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Gender-neutral toilets deserve to go

True inclusion would mean creating more women’s facilities than men’s. Credit: Getty

May 7, 2024 - 10:00am

Did you know the toilet in your home is gender-neutral? Following the news that single-sex toilets are to become a legal requirement in all new public premises, there have been plenty of commentators eager to remind us of this fact. Not for the first time, this has been presented as some stunning gotcha, destined to silence any woman dreading the thought of her arse coming into contact with a toilet seat that has been touched by the arse of a man. Chill out, Karen! It’s already happened!

As arguments go, it is not particularly compelling. Mine is a mixed-sex household (believe it or not, some aren’t), but toilet use is limited to the five people who live here, plus any visitors we choose to let in. In this sense, our toilet is far more exclusionary than any single-sex public loo. Do the people who make the “gender-neutral at home” argument offer up their own toilets for use by any passers-by? I suspect not, yet theirs is an argument predicated on ignoring that there is an important distinction between private and public space. Given the history of public toilet provision for women, it is telling, to say the least.

To look at current debates surrounding single-sex spaces, one could be forgiven for thinking that the only reason one would want a female-only public toilet is to make those who are not permitted to use it feel bad — that, and some weird shared-use paranoia. The charity Mermaids — perhaps hoping to make everyone forget about the Cass Reviewhas been quick to bemoan the idea of individuals not being “made to feel welcome” when paying a call. The single-sex toilet is, in the eyes of some, a reactionary, conservative concept. Yet sex-specific toilet provision has been central to women’s inclusion in public life. It is those who seek to eradicate it who are trying to turn back time.

Victorian campaigners against the so-called “loo leash” were conscious that the absence of public toilet provision for women tied them to the home, regardless of who did or didn’t get to use the chamber pot while in there. More recent campaigners such as Rose George and Caroline Criado-Perez have pointed out that it is not enough to provide the same number of toilets for women as for men; women use toilets differently and require more time, meaning a fairer ratio of women’s to men’s toilets would be 2:1.

Female-only toilets are essential for women’s privacy and safety, given men’s greater propensity for flashing, voyeurism and sexual assault. To view all this as “excluding” is to see it purely from a male perspective. Female toilet provision is about granting female people equal access to public space, space from which we — not male people — have long been excluded due to men’s violence and their creation of resources which centre their bodily needs. We are nowhere close to having this equality yet.

As most women will know, even public spaces which have both male and female toilets tend to have far longer queues for the ladies’. To witness the latter opening up to male users in the name of inclusion has been galling (more often than not, the men’s remains the men’s — and even if it doesn’t, one cannot identify into being able to use a urinal). True inclusion would mean creating more women’s facilities than men’s. In the meantime, if we cannot have that, ensuring that sex-specific toilets for women are in all new builds is a start.

Because Kemi Badenoch has taken a stand on this issue, it will of course be argued that what is, in practical terms, a requirement which supports female participation in life beyond the home is actually a “Tory culture war”. I will hear none of it. To those who say “your toilet at home is gender-neutral”, I would politely point out that women are allowed to have an existence beyond it.


Victoria Smith is a writer and creator of the Glosswitch newsletter.

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Charlotte Revely
Charlotte Revely
13 days ago

A quick google search on ‘hidden camera toilet porn’ throws up 107million results – that alone is reason for single sex toilet provision because I’d bet the house that the majority of victims are women and the majority of perpetrators and viewers are men. Women only toilets won’t guarantee this never happens but would at least limit the opportunities.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
12 days ago

Extraordinary.

I think there’s a need to defend boys and men from many of the accusations levelled against them and then we hear of these awful things that (some) men do.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
8 days ago

I’m a man and I would never, ever contemplate sharing a toilet facility with a women because a) it would make them feel uncomfortable and b) I would not want to be open to an accusation of inappropriate behaviour.
The vast majority of boys and men would never sexually assault or rape women; I include myself, by the way. Unfortunately we need to protect women from the tiny minority of predatory men who do. I’m more than happy to do that and I’m getting sick and tired of people trivialising this issue. Let women speak for themselves instead of men speaking for them.

