Two transgender students have received an apology from their English university after a security guard told them not to use the men’s toilets.
The security guard allegedly asked the two students – who are both transgender men – why they had used the men’s toilet, according to the Telegraph.
He then told them that there was a gender neutral toilet in the building next door, and suggested that they should have used those instead.
“I don’t identify as gender neutral, I identify as a man.”
– Toby George
The students – Toby George and Tilbert Wilson – are studying at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU).
George told the Telegraph: “The security guard said the gender neutral toilets are available. I said ‘Well I don’t identify as gender neutral, I identify as a man.’”
The student continued: “It is quite disappointing that this was allowed to happen. The security guard said he had been told to ask for student identification cards if there was any suspicious behaviour.”
George went on to say that a transgender person using the toilets that match their gender did not count as suspicious behaviour.
The incident was also at odds with the university’s policy on bathroom use.
The university’s policy says that students should be treated “as their self-identified gender” and that this includes “the use of facilities, including toilets.”
“It is quite disappointing that this was allowed to happen.”
– Toby George
It also asks staff to respect gender markers, names, title and pronouns.
After the incident happened in October, George and Wilson complained to university authorities, and received an apology.
A university spokesperson also told the Telegraph that security staff would be given “up-to-date” information on their policy on bathroom use.
Transgender bathroom debate
The incident comes in the midst of a debate that has often been toxic around the use of bathrooms by transgender people.
In June, it was reported that a federal appeals court in the US rejected an attempt to ban transgender children from using bathrooms that matched their gender.
Two students took the case against their school’s trans-inclusive bathroom policy, and claimed that the rules were violating their “right to bodily privacy.”
Meanwhile, in August, Cambridge city councillor Ann Sinnott resigned from her role and quit the Labour Party over the party’s stance on the issue. The Labour Party stands by a policy that states: “Transgender people will not be excluded from gender appropriate sex/single-sex segregated facilities.”
A US survey from last year found that a third of transgender people avoid eating and drinking so they won’t have to use public toilets, as they are so anxious about facing repercussions.
An anti-transgender ad in the US that was released in September also showed a man peeping into women’s toilets.
The video shows a man wearing a hoodie and hiding in a toilet cubicle as a teenager girl walks in.
The advert was advocating for the repeal of an anti-discrimination law in Massachusetts in the US.