STUDENTS at one of Scotland’s top universities have banned separate male and female toilets in a bid to tackle “gender policing”.
Edinburgh University students’ union says “trans people” are regularly harassed for being in the “wrong” toilet.
The solution is to ban male and female symbols from toilets and label them instead by their “contents” – “stall and urinals” or “stalls only”.
Urinals will be kept to cater for women who want to wee standing up. And while a small number of toilets will remain men- or women-only, toilets reserved for males will have to include a dispenser for sanitary products.
The change will be accompanied by the introduction of a zero tolerance policy on “gendered harassment” and campaign to introduce gender-neutral loos in all Edinburgh University buildings.
Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA), the body behind the plan, hit the headlines last week after it emerged they had introduced a fancy dress policy which banned Mexicans, gangsters, and camp people.
The latest policy – called Stop Taking The P*** – was recently passed by students and means all single-occupancy and two-thirds of communal toilets will be immediately redesignated without alteration.
The policy states: “Gender neutral toilets shall be clearly labelled and signposted, and absolutely must not use binary signage that would indicate ‘both men and women’ which is exclusionary and offensive to those who are neither.
“Toilets should instead be labelled by their contents, e.g. ‘Stalls and Urinals’, ‘Stalls Only’, ‘Stalls, Showers and Changing Facilities’ – or iconography with equivalent indications.
“In venues where gendered or gender-neutral toilets are equipped with…condom or sanitary product dispensaries, such toilets should include both dispensaries.”
Student leaders, adds the policy, “shall produce a campaign against gender policing and harassment in toilets”.
The same leaders “shall engage in campaigning with the university to re-designate two-thirds of bathrooms as gender neutral throughout all of the university facilities, ensuring that every building has at least one”.
EUSA claims that a survey conducted by the “liberation group” revealed that 82% of “trans and non-binary” students and staff said the university lacks appropriate facilities.
It adds: “Trans people are regularly harassed in bathrooms for being perceived as being in the wrong space.”
Having condom machines in male toilets only means “women and non-binary students…are required to misgender themselves and risk being outed”.
Explaining the decision to keep urinals in gender-neutral loos, the policy states: “There are non-binary students and women who may wish to stand to urinate, and as such the requirement that gender neutral toilets contain no urinals leads to these students being disenfranchised.”
Student leaders will receive “Trans 101” training to educate themselves in appropriate terminology, says the policy.
Reaction at the university to the toilet plan was mixed. First year student Gregor Dron, 18, said: “It’s just taking it too far. They want to be equal on everything, like ‘Let’s have shared toilets’.
“If it keeps people happy then sure. Fair enough if it helps. If a trans person walks in and doesn’t see themselves as one gender then that’s fine with me.”
Another first year, Ryan Walsh, said: “I think I would be fine with it but the changing rooms would kind of freak me out a bit. I don’t think I would be good with that.”
22-year-old English student Lilly Trapp said: “I noticed when the signs went up and think it’s a good idea. In general it’s a good way to make everyone comfortable.”
And Jack Hutcroft, 21, added: “I think it’s fine, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Sounds like a good idea.”