El Uro
El Uro
12 days ago

Everything you wrote is wonderful, but why does this mentally ill lady write «we – not male people» instead of writing “we – women”?
This phrase makes me sick, as does the entire article, saturated with the spirit of endless resentment.
PS. Take a look at the photo. «Every fascists doorstep is a gender neutral toilet». Hysteria in its best

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago

You’ll have the boys in blue round at your house shortly.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 days ago

I have no idea what “hidden camera toilet porn” is but clearly from the number of results you say there are that is across the whole world and probably doesnt take into account cultural backgrounds and I suspect the number of perpetrators which I guess is much smaller. After all, I assume you are also now amongst the number of searches!
In my experience most gender neutral toilet spaces are individual enclosed rooms (rather than cubicles) acting as toilets complete with a mirror and wash basin. I see no problem with this arrangement whatsoever. One comes across this arrangement in everything from small cafes to 7 storey office blocks.

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
13 days ago

Single sex facilities are not about “infantilisation”, but about dignity. The dignity and privacy of one’s sex, which is often more of a pressing issue for women and girl. From an early age girls are subject to often unwanted and voyeuristic gazes and other types of fetishistic behaviour. Female only spaces in certain types of situation provide respite from this. Toilets are predicated on biological sex for the reason that certain bodily functions have a sex based dimension. And having such provisions permits women the ability to engage and function in public situations and spaces with a measure of dignity.
No woman feels ” safer” in a mixed sex changing room or toilet facility. It is not that all men are voyeurs, fetishists or rapists, but it is overwhelmingly males that are. This simple, and largely effective measure, provides a level of safeguarding and protection against that.
Women’s rights and protections differ from basic Human Rights and protections because they are rights and protectons predicated on sex and the conditions of that sex. Trying to pretend there are no general sex based differences is wilfully naive.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
12 days ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

It seems to me that trans identifying men are even more dangerous to girls. There are a lot of cases where they enter women’s restrooms to film and stare at girls above the stalls while the girls urinate. Some girls have been assaulted. Basically, the danger is that pediphiles hunt for children.

Daniel P
Daniel P
12 days ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

Best be careful. You might get canceled or even arrested for hate speech.

In case you have not heard, our “experts” in the field, largely from the gender studies departments and universities, have made clear that there is no such thing as male and female, everything is fluid, biological sex is not important, gender identity is what matters and biological sex can be changed.

Now I raised flags about this years ago. But apparently I am a narrow minded, bigoted person who is also ignorant about sex and gender, I am toxic-ally masculine, and I lack compassion.

I am SO SO grateful that my daughter graduated from school and HS sports before all this insanity started cuz I would have knocked the crap out of any boy that tried to go in the locker room while she was showering and the cops be damned.

I’m no more thrilled at some woman dressed like a guy coming into the men’s room than you are with freaky men going in your space.

I can deal with a butch lesbian. Have a very good friend who is a butch lesbian who also happens to agree with me about a lot of this stuff. But she uses the women’s room and uses the women’s locker room when we go golfing.

In FACT I would REALLY like to have men only spaces again where we can just relax and be ourselves without the inevitable questioning looks, judgemental looks and snide remarks made by women about our conversations and interests. Shit, I would like to be able to tell a dirty joke without having to think about some woman overhearing and losing her shit.

You all raised these freaky little tyrants, you fed them all this crap about men and women being the same, that the only differences were social. Well, that has come home to roost. They took that idea and ran with it. Now you all gotta deal with the consequences.

Call us if one of the freaky guys tries to hit or rape you, but other than that we are not getting involved cuz the little tyrants will make us miserable for trying.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
12 days ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

There is no reason why inclusion can’t be an instrument of spite. Not content with providing one facility the Arnolfini in Bristol must inform you of the position the establishment takes on the single toilet on the toilet door. Rather than an apology you get the sense you are somehow wanting if you disagree. Now men must take the same position on the toilet as women, regardless of what each might think. Although spitefully taking away something from both sexes we are require to read this mutual exclusion as morally just, equitable and inclusive.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
12 days ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

That reference to “unwanted and voyeuristic gazes and other types of fetishistic behaviour” is misleading rubbish because of a couple of reasons.

