Canada’s High Commission installs gender-neutral toilet so ‘all visitors feel comfortable’

Nick Duffy May 10, 2017
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Canada’s High Commission to the UK in London has installed a gender-neutral toilet.

Canada House in Trafalgar Square is one of the most famous diplomatic outposts in the UK, home to Canada’s High Commission.

Staff at the High Commission revealed this week that an “all-gender toilet” has been installed in the historic building, to provide a trans-inclusive environment.

A spokesperson explained to PinkNews that the toilet was suggested by an adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while on a visit to London.
The toilet plaque in Canada House

The idea was born when Canadian MP Randy Boissonnault, who advises Mr Trudeau on LGBT issues, was in London to meet with LGBT activists.

The spokesperson added: “As Canada engages with transgender activists on a regular basis, it made infinite sense for us to be able to offer suitable toilet facilities here at Canada House in order to ensure that all visitors to our building are welcomed and feel comfortable.

“A facility on our ground floor, accessible to both visitors and staff, is our new gender-neutral bathroom.”

Gendered toilets remain available elsewhere, throughout the embassy.

Canada House is not the first iconic London landmark to introduce gender-neutral loos.

Gender-neutral toilets were recently introduced in the cinema at the Barbican Centre, a Grade II listed building that is world-famous for its Brutalist architecture.

Though gendered toilets remain available elsewhere in the complex, the Barbican’s decision attracted fury after false claims that all female toilets had been removed from the complex to make way for gender neutral ones.

Mr Boissonnault is one of six openly LGBT MPs serving in the Canadian Parliament, and is the first openly gay MP elected in Alberta.

He was handed the role advising Prime Minister Trudeau on equality issues last year.

At the time, Prime Minister Trudeau said: “We have made great strides in securing legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community in Canada – from enshrining equality rights in the Charter to the passage of the Civil Marriage Act.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Randy Boissonnault

“But the fight to end discrimination is not over and a lot of hard work still needs to be done. Canadians know our country is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it.”

Mr Boissonnault said: “I will work hard with the Prime Minister and the LGBTQ2 community to advance and protect their rights and address historical injustices they have endured.

“I look forward to collaborating closely with Egale and other organizations in the coming months to advance the government’s agenda for equality.”

A government release explained: “Mr. Boissonnault’s principal role will be to advise the Prime Minister on the development and co-ordination of the Government of Canada’s LGBTQ2 agenda.

“This will include working with LGBTQ2 organizations from across the country to promote equality for the LGBTQ2 community, protect the rights of its members, and address discrimination against them – both historical and current.”

In related news, Canada’s High Commissioner Janice Charette will march with staff in the Pride in London for the first time this year.

More: Americas, Canada, Canada, Canada House, Gay, High Commission, LGBT, London

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