X Close


by Joan Smith
Thursday, 29
June 2023
Debate
10:55

Girls assaulted in gender-neutral toilets — as predicted

A series of incidents at an Essex school shows the perils of self-ID
by Joan Smith
Parents and schoolgirls have objected to the prevalence of gender-neutral toilets. Credit: Getty

Police are investigating allegations that female pupils were sexually assaulted in “gender-neutral” lavatories at a school in Essex. A teenage boy has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, with three of the four alleged attacks apparently taking place in toilets used by both sexes.

Is anyone surprised? Campaigners for safety in schools have long warned that forcing girls to share toilets with male pupils exposes them to unnecessary risks. Girls want and need privacy, especially when their periods start and they have to use lavatories to change sanitary protection. But anyone who has ever met a teenage boy knows that some of them tease and humiliate girls, and it is absolute folly to allow them into what used to be an all-female space.


Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email

Already registered? Sign in


Conservative MP Miriam Cates made exactly this point in reaction to news about the alleged assaults, which was reported in the Daily Telegraph. “Gender-neutral facilities are a threat to the safety of women and girls because they create a private space hidden from the public view where assaults cannot be witnessed,” she said. 

The news comes as head teachers wait for new guidance from the Government on how to deal with trans-identifying pupils. It is expected to uphold the principle that students should not be allowed to use toilets designated for the opposite sex, but there are fears that it will not recognise “gender-neutral” facilities as a safeguarding risk.

Parents are already reporting that their daughters are trying to get through the school day without using the toilet. Two years ago, a senior police officer claimed that sexual abuse is widespread in schools. I have heard reports of girls in London wearing shorts under their uniform skirts to protect themselves from assaults by male pupils.  

The rapid spread of mixed-sex toilets doesn’t just affect educational establishments. Up and down the country, men and women are discovering that they’re expected to share toilets in theatres, museums and restaurants. None of us have ever been asked whether we want to lose privacy in this way — and, in my experience, men are as uneasy about it as women.

Earlier this year, at my local theatre in Hammersmith, I could only find “gender-neutral” toilets during the interval. I had to walk past five urinals to get to the only cubicle in what was clearly a “repurposed” men’s toilet. I felt very uncomfortable — and so did the man who walked in, caught sight of me and hurried out again. I wrote to the Lyric Theatre, asking who they consulted before imposing this monstrosity on theatregoers. They never replied.

For years, women’s toilets have been a place where we could take refuge, gossip with friends and escape unwanted attention from men in bars. Not any more. Now we are seeing the consequences of militant gender ideology, imposed without consultation or consent.

It’s a “solution” to a problem that doesn’t exist. Organisations which have bowed to the demands of trans activists are ignoring the privacy and preferences of most of the population, even though the number of trans individuals is very small. Their needs could be met by offering a third space, without forcing the rest of the population to share facilities against our will.

Activists have always rejected our concerns, trying to silence opposition with shouts of “transphobia”. Now their claims about “inclusivity” are being exposed for the sham that they are. There is nothing “inclusive” about forcing girls and women to feel unsafe when they need the loo.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
63 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
3 months ago

Is anyone actually picking up on the point that boys (and men) do not want females in their facilities either? Indeed, it is quite remarkable that schools have adopted this dreadful policy, which nobody sane would wish for or wish to have inflicted on their kids. Quite seriously – who advocated for this, what were their reasons and why was it not shot down immediately? How was the idea of unisex toilets meant to improve anything for any schoolchildren? Utterly insane and the work of deranged lunatics.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
3 months ago

Clearly. It is referred to in the article.

David Fülöp
David Fülöp
2 months ago

The government and the majority are not in control.
The media are.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  David Fülöp

That is a cop out. The government make the rules.

William Shaw
William Shaw
2 months ago

“who advocated for this”
Surprisingly it has been mostly university age progressive left-wing women and a few of their male supporters.

Last edited 2 months ago by William Shaw
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
2 months ago

I was watching Michelle Dewbury’s show on GB News earlier today when they were discussing this very issue. Apparently GB News have gender neutral toilets, due to space issues – Michelle said she hates it. Ben Habib, who was one of her guests, says he hates it as well. Men and women need separate facilities for privacy – there is already a gender neutral toilet in most places, the disabled/baby changing toilet.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nikki Hayes
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Sometimes small shops and other places only have one loo which is just a loo for anyone. I don’t see a problem with that. But in schools and theaters etc. there shouldn’t be any excuses. The thing is political and from our government. With the will the government could sort this but they don’t as with lots of other things like illegal immigration etc. One has to conclude that they do not have the will to sort it and vote accordingly. That is the only thing they are going to understand.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 months ago

The ideology benefits opportunists of all kinds. In Australia “Victoria police investigate allegations officers are describing themselves as gender neutral to claim higher pay”. © skynews.com.au

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

You mean you can get higher pay by declaring gender neutral? Looks like it is coming from the top down almost like they want to destroy society and then conquer it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tony Conrad
Andrew D
Andrew D
3 months ago

In other news, experts have discovered that the new policy of allowing foxes into hen coops is not after all in the hens’ best interests.

