The Daily Mail has reported parents and teachers have expressed concerns about gender-neutral toilets in schools, as they leave girls feeling unsafe and even put their health at risk, with some being so fearful of using them they’ve stopped drinking liquids at school.
While the trend for unisex toilets is motivated by a desire for greater inclusivity, especially in respect of trans individuals, doctors and politicians are calling on schools to halt the push to prevent further harm to female pupils.
GP Tessa Katz told the outlet that holding in urine for prolonged periods on a regular basis could increase the risk of girls suffering urinary and bladder infections.
“The psychological effects of girls not feeling safe enough to use mixed-sex toilets is also concerning,” she said.
Women of twitter, how do you feel about mixed sex toilets? That being cubicles that anyone can use regardless of sex or gender expression.— Archie #FBPE 🔶️🇪🇺👻 (@ArchieBarnett) October 7, 2019
The rise in gender-neutral toilets has also sparked a backlash among parents, many of whom say they were not consulted before the change was made at their children's schools.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, from parent campaign group Transgender Trend, which questions the medical transition of children, was quoted as saying schools were being misinformed by “trans activist” organisations they would be breaking equality laws if they didn’t make toilets gender-neutral, as there were clear exemptions under current equality laws that meant it was perfectly legal to have single-sex toilets.
Conservative MP David Davies, who’s backed feminist claims transgender rights are overriding those of women, said if girls aren’t comfortable sharing toilets with boys, “schools should make provision for them, rather than saying girls have got a problem”.
The news followed mere hours before UK theatre news website The Stage was branded called “cowardly” after deleting two comment articles sharing opposing views about gender-neutral toilets which had been installed at the Old Vic Theatre in London.
What a spineless excuse for a newspaper. Imagine being so cowed you won't even allow a debate on whether there should be separate toilets for separate sexes. https://t.co/XcqJMqMtK0— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) October 7, 2019
The website issued a statement on Twitter stating it’d taken the articles down after receiving what it described as “strong responses” from readers, adding they’d “only polarised the debate further”.
The first piece applauded The Old Vic for “scrapping single sex loos”, while the second said the way the move had been implemented showed the organisation “doesn’t care about women”.
However, the latter, written by feminist Sarah Ditum, drew much criticism, with several social media users and online commenters claiming the author was “anti-trans” and “transphobic”, claims she strongly denies.
The cowards @TheStage commissioned a @sarahditum piece on why women need toilets in theatres. It ran into the poisonous trans/terf war. But read it and you get a measure @TheStage’s spinelessness when you realise her main point is that women need toilets https://t.co/NAW4NhcAsV— Nick Cohen (@NickCohen4) October 7, 2019
“I support trans people’s rights, dignity and protection from violence. There is nothing in the piece that could in any way be construed as hateful or fearful of trans people, nor in my wider body of work. [The article is] accurate, clear and in no way hateful or bigoted. The Stage pulled it and the companion piece in response to complaints about me, without forewarning me, thereby giving credence to false accusations against me – but more importantly, denying coverage to a fundamental matter of women’s access to public space,” she told Press Gazette.