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Berlin plans to make public toilets gender-neutral in what it calls a ‘simple’ decision

Josh Jackman July 11, 2017
Berlin gender-neutral toilets and Dirk Behrendt

Germany’s capital could soon convert its facilities into gender-neutral toilets – with little to no fanfare.

Berlin’s justice minister Dirk Behrendt told German news site Tagesspiegel that he wanted the country’s capital to set an example.

And, he said, it was a pretty easy shift.

“The building scan showed that having toilets for all sexes in many places would be simple to implement,” said Behrendt.

He hoped the move would stop Germany from being dragged into a culture war similar to the one currently being fought in the US, in states like North Carolina and Texas.

“In trains and aeroplanes, the toilets are also not separated by sex, and that doesn’t bother anyone,” said Behrendt.

His ministry has put together an audit to calculate the cost of the switch, which came out at €500 (£440) per facility, “at a maximum”.

For many toilets, the only aspect which will need to be changed is the sign on the door, as reported by The Local.

Some government buildings have already gone through the transition, including the office for labour administrators.

Behrendt also works in proximity to a gender-neutral toilet in the justice ministry.

In May, it was revealed that Canada’s High Commission to the UK in London had installed a gender-neutral toilet.

Canada House in Trafalgar Square is one of the most famous diplomatic outposts in the UK.

Berlin’s government buildings would also be following the example set by Dublin City University.

The Irish institution opened 54 gender-neutral bathrooms last month to encourage “a sense of community” among students.

It would also be further evidence of the rapid shift in German attitudes towards LGBT issues, after the gridlock over same-sex marriage was finally broken in June.

Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her Christian Democratic Union party a free vote in the proposal put forward by the Social Democrats – though Mrs Merkel herself voted against the legislation.

More: Berlin, Europe, Europe, gender, gender neutral, gender-neutral bathrooms, Germany, Germany, North Carolina, Texas, toilets

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