Dulle Griet
Dulle Griet
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Because who cares what hens think – they’re just bigots.

Keppel Cassidy
Keppel Cassidy
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Clearly a case of vulpophobia! The hens need to be counselled immediately so they learn to be less fox-exclusionary.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Keppel Cassidy

You are not allowed to exclude anyone but for protection it is highly valid. What happened to freedom in relationships. It is almost legislating that you have to like someone which is false validity.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

A silly idea as with the toilet politicals.

Nancy G
Nancy G
3 months ago

The number of trans individuals may be very small but anyone can ‘self-ID’ as trans (including transvestites), and the number of people (the majority of them being very intact males) doing that seems to be rather large, and growing. The god of ‘inclusivity’ has opened the door for the abuse of women and girls, who are expected, as usual, to accommodate male desires, fantasies and fetishists.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Nancy G

I read that from girl to boy is a far higher percentage. It depends what you read I suppose. Even the truth is far harder to get hold of these days when so many are trying hard to hide it.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
3 months ago

The denial of reality by authorities and institutions is utterly insane. This bizarre fetish cult should have been told to crawl back into its fringe little underworld long ago. Transphobia is not a thing; no one is irrationally afraid of these freaks. Disgusted, yes, and more so with the systems indulging them.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago

All quite true but where do we go from here? Get rid of the useless MP’s no matter what party they represent. Polictics has changed. It is time to outvote the rubbish ones and not just vote for your party.

Stan Konwiser
Stan Konwiser
3 months ago

The minuscule trans community has high jacked the entire LGB movement which has achieved acceptance. Break up the acronym. Once the toxic TQ+ fringe need to stand on their own, they will be sidelined by the mainstream.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago
Reply to  Stan Konwiser

I could not agree more, and I genuinely can’t understand why it’s still acceptable. The Lesbian and Gay Alliance was set up to do exactly that. Mermaids took them to court for transphobia and lost – but the press, media, PR, HR, marketing etc etc, are still all incapable of dropping the qwerty acronym. It’s almost as though they’re scared of working out exactly who their audience is.

Last edited 2 months ago by Coralie Palmer
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

The press are subsidised by Gates, Soros etc. if they are willing to tow the globalist lie. Most of them appear to have signed up for it with the exception of a few newspapers.The same with television. These people have trillions to throw around.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Stan Konwiser

I don’t accept them but it doesn’t mean I hate them as people. I hate what they stand for and what they are doing to our country and marriages.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
3 months ago

What the author doesn’t grapple with is that it is progressive women who have been pushing this policy. Even the most lefty men that I know are uncomfortable about the issue but it does always seem to be the “kind”, “compassionate” types who are pushing this on the majority (male and female).

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
3 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

It’s a special kind of blindness. Women, or at least feminists pushed to force male spaces (like drinking clubs, and even the Cubs) to allow in Females. They created that and now the transgender lobby uses that precedent to enter Female spaces. Yet this outcome is some kind of surprise to them. If it were not for the children involved it would be comedy gold.

Jo Collins
Jo Collins
3 months ago

And then there’s the special kind of misogynistic blindness that blames women, and pretends to see no difference between the safety and dignity of women and girls, and men wanting to keep their drinking clubs. Also, there is no aspect to this that is “comedy gold”.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  Jo Collins

I think John’s point is valid and should be debated. Calling him a misogynist is no different from trans ideologues calling those who question their beliefs transphobes.

Last edited 2 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago

I think not. There is a yawning chasm between women wanting access to male clubs which have always been sources of substantial public influence and power, and men wanting access to women’s lavatories, rape refuges, hospital wards and prisons.
Feminists like myself, who’ve been there since the beginning, have long ceased to have a problem with male-only clubs. The clubs that mattered – the ones that were for so long a serious source of public power – have changed and for the better. Plenty of room left for both men and women’s clubs.
Men need and like to get together by themselves just as women do. It’s natural and necessary. It is neither when men want to invade women’s privacy in places where women are uniquely physically vulnerable, on the basis that the men concerned are women.
Describing someone as ‘misogynist’ who cannot or will not distinguish the difference, seems to me entirely accurate.

Last edited 2 months ago by Coralie Palmer
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

I think you confuse opinion and fact. It is your opinion some male only clubs have improved by becoming mixed sex. What is your objective measure? What constitutes better. Name calling is not engaging in dialogue, it is am attempt to shut down discussion. I think an open and honest discussion about private clubs being a source of power regardless of membership that should be initiated.

