Why Londoners want new gender neutral loos

Making council run toilets in the City of London gender neutral has been given huge support in a public survey.

Almost two thirds of the people who took part in a survey by the City of London Corporation supported the idea.

The Corporation own and run some of the capital’s most famous sites. Tower Bridge, the Monument, Guildhall and the Barbican among them.

no challenge required

An even higher number (67%) said that where services are restricted by gender people should be able to use the facilities for the gender they identify as.

The right to use services without having to provide proof of gender got similar levels of support.

“These results show that the overwhelming majority of people want to ensure public services do not discriminate against trans people”, said Edward Lord, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Establishment Committee.

“We aspire to be a leader in diversity, equality and inclusion”.

Key Findings:

81% agree a person can feel their gender is different to that assigned at birth.

74% agree a person should be accepted in whichever gender they identify with.

70% agree or strongly agree in Trans inclusion.

65% agree there’s no need to provide proof of your gender for entry to services.

63% want the council to consider adapting facilities to be gender neutral.

Gender Identity survey by the City of London Corporation. Carried out July to September 2018, results published May 2019.

the ladies’ pond

When the survey was underway, from July to September last year, parts of the media focussed on access to the Ladies’ pond at Hampstead. Now headlines in those papers and websites shout that the ponds ‘have been opened to trans people’.

In reality the ponds have been open to trans women, and used by them, since the Equality Act of 2010. That act protects trans people from being discriminated against when accessing services.

Laura Russell, a director of the LGBT campaigning group Stonewall, told the BBC: “Trans people’s right to use single-sex spaces, regardless of whether they have legal gender recognition, has been the law for nearly a decade”.

Embed from Getty Images

change for millions

Any changes in the way the City of London runs its facilities potentially affects millions of people.

Only 8,000 people live in the City of London, but 400,000 people commute into the Square Mile, and ten million tourists a year visit.

some change already

There was controversy when gender neutral toilets were introduced to part of the Barbican in October 2016. The signs on the doors of the ladies’ and gents’ were changed, but the urinals stayed.

Some cis women argued that while anybody could use what had been the ladies’ there were few women who wanted to queue beside the urinals to use what had been the gents’. They complained that the traditionally long queue for the ladies’ loos had become even longer at the door of the gender neutral toilets.

A spokesperson for the Barbican said “we recognise that the way our gender neutral toilets are currently implemented have practical limitations”.

cubicles for all

The City of London Corporation say that supplying individual cubicles in gender neutral toilets was one of the most frequent suggestions in the survey.</p>
<p>The report of the survey results says lockable cubicles “should be considered in the development and implementation of a Gender Identity policy”.

 


Picture Credits: Tower Bridge, Wiki Commons, the computer is by us. Gender neutral toilet sign, Transnews.uk original artwork.


 

Have your say