Firstly, that’s NOT the primary or only reason for having single sex spaces (or spaces with mostly one sex).
The main reason is simply because you want to spend some time with others of your sex in a low pressure environment, have interests primarily shared by your sex or merely feel uncomfortable, even in the absence of bad behaviour (changing rooms).

The problem is that women savagely attacked male spaces, while seeking to keep their own.
That’s the reason for bringing up “fetishistic behaviour” – to justify the existence of female spaces while you shut down male ones.

Issue is, once you use emotion based bullying and tactics to forcibly close down men’s clubs and boy scouts, demonise activities like gaming or sports just because women mostly don’t participate, or normalise female reporters entering male changing rooms at sports, to take a few instances –
You have basically doomed your own spaces, no matter how much you try, because others will use your own bullying tactics against you, and you have already tarnished the concept of sake sex spaces.

The second issue is even bigger.
It’s not about the small proportion of “bad” people who might harass my daughter, whether male or not.
It’s about the decision makers in society, those on power.

These men displaying “voyeuristic gazes” or “fetishistic behaviour” were around before.
But men held the reins of power, and these vermin dared not attempt to target female spaces, or they would face the consequences – physical, legal, societal.

Now women hold power. They control the media, education, bureaucracy, government.
And they don’t care.
And again, you harp on those few men who behave badly to cover up the behaviour of those many women in power who support these few horrible men or look the other way.

David Morley
David Morley
13 days ago

… public space, space from which we — not male people — have long been excluded due to men’s violence and their creation of resources which centre their bodily needs.

Eh? When and where is this? Can anybody explain what this actually means?

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
13 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

What does it mean? It means “men are bad.” It means that workmen who build women’s toilets are acting against the interests of men. It means that this particular sentence tipped over the edge into absurdity, damaging an argument with which I largely agree.

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Thanks for that.

I sometimes think that some of the women weighing in on this issue are so venemous that they can’t help sinking their sting into men who would otherwise agree with them.

Interested Inlearning
Interested Inlearning
10 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

I think you’ve read it very personally. I did not read that to mean ‘all men’ at all- but the fact remains that the perpetrators of violence are more likely to be male, and women are raised to be aware of this and act accordingly. And secondly that when designers are creating spaces they make it for a generic human who is male. Caroline Criado Perez’ book ‘invisible women’ covers this in a neutral way.

I don’t think there’s a venomous lashing out here – more of a statement that, eg women do take longer in toilets (they have to sit down to urinate, which takes longer, menstruation, miscarriage, more likely to have small children with them etc) and therefore should really be allocated toileting space accordingly.

Where is the venom in that? It makes sense.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
13 days ago

Who can blame the ladies? Public toilets are a pain in the arse especially if there is pee on the lid.

Eda Meadows
Eda Meadows
12 days ago

It’s interesting it’s mostly women stating we need single sex spaces but men are mostly stating this is a non issue.

This impacts women. You wouldn’t let your neighbour give away your house but you want us to believe it’s fine for men to give away women’s rights.

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago
Reply to  Eda Meadows

I don’t think it’s representative though. In polls it’s men who see this as an issue more than women. Unherd commenters aren’t typical.

Daniel P
Daniel P
12 days ago
Reply to  Eda Meadows

Eda,

I do not know one single man in my circle that thinks any of this is cool.

But the fact is that the majority of those out pushing for this stuff in order to be “compassionate” and understanding and sensitive to the feelings of some mentally ill men in cosplay, are YOUNG WOMEN.

Most guys I know would readily punch some guy in a dress that wanted to go into a women’s room or throw them out on their ass for trying to go in a locker room with our daughters or wives.

But apparently, we are being narrow minded and bigoted and engaging in toxic masculinity for engaging in such things. Not to mention, how long have you all been telling us that you are capable of dealing with these things yourselves and do not need us to involve ourselves. WTF….There is no winning in this circumstance so you all deal with it.

John Riordan
John Riordan
12 days ago
Reply to  Eda Meadows

“It’s interesting it’s mostly women stating we need single sex spaces but men are mostly stating this is a non issue.”

