are viewed as women : men who say they feel like they're a woman are truly viewed by some people in society (group one), due to their belief in an ideology, and there are many others (group two) who are wary of stating the reality that men who say they're women aren't women, often in fear of the above actions of group one.

Trans people are pretty marginalised : in this specific case, many women who are concerned that men who say they feel like they're women aren't happy to give them a free pass into women's single-sex spaces, and therefore those men who say they feel like they're women feel marginalised (ie - but why won't you let me use women's toilets if I say I'm a woman).

I doubt this person would change up their entire life to use a female toilet : check all the roles in society that 'people (usually men) who have 'changed up their entire life to join in order to enter spaces and places and roles to enable them to abuse. Really?

I'd suggest looking at Equality Act, asking whether an equality impact assessment has been carried out to identify if there is any negative impact on women (as a sex class and protected characteristic, not an identity) in enabling this policy of using toilets of choice, and head to Sex Matters website for Reindorf Report advice for HR departments.

(not a shitbag, just a woman who's tired of this bag of shite)

MistandMud Wed 15-Sep-21 00:06:47

Flibberty, should the OP have been happy to see Peter going into the ladies’ loos a few weeks ago?

If so why?

If not, what’s changed?

Quaggars Wed 15-Sep-21 00:23:14

I doubt this person would change up their entire life to use a female toilet, so I think I'd ask yourself what is making you wary and why. Then decide how you'll answer this if asked

this

Mantlemoose Wed 15-Sep-21 00:23:14

God I'm just waiting on this happening in the office block I work in. The one and only thing I have to thank covid is that our lovely Landlords put locks on all the toilet doors to the corridor so there could only be one user at a time and they aren't removing them. If this wasn't the case though I would be doing everything I could so men stayed in the mens toilet. Once they've physically transformed to females they can change but not before. And I don't give a ff who this offends btw.

aBirdToldMeAboutIt Wed 15-Sep-21 00:38:13

"How to approach the 'TW in a work loo' issue"

If you're feeling uncomfortable sharing the toilets with another woman, whether trans or not, then you always have the option of using the self contained disabled toilets, which you obviously accept would be appropriate to be used by an abled person.

Although the the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 govern the provision of toilets in the workplace, it does not cover the use of those toilets. Unless you are employed to clean those toilets, those toilets are a service provided to employees by an employer. In regards to both employment law and the use of services, the Equality Act 2010 applies.

As noted in the Statutory Codes of Practice, it is unlawful to bar a trans person from using services or facilities of their expressed gender unless doing so is a "proportionate means to a legitimate ends", can be "objectively justified" that such an act of discrimination is appropriate— that the use of those toilets by a trans person means that no other person would use them and no other provision is available, and it is objectively justifiable that other people would not use the toilets if a trans person uses them—that the use of the exception is, by its nature, exceptional and requires a high bar to be proved to be a lawful act of discrimination, and must be justified to the use of the toilets by that specific trans person. In your case, your employer would not begin to meet those conditions, even if they wished to use the appropriate exemption in the Equality Act 2010. Which as you've already pointed out, they do not.

As for what happens if an employer attempts to stop a trans person using the toilets of their choice, or allows employees to harass or otherwise discriminate against an trans person using those toilets, please see Case No: 2206063/2017 and Case No: 1304471/2018 as examples of an employer who, inter alia, allowed this to happen or directly engaged in stopping a trans person from using the toilets of their choice.

Sydendad Wed 15-Sep-21 00:38:24

I'm not sure you should be afraid to be offensive. I think you can state to the hr department and to your line manager that you feel uncomfortable and possibly threatened by Sandra to be in the women's toilet with you while she still looks and is physically a man. And ask if an alternative solution can be found in the interim.
Too much tippy toeing going on these days.
Make sure you make them understand that you feel uncomfortable and threatened that should scare them enough.

NiceGerbil Wed 15-Sep-21 00:56:38

In all honestly.

And I know this is a rubbish response.

If they sit near you I'd just go when they weren't.

Otherwise use the accessible.

I strongly believe HR would say inclusive etc and then what do you do?

You will be marked out as a bit of a troublemaker and poss intolerant of all sorts of things.

Have any of the women you work with mentioned it? If asked directly I can guarantee that most would say no problem and not their actual thoughts.

CharlieParley Wed 15-Sep-21 00:59:01

As noted in the Statutory Codes of Practice, it is unlawful to bar a trans person from using services or facilities of their expressed gender unless doing so is a "proportionate means to a legitimate ends", can be "objectively justified" that such an act of discrimination is appropriate— that the use of those toilets by a trans person means that no other person would use them and no other provision is available, and it is objectively justifiable that other people would not use the toilets if a trans person uses them—that the use of the exception is, by its nature, exceptional and requires a high bar to be proved to be a lawful act of discrimination, and must be justified to the use of the toilets by that specific trans person. In your case, your employer would not begin to meet those conditions, even if they wished to use the appropriate exemption in the Equality Act 2010. Which as you've already pointed out, they do not.