Last edited 2 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago

No confusion at all. I’m stating my opinion about mens’ clubs and that the above poster’s use of ‘misogynist’ was simply accurate. And no-one here is ‘attempting to shut down the discussion’, which is why you’re able to carry on having your opinion. Which differs from mine. Got the idea?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Ok but can you back up your opinion. What is your measure of better?

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
2 months ago
Reply to  Jo Collins

By resorting to the use of labels like ‘misogynist blindness’ you are revealing yourself as a bigot whose assertions cannot be taken seriously.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago

We still have to fight it for the children’s sake. They have very little moral compass these days.

William Shaw
William Shaw
3 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Women demand female spaces but continually try to invade male spaces… boys schools, men’s clubs, male events and societies, etc.
They appear oblivious to their double standards and hypocrisy.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

And when have women ever tried to ‘invade’ male lavatories or changing rooms, or hospital wards, or prisons? Spot the difference between those and ‘clubs, events, societies’ and it’s clear there is no double standard at all.

William Shaw
William Shaw
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

You think the wants and needs of females are more important than the wants and needs of males.
The double standard in so deeply ingrained you are blind to your own faults.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Do point to the words where I have said that.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

That was odd. I upvotes you and it immediately went to -2.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago

It’s because three people downvoted him at the same time. That’s how it works.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

I actually think funny things go on from time to time.

Last edited 2 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

I think his point is valid and should be properly debated.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
3 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Are those ‘progressive women’ real women or men pretending to be women?

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

My experience has been that women who are ‘progressive’ on trans tend to be young, inexperienced and middle class; or academics locked into the career-pushing ideology of so-called ‘fourthwave feminism’ that has sweet fa to do with women or feminism. Trailing in their wake is a minority of well-bred liberals in the usual crisis of niceness, who have a bizarrely disproportionate amount of influence in and over our NGOs and public institutions.
Trans extremists have made seven kinds of hay with this grisly combination of ignorance, arrogance and spinelessness. There are plenty of women who still know what feminism actually is and plenty more who know what a woman actually is. They’re only now just beginning to be heard, not least because of the cost of speaking out has been made so terrifying.
Both public and private sectors are still way behind the actual public in recognising that extreme trans ideology is a hopelessly warped denial of reality. But reality will out. Bit like the sewage pollution of our rivers really.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Feminists are not innocent of the ‘crime’ of denying reality.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago

Depends what you mean by ‘feminist’. You may consider that only academics can define it. I absolutely don’t – quite the reverse in fact. It means the same to me as it always has: that women should be no more or less respected as women, than men are as men. Watching what feminist academia has built all over this (right from the off -cf Judith Butler et al) leaves me with my head in my hands.
It’s the entirely academia-driven ‘fourth-wave’ feminism that has been responsible for conceptual stupidities such as ‘toxic masculinity’, which makes me furious. The idea that simply being born male makes you a poisonous creature – what a great notion to land boys with. And this fatuous drivel spread like a virus. But that’s academia for you – not feminism.

William Shaw
William Shaw
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

You’re simply abdicating responsibility for some aspects of feminism while applauding and enjoying the benefits of the aspects you like. Intellectually disingenuous reasoning doesn’t impress anyone.

Last edited 2 months ago by William Shaw
William Shaw
William Shaw
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The infestation of misandrists on this site can downvote me all they want.
It does obviate the truth.

William Shaw
William Shaw
2 months ago

Accepting responsibility for one’s own actions is kryptonite to women.
They demand agency while at the same time disavowing personal responsibility.

Last edited 2 months ago by William Shaw
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I am a woman and believe in taking responsibility for my actions. I have never been a feminist for various different reasons: the idea promulgated in the eighties, only lesbians were proper feminists, the hypocrisy and smash and grab attitudes. I agree with Jordan Peterson any demands for proportional representation at the top (a seat on the board) should be balanced by demands for proportional representation at the bottom (a prison cell)

Last edited 2 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Grace Note
Grace Note
2 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

I’m so tired of hearing this. We really haven’t been pushing it en masse. Sure, some progressive women have played along with the policy, some almost certainly think it’s a good thing and nothing bad will happen and if it does it will be very rare and not worth talking about. I don’t know one woman on the left who thinks this is all fine and dandy and I’ve been a left-wing feminist my whole adult life. Yes, I know I can’t talk for every left-wing woman, but neither can you. Please, stop putting this on us. This is on TRAs and the institutions that they’ve taken over. This is not on women.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Misguided compassion I suppose. Empathetic hearts but no wisdom or truth.