What nonsense. Men almost never agree with this nonsense. The attack on women-only spaces is a progressive creed, not a chauvinist attitude. No wonder women can’t seem to solve this problem if you’re blaming the wrong people for it.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
12 days ago

No mirrors and only cold water taps greatly improve the speed of toilet use by ladies. I worked in a call centre and the restrooms were in black and white tiles, hideous ligthning, only cold water and no mirrors. One did his business (m/f) and went back to work. I am deeply suspicious of men who want to visit the ladies’ restrooms. It is either a prank or a perversion, but it unsettles women. Give the ladies their own space and time, albeit a shortened time for logistical reasons.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
5 days ago

If it is gender neutral restrooms, it is as much women going to men’s restrooms as men going to women’s.

Heidi M
Heidi M
12 days ago

We have a gender neutral toilet at my work place (single floor, mostly men with a few women). We also have a separate accessible toilet. Without ever really being a discussion, it is under some quiet agreement that the women use the accessible toilet while the men have the gender neutral one. This is in quite a progressive city/workplace, so to speak.

On another note, I think a lot of women pushing this just don’t realise how absolutely filthy (explosive?) some men are at bathroom behaviour. Having spent some time cleaning both bathrooms at a small gym, I can safely say I never wish to share a public toilet with men. Certainly the women’s can get quite gross, but it is not even comparable.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
12 days ago

I’ve been reading the articles at Unherd, and the comments such as on this article where some men are saying the whole problem is actually women. I have been giving this some thought, and perhaps all this – the articles and comments on Unherd, the transgender activists, the protests on university campuses, and so on- rather than being polar opposite are rather the same thing. What would happen if instead of raging and saying “you’re the problem”, we just didn’t say anything at all? I can see why this could be difficult because bad behaviour unchecked can get out of control, but clearly yelling at each other isn’t doing much good either. Something else needs to be tried. Einstein’s definition of insanity rings true in the constant back and forth. Unless the other side is listening, there is no point speaking. If you know someone is listening, then speaking gently is far more effective. Anyway, those are just my thoughts for the day.

David Morley
David Morley
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Perhaps the two sides in this argument, as in so many others, actually need each other. It’s a symbiotic relationship. It gives their lives meaning and helps them feel relevant. Who would they hate otherwise? In terms of the older feminists the answer is an easy one, of course. Men.

ian Jeffcott
ian Jeffcott
12 days ago

The need to ensure female safety, privacy and dignity in public lavatories is not a hard concept to grasp other than if you really don’t want to.
A photo did the rounds a couple of years ago of a clearly inebriated young woman using a disgusting (I know, I have been there) urinal at Aintree races, presumably to avoid a long queue. Not wise nor terribly dignified and in many circumstances not safe. Nor should it be necessary.

A D Kent
A D Kent
13 days ago

Even if the safety issues mentioned in the piece and some comments were not an issue (and they most definitely are), these new rules would be bone-headed on sanitary grounds alone.

Just one minor factor in this is that one of the main reasons men take less time than women in the Gents is because women aren’t there – all the requisite shakings, tuckings, zippings, adjustments and re-alignments inherent in the procedure take so much longer when women are present as they have to be completed before one vacates the porcelain. Or perhaps that’s just me.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
13 days ago

The charity Mermaids — perhaps hoping to make everyone forget about the Cass Review
You mean the one where Cass has herself repudiated what your sort claim it says?
https://thekitetrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Cass-Review-Mythbusting-Q-and-A.pdf

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
13 days ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Still mithering about the Cass Review which hasn’t been repudiated? Give it a rest Talia.’Sigh’

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It has been so repudiated and you have no evidence to the contrary — and you don’t dare make it up.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
10 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I still haven’t seen you cite where Cass claims The Kite Trust made up anything about their interview with her.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
13 days ago

It’s hard to take a society seriously when toilet usage is treated as a first-world problem. Makes you wonder how people managed to handle public washrooms before the great mandate of pretending that men in dresses are actual women.

Daniel P
Daniel P
13 days ago

Oh for the love of God.

This is not some male power grab.

You got a whole LOT of crazy young women, mostly White, that are pushing this crap on all of us.

I no more want to stand at a urinal while some group of women walk in than you want some guy lingering while you pee.

Apart from some emotionally disturbed men who think they are women, the bulk of this craziness is coming from other women. Just look at the front lines of all the trans rallies and protests. A bunch of freaky looking guys and a WHOLE LOT of young women. The rest are academics.