This is nonsense. The Equality and Human Rights Commission clarified in an official statement in 2018 that a male person who does not have a gender recognition certificate must be compared to all other males.

So for starters, if the workplace toilets are separated into male and female facilities and all other male staff members would not be allowed in the female facilities, then a male colleague who identifies as trans but who remains legally male does not have an automatic right under the Equality Act to use the female-only facilities. And excluding such a person from female-only toilets would be lawful discrimination.

Furthermore, the wording "exceptional" circumstances does not appear in the Equality Act itself nor in the Explanatory Notes. Instead, the Equality Act states unequivocally that facilities where a member of one sex may reasonably object to the presence of a member of the other sex can be strictly single-sex, also excluding those who are of the opposite sex but identify as trans. That is one of the examples given in the Equality Act as a proportionate means to a legitimate aim.

And where you get the nonsense from that a transgender person can only be excluded if no one else would otherwise be able to use a facility I cannot imagine.

NiceGerbil Wed 15-Sep-21 01:00:51

And on the point of why shouldn't they use the ladies and why would it make you uncomfortable.

1. Last week mark your male colleague that you know.
2. Mark is now in the ladies which surely most people would understand to be pretty weird to many people.

Why pretend that's not true?

And while the colleague is early in transition and everyone is getting used to the change maybe involving name pronouns appearance etc. I'd have thought they would feel more comfy in neutral bog and also they might understand that female colleagues could do with a bit of time as well?

I mean I'm assuming here there is an accessible toilet because of law and not because there are a lot of people who use it. Well I mean in my workplaces it's been the toilet used by men to shit in but that's another thread probably.

NiceGerbil Wed 15-Sep-21 01:02:07

Turned around i KNOW that... All? The men I've worked with would not be comfy with this being announced and then BOOM I'm walking into the bog while they're at the urinal.

I mean obviously, surely?

NiceGerbil Wed 15-Sep-21 01:06:16

And as a more general point. I thought the argument for transwomen using the men's was safety?

I mean in most office situations that's surely not a concern? I've never ever heard of a man attacking a colleague in the gents. I mean sure probably happened some time but must be vanishingly rare.

If the workplace is like that then what protections are there for eg out gay men?

NiceGerbil Wed 15-Sep-21 01:08:48

Additionally there's one high profile trans person who switches names gender pronouns etc during the week.

Use the ladies sometimes and the gents the other.

With this sort of thing really it needs to be all unisex surely and with provision to provide privacy comfort for all surely?

CharlieParley Wed 15-Sep-21 01:16:04

I doubt this person would change up their entire life to use a female toilet, so I think I'd ask yourself what is making you wary and why.

That male person's motivation has no bearing on the rights of female staff to female-only toilets. It doesn't matter if it's a well-meaning person or someone doing it for nefarious or mischievous reasons - they are male and would deny the female staff members their rights to dignity, privacy and safety by using the female-only toilets.

Our rights do not stand or fall with a male person's motivation, they exist in their own right. Believe it or not, but we are fully realised human beings and thus have rights of our own. Hard won rights that enable us to participate in public life and that exist even without the approval of male colleagues or misinformed HR departments.

Moreover, the loss of single-sex provisions hits various marginalised groups of women harder than others, such as disabled women, women from culturally conservative backgrounds, women from faith groups and traumatised female survivors of male violence who cannot use mixed-sex facilities at all. Many of them also fall under other protected characteristics in addition to sex, such as race or ethnicity, religion or belief and disability and the OP's employer has a duty to these groups as well.

As for your question, no male person in this situation can now be unaware of the large numbers of women who do not consent to sharing facilities with males where they are vulnerable and in a state of undress. If such a male person chooses to use female-only spaces, it is therefore a conscious violation of women's boundaries in my view and we are right to be wary of any male person who chooses to violate the boundaries of female people. My own experience with male violence tells me that.

Dougalskeeper Wed 15-Sep-21 02:54:33

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NecessaryScene Wed 15-Sep-21 06:42:16

What's the reason for not continuing to use the male toilets? Is there some suggestion that male staff would cause issues?

Is there some rather regressive thinking about stereotypes going on here? Do they think "female toilet" means "dress-wearing people's toilet"?

Maybe a preachy sign for the male loos? "Some males wear dresses. Get over it". (Yuck, but I gather that sort of thing is de rigeur now, and it would be nice to have it directed at men for a change).

Still, I guess some trans people are always going to struggle with being comfortable with their sex, or being "gender-non conforming", and are going to be resistant to overcoming that, so a third space to accommodate them is appropriate.

StealthPolarBear Wed 15-Sep-21 06:54:41

Op as a woman you just need to be kind and allow your boundaries to be trampled. There are lots of people telling you to do it on this thread.
#bekind and #shutup

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