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Labour MP Caroline Flint defends opposition to gender-neutral toilets because men ‘pee in the sink’

Nick Duffy December 2, 2016

(Getty)

Labour MP Caroline Flint has defended her opposition to gender-neutral toilets, by citing an instance in which a man “urinated in the sink”.

Ms Flint made an unexpected intervention in yesterday’s Parliamentary debate on transgender equality, about the risk of trans-friendly gender neutral toilets being “abused” by sexual predators.

Speaking to PinkNews following the intervention, Ms Flint, a key critic of her party leader Jeremy Corbyn, recalled a second-hand story about men urinating in a sink.

She told PinkNews: “I do not want women preyed upon by, or vulnerable to, male violence in shared spaces, if it could be avoided.

“A woman friend reported leaving the cubicle of a gender neutral pub toilet to be confronted by five drunk men, one of whom urinated in a sink while she was washing her hands.

“The chances of that happening in a women’s toilet would be minimal.

“There has to be room for a progressive discussion which addresses transgender discrimination and rights, alongside that of women’s safety.”

Ms Flint clarified that she “fully appreciates the risks faced by the transgender community, who live with violence, intimidation and hate crimes”, insisting that “the issue of concern I raised during [the] debate was about women’s safety at the hands of men”.

Young Labour Women called on Ms Flint to rethink her stance.

The group said: “We call on Caroline Flint to withdraw and apologise for remarks she made today, in a debate about trans equality, that gender neutral toilets increase the risk to women of male violence.

“Gender neutral toilet facilities do not make women less safe- there have been no reported cases of transgender people attacking someone else in a public bathroom, though there have been scores of cases of transgender people who have been victims of violence or harassment in public bathrooms.

“It has also led to cases of cisgender women being misread as men, and subjected to violence or harassment for having been deemed to be using the ‘wrong’ toilet- something which has a disproportionate impact on lesbian women.

“The voyeurism case Flint referred to, as the [PinkNews article] details, occurred in specific toilets for women too- the issue is therefore not one of gender neutral toilets, but the law.

“Gender neutral toilets are not a new or particularly innovative idea – most disabled toilets and toilets on public transport are gender neutral already!

“We hope Caroline will reflect on her remarks, and how scaremongering around women’s safety in the debate around gender-neutral toilets is being used as a trojan horse to undermine the rights of trans people.”

More: bathroom, Caroline Flint, Labour, mp, toilet, Trans, Transgender

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