In case you missed it, men are skewing increasingly more conservative on this stuff and women increasingly more left wing on this stuff.

Take it up with your peers.

Heather Nelson
Heather Nelson
12 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

How about taking it up with your male peers, particularly with the deluded ones that think they can be a woman. Make space for them in your toilets and leave the female toilets just for women and girls.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
12 days ago
Reply to  Heather Nelson

I don’t know any man in my small circle of acquaintances who actually believes they are a woman. The number of so-called ‘transgender’ people is so minuscule, it’s unclear to me why there is so much legal and governmental hoo-hah surrounding they bathroom arrangements. In defense of Daniel P’s comment, it has been women who have strongly pushed for ‘gender-neutral’ toilets. I have no idea why.
https://www.hrc.org/resources/5-things-to-know-to-make-your-feminism-trans-inclusive

Daniel P
Daniel P
12 days ago
Reply to  Heather Nelson

Funny you say that.

I made the mistake of doing precisely that while I was out with my fiance and her daughters. I confronted a guy that was dressed like a woman that was going into the women’s rest room at a restaurant.

The ass chewing I got from my fiance’s daughters was pretty extensive. Apparently I am being insensitive and embarrassing. Apparently I am old and old fashioned and narrow minded and lack compassion and they are both fine with him going in there.

Not doing that again.

Don’t even get me started about how they went off on me when I said it was not fair competition to allow biological men to play women’s sports and that beyond being unfair it was also risky. I say that as I sit here in my XX / XY Athletics t-shirt.

There is NOTHING that us old, straight, white guys can do because the people who attack us for standing up are the very people we are trying to protect.

You all do not freaky men in women’s spaces, YOU confront them. If they throw a punch at you call us. You all raised these little female, fanatical tyrants. YOU are supposed to be their examples and mentors, not us. But I, like probably most of the guys I know, are NOT gonna stand up only to be called all kinds of nasty names and screamed at by the very people we are trying to help and support.

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The great pretence here on Unherd is that all women have one position on this. They don’t. It’s not women v trans. The split is mainly generational. Most younger women seem entirely unbothered by trans women in the ladies loos.

Daniel P
Daniel P
12 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Yep. But I am not so sure that is true.

I think a lot of them go along due to social pressure from their female peers who are all in on the gender fluidity, queer is cool, bi is special, bus. I also think they fear being canceled or shunned for not conforming to the new standards.

Part of the problem is that they have linked feminist goals to trans goals.

I’ll tell ya though. I have good friend, about 55, very very gay, who is also kinda fed up with this. Had drinks with him about 5 weeks ago and he was telling me that a lot of the older LGBT community really wish these fruitcakes would go away and stop trying to slip in under the LGBT banner. He was a gay rights activist in the 90’s and is married to a guy he has known for 20 yrs. He joked that if they add “F” for furries he is trashing his flag. LOL

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

But the whole gay rights thing was also largely a generational divide at the time. It also seemed cool, especially amongst students. And I’m sure adults all thought their little darlings had been brainwashed, and it was all a cult. Indeed Mary Whitehouse pushed exactly that line – that kids were being brainwashed into thinking they were gay when it was just a phase!

Nancy G
Nancy G
8 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Many good points being made here. The pro- trans folks (who want to be seen to be ‘on the right side of history’) do tend to be younger but are not exclusively so. Yes, for a young person, being queer is cool. Check back in five years to see if ‘they’ are still performing as non-binary, gender fluid or whatever.
The so-called LGBT ‘community’ is in fact many communities, some of which have little to do with each other. Some LGBs are pro-trans and some are not. The LGB Alliance was created in 2019 (and has been under attack by Stonewall and Mermaids ever since) to give a space and a voice to LGBs who have not been captured by gender ideology. THE LGBA surveyed its members and found that the majority reject the term ‘queer’ and do not wish to be linked to the Ts. Many lesbians reject the concept that ‘transwomen are women’ and are repelled by the claim that trans-identified males can be lesbians.