Dulle Griet
Dulle Griet
2 months ago

Excellent article. Wish I’d had it when the principal of my college shut down potential opposition to gender-neutral loos with the lie that they reduce the risk of sexual assault. This was eight years ago, and staff (including me) were woefully unaware of transactivism and wokeism in general. I did raise the issue that there was a female student who’d been raped, and who might find the presence of males in the toilets retraumatising. I was told she could ‘just use the disabled loo instead.’ I retired soon after, but it still makes me angry looking back.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago
Reply to  Dulle Griet

Jesus. That’s horrific. No wonder it still makes you angry. Me too.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

Ideology ahead of common sense – forever and always leads to disastrous outcomes.

I live in a small town in rural Alberta. The LBGTQ club at the local high school just painted a pride flag on zMain Street in town. We all know what will happen next – within a month there will be tire skid marks scorched all over the thing. This will be followed by predictable outrage from the kids and their adult supporters.

I don’t have a problem with kids painting the flag. They’re young and they have every right to express themselves. But so does the 20 year old in a pick up truck, who lays black rubber on the painting.

It’s all so predictable and performative. The street painting has no real life consequences. The bathroom incident has real-life consequences. And it’s the children who pay the price once again.

Michel Starenky
Michel Starenky
3 months ago

I wonder if the staff share gender neutral toilets?

polidori redux
polidori redux
3 months ago

I’m sure that Joan will continue to vote for the political parties that permits such abuse. Some people never learn.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
2 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

They all ‘permit such abuse’. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Tories have been in power for the last 13 years. The embedding of trans extremist ideology into our public institutions has happened entirely on their watch. And they are still refusing to do any more than faff about with a bit of ‘guidance’ which everyone concerned will feel free to ignore. The other parties are just as bad or worse. God knows how we get out of this mess.

Last edited 2 months ago by Coralie Palmer
Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
2 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

You are absolutely correct to point out and emphasise that the ghastly public policy environment (i.e. woke evil) that now envelopes every aspect of our lives in the UK has occurred under a very long period of Tory rule. It is common to conflate Wokeism with left-wing politics (e.g. Labour, Liberal-Democrats, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru, etc.). In fact, it is the so-called ‘right-wing’ Tory Party that has presided over this horrendous revolution: it curtailed our civil liberties during Covid way beyond the measures implemented in WW2, its ranks locally and in Parliament are replete with Woking Class social warriors, its leadership has shown a lack of moral courage in its failure to confront the Woke onslaught against democracy and the throttling of free speech.
One may ask: why has Wokeism achieved such a stranglehold over our lives during such a long period of Tory rule? The answer is simple. Tory leaders not only fail to stand up to and halt the spread of egregious identify politics but actively promote and facilitate their promulgation at every level; consequently, ordinary people are powerless to stand up and be counted. To do so is to invite dire social vilification (including death threats that are mostly ignored by the police) and ostracisation (including job cancellation) at one end of the spectrum or criminal proceedings at the other (e.g. non hate crime incidents, hate crime, police arrest, etc.). The Tory administration has also presided over expanded powers of the judiciary, that has no elected mandate, which increasingly undermines the sovereignty of Parliament by making laws (as distinct from implementing them) and overturning policy proposals (e.g. Rwanda) of duly elected governments placed in power by the so-called democratic will of the people. The inversion of the law to progress the ‘rights’ of minorities at the expense of those pertaining to the majority has also consolidated under Tory rule.
The only thing one can predict with any certainty is that Starmer & Co are likely to be even worse. When the Leader of the Opposition refuses to confirm that women do not have penises there is undoubtedly bigger trouble ahead after the Tories are booted out at the next general ‘election’.

Last edited 2 months ago by Julian Pellatt
ralph bell
ralph bell
2 months ago

On the basis that the trans pupils are a tiny minority, they could surely just use the existing individual disabled toilet that all schools must have or could be provided as a individual toilet, as they mostly are, rather than included in the main blocks.

William Cameron
William Cameron
2 months ago

How many girls are asking to share mens toilets- none

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
2 months ago

Voodoo Donuts in Austin Texas has only one gender neutral restroom. Everyone hates it, including a friend of mine – a black trans woman who should have Most Highly Favored status among the “woke”.
She says, “what’s to stop some transphobic redneck from following me in there and kicking my ass?”
She is also sympathetic to women’s concerns about any men be allowed in women’s spaces, as she shares those same concerns (she is very small, very passable, and exclusively attracted to men. She used to be what we meant when we said “trans woman”. Not anymore).
This policy is degrading and disgusting except to a few vocal activists.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 months ago

‘Waiting for government legislation’ is just the latest cop out.

These situations should never have been implemented by supposedly responsible adults in schools.

The total disrespect of women and girls safety is highly irresponsible, no matter who initiates it.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
2 months ago

In the States there are many so-called unisex public toilets, but never without a lock for the entrance, unless it’s broken or the place is some insane dive. This seems to be a rare example of Britain having gone further off the rails than America about something related to the gender-fluid(ity) industrial complex.