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
12 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thank you. Yes. I am having the same issues with my daughters – whom l love – but boy oh boy is there a generational divide at the moment. I have made a few comments similar to what Daniel quoted above and am getting similar pushback. It is creating a big divide. I highlighted this the other day with them.
Unbelievably, l have a history that should have, in my view, lent them a slightly different bent on things. But no. I was quite leftist myself once but have since become more conservative. It despairs me actually.
I also wish we could delineate bad behaviour. I love men actually but also know and wish that we could highlight the predatory behaviour of some men, trans women ( heaven forbid you say anything against them – and they dress in a highly sexualising way! – red flag).
I would not want a young granddaughter going into a public female toilet with transport men alone. So do we need to chaperone all girls until what age? Reduced autonomy and safety.

0 0
0 0
11 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Don’t use their language. TRANSWOMEN ARE MEN

Charlotte Revely
Charlotte Revely
12 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The kids have been brainwashed and they’ve also seen what happens to those who defy the cult. They live in terror of being seen to commit wrongthink.

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago

Brainwashed by whom? Whether at home or in school young people have been mainly raised and educated by women.

John Riordan
John Riordan
12 days ago
Reply to  Heather Nelson

Most men have no male peers who think they’re women. Ideas like that do not get taken seriously or treated with any respect amongst the vast majority of men. Certainly, no man in a dress arguing that he should use the ladies instead of the gents would get any support whatsoever from the vast majority of men.

Your implication that this is some sort of male conspiracy is quite demented. It has nothing whatsoever to do with men and never has.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 days ago
Reply to  Heather Nelson

This is such an infuriating example of female lack of accountability.
I think you will find the “male peers” put in place these female spaces and toilets, laid down laws to safeguard them, polices them.

It’s your “peers” in the female dominated media, academia, government service ces that paved the way for these idiots to pretend they are women.

If I see one of these males trying to enter my daughter’s toilet and physically prevented him, it’s your “peers” who will ensure that I am vilified, arrested and lose my job.

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Accurate, but you’ll get a lot of downvotes for it.

It’s also notable that trans activists see their movement as part and parcel of the feminist movement. I’m going from memory here, but their chant goes something like: “trans rights, women’s rights, same struggle, same fight”. These are not anti feminist or anti woman activists – they are feminists. The difference is generational.

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
12 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Being a feminist doesn’t even hold true in one unified sense any more. That too is split into many and separated it seems on generation as well as theory.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
12 days ago

I don’t even share my bathroom with my husband.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
12 days ago

That seems weird. Do you have different personal bathrooms?

Daniel P
Daniel P
12 days ago

Did you take over the closet too?

Just asking. It seems to be a common theme.

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago

Did he ask you not to?

John Riordan
John Riordan
12 days ago

Correct conclusion marred by the silly feminist instinct for making everything the fault of the nearest man.

This mess isn’t men’s fault. The specious arguments typically put forward in defence of unisex toilets are progressive, not chauvinist, and it is this persistent kind of misconception that makes this stupid argument so much more difficult that it needs to be.

On a purely personal note, speaking as a man, I have no more desire to share loos with women than women do with men, and every man I’ve mentioned this to agrees.

David Morley
David Morley
12 days ago

I must say, all this toilet panic is very British. In France it’s quite normal to be using a urinal and have a woman walk past you with her kids and shopping bags to get to a cubicle.

Most remarkably in a French cafe I once saw a woman leaning on the low screen that separated the bar from the urinals, engaged in conversation with the guy urinating.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
12 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

The French are animals. Cheese-eating surrender monkeys to be specific.

John Riordan
John Riordan
12 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Personally I think the French get a lot more right about the way to live their lives on a daily basis than we do in Britain. My main problem with the French is their political class, who seem to be even bigger arseholes than the aristocrats that got themselves beheaded in 1789.

Janet G
Janet G
12 days ago

Response to Daniel P. who wrote ‘there is no such thing as male and female, everything is fluid, biological sex is not important, gender identity is what matters and biological sex can be changed.’
This belief system is enshrined in Australian law. In the recent Tickle vs Giggle case in the Australian Federal court, the Human Rights Commissioner argued so. A quote from the Commission’s submission to the court:
‘In summary, the Commissioner submits that the word “sex” is not a biological concept referring to whether a person at birth had male or female physical traits. Nor is it a binary concept, limited to the “male” or “female” sex. The word “sex” takes its ordinary meaning, which is informed by how that term is used throughout Australia including in State and Territory legislation (discussed further below). “Sex” can refer to a person being male, female, or another non-binary status. It is also broad enough to encompass the idea that a person’s “sex” can be changed.’

Janet G
Janet G
12 days ago

About fifty years ago they made a toilet at our city university ‘unisex’. I entered it once and was disgusted at the state of it. It smelled dreadful. Like most others I never used it again.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
11 days ago

This men’s rights movement is no better and actually far worse than the guys who went crazy 15-20 years ago about unfair custody outcomes in the family courts. It’s worse because it’s so sinister. It speaks of the radically transgressive Queer political programmes of the 1980s as well as the Californian transhumanism.

Alan Moran
Alan Moran
9 days ago

Men, too, prefer single-sex lavatories. There are never queues in men’s loos, and men simply go in, do what they need to, and leave. Gender-free facilities are a recipe for gridlock.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
8 days ago

I want my ladies rooms back. NOW.

Lynette McDougall
Lynette McDougall
7 days ago

I went to the Equestrian 3DE at Sydney Olympic Games. On the cross country course there were two toilet blocks, one for men and one for women. The queue for the women’s was long. While standing in the queue there was an uninterrupted view of the backs of the men standing at the urinals in the men’s block. There were two doors into each block and I noticed that some women were going in the far door of the men’s block where the cubicles were located, thus avoiding the long queue for the women’s. Would I have done the same? 24 years ago no, but now, if I was desperate and at risk of wetting myself in the queue? Yes. There was also a long row of portaloos located elsewhere on the course which naturally were unisex. I have no problem using a toilet which might also (shock, horror) have been used by a man.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 days ago

It is quite simply not the case in the modern age that women alone are subject to unwanted lude and fetishistic behaviour. I worked, believed it or not, in a local authority social services team. Over a period of two years I had my bottom pinched on three occasions by a female senior social worker in the most lascivious of ways, and countless times by another female member of staff in a somewhat less problematic way. I became aware that this was not simply something which happened in my particular team when I attended a training course where a lady from another team raised the issue of similar advances in other teams by women on men and also the stark contrast in how they were dealt with by managers. As she said a man who behaved in this way in an office would probably be sacked, whereas in the case of a female on male incident it usually ended up with a slap on the wrist.

Point of Information
Point of Information
13 days ago

Objecting to men in “women’s spaces” infantilises women and ushers in authoritarianism and surveillance.

Toilets have not historically had a chromasome test on the door – anyone can use either toilet in an emergency, and, in the worst case, rapists have always been able to get in – they don’t need to be trans or have a gender recognition certificate to do so.

Changing rooms at all the council-run leisure centres/swimming pools/gyms that I’ve used in the past decade are mixed sex and feel safer because of it (I live in a less wealthy area and no man would want the men round here to suspect him of being a sex offender around their kids or girlfriends – although a sex offender might feel safer in a mixed sex changing room in Islington…). Before this, rapists could get into single sex changing rooms as with toilets above. Same with hospital wards (and they did).

Because, while the majority of sex crimes are committed by men, the majority of men don’t commit them (the men who do commit sex crimes are often repeat offenders) and are in fact fiercely opposed, especially if they perceive their family or friends may be at risk.

The majority of women don’t need safe spaces all the time (and if we did, we’ve not had these in the past, long before the trans debate) – these are needed for women who are at risk of immediate violence, for (if the perpetrator is quickly and appropriately dealt with, as they should be) a short section of their lives. Ordinarily men and women collaborate to discourage and prevent crime.

You can, and I do, disagree with the word salads and circular arguments of extreme transactivism without falling back on the trope that women need constant protection (read surveillance) and different legal rights (read different legal class).

I know I’ll get a lot of downvotes for this post – but would love to know if there are any women readers who have started to feel the same.

A D Kent
A D Kent
13 days ago

This debate isn’t about !safe spaces all the time”, whether “women need constant protection” or should be treated as a “different legal class” – it’s about the facilities available to them as they perform a handful of the functions that allow humans to have a comfortable and productive life.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
13 days ago

There is absolutely no way I would use any changing room that admitted men. I don’t even want to change in front of other women, which is why our bathrooms have stalls instead of rows of exposed toilets. Privacy and dignity for both (and there are only two) sexes doesn’t “infantilize”, it respects.

David Morley
David Morley
11 days ago

There are parts of Britain where women actually go into the cubicle together. So not all women are so squeamish.

Changing rooms with an open area plus cubicles, and showers in cubicles seems a good design in regards to privacy.

A lot of people are just getting over this. At my local leisure centre dads bring their daughters into the men’s changing rooms when swimming. Doesn’t present a problem. At my local wild swimming spot everyone manages to get changed discretely in a shared space. Again no issues.

ANON ANON
ANON ANON
13 days ago

Thanks for this reasoned and reasonable comment. Just popped out for a cup of tea and sandwich in a local cafe. Went to the loo while I was there. There is just one for all the customers to share, with a shared handwashing area, where I waited, outside a single cubicle. The person in the cubicle before me was male – I’m female. We nodded and smiled as we passed each other. No awkwardness, no difficulties, and he managed to resist the urge to flash at me. He even left the seat down, which I thought a courteous touch. The sanitary bin for tampons etc was inside the lockable cubicle, so had I needed it today it could have used it in complete privacy. I don’t need anything else laid on or organised for me because I’m female; I’m not a delicate Victorian lady. Loads of small businesses have had ‘gender neutral’ toilets like this for decades. It’s no problem whatsoever. As you point out, we can object to trans-nonsense – and I do – without losing our own sanity over things we’ve all grown up with forever. Shared toilet facilities really aren’t something either ‘side’ needs to make a big deal about.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
13 days ago
Reply to  ANON ANON

Can someone from Germany validate what a middle-aged female acquaintance told me her husband encountered in a German gym? That women and men use the same bank of showers, with no particular rape or harassment issues?

Does having English as one’s native language foster a creepy personality?

David Morley
David Morley
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I’ve heard the same in Scandinavia.

I think it fosters a suspicious personality, keen to argue from rare, extreme cases to fear of normal people.

A D Kent
A D Kent
13 days ago
Reply to  ANON ANON

What other things that ‘work’ in small businesses do you think should be mandated for all public buildings and is this a reasonable test of efficacy?

Beyond that, your comment raises a couple of issues for this debate.

Firstly you had to wait. Gender neutral lavatories will almost certainly increase this across the board by limiting overall capacity.

Secondly, I’m pleased you didn’t have to put the seat down – and nor should you, but in a gender neutral lavatory that luxury comes at the cost of a gentleman having to lift and lower it.

David Morley
David Morley
11 days ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Firstly you had to wait. Gender neutral lavatories will almost certainly increase this across the board by limiting overall capacity.

You haven’t thought this one through! Clearly it would increase flexibility and reduce waiting times.

David Morley
David Morley
11 days ago
Reply to  ANON ANON

Good post. My experience too. Normal people just get on with it in a normal way.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
8 days ago
Reply to  ANON ANON

He’s not IN the toilet with you, is he. That’s the whole point. Women should NEVER be compelled to share a space with men in changing rooms or toilets.

Interested Inlearning
Interested Inlearning
10 days ago

Strongly disagree. Women are absolutely at higher risk of voyeurism, exhibitionism and bad actors from men in a space where they are freely permitted in. If they aren’t allowed in at all, you will know that one who is in there shouldn’t be and if safe be able to challenge it.

Calling it infantilising is an easy dismissal of a genuine need for safety, privacy and dignity. Maybe you personally don’t care about getting naked in front of unknown men but many, many women do. Single occupancy full door toilets is one thing but changing rooms are another. It’s really easy to dismiss the concerns of other women if you haven’t personally been or felt vulnerable. Women and girls are typically more vulnerable physically to sexual assault due to sex differences. It’s just reality and if we ignore this we move into a scenario that will result in women and girls self excluding from eg gyms, swimming pools etc. I don’t want that to be the society my kids grow up in.

Christopher Edwards
Christopher Edwards
12 days ago

No keep em. Funniest thing I’ve seen on wimmins faces for a long time when asked , how do you like your equality now…..