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Tories accused of ‘excluding and alienating’ trans folk with bizarre gender-neutral toilet review

Lily Wakefield February 3, 2021
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gender-neutral toilets

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick believes his toilet review is a "necessity". (David Nash/Barcroft Media via Getty and Envato)

The UK government has been accused of “alienating and discriminating” against trans folk after extending the deadline for evidence in its bizarre review of gender-neutral toilets.

In October, 2020, as COVID-19 cases passed the one million mark in the UK, the government decided the time had come to launch a “transphobic” review into gender-neutral toilets on the same day that the second national lockdown was announced.

The review, to “help women be assured of the necessary provision of toilets”, declared it would “address misconceptions that removing sex-specific toilets are a requirement of equality legislation”.

A press release also claimed that “over recent years there has also been a trend towards replacing female only facilities with ‘gender-neutral’ toilets”, although it did not provide evidence for this statement.

Led by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and described as a “necessity” by communities secretary Robert Jenrick, the toilet review made no mention of provisions for trans and non-binary people.

Now, during the third national lockdown and with cases approaching four million, the government appears to be unwavering in its focus on toilets.

It has extended its call for “technical evidence” in the toilet review until 26 February.

The call for evidence reiterates confusing claims, such as that the idea of having to use gender-neutral toilets means that “women are reluctant to go out or take trips”.

A spokesperson for the trans-led organisation We Exist told VICE: “We believe that a consultation on toilets is yet another attempt by the current government to exclude, alienate and discriminate against trans* [a term used to refer to many trans identities] and non-binary people.

“The consultation provides a real risk of scrapping gender-neutral toilets that may already be in place.

“There is also little to no evidence that cisgender women feel unsafe in current provided facilities so we are concerned that the government is creating a false narrative by which to exclude trans and GNC [gender non-conforming] people.

“This government is happy to start culture wars in an attempt to divert from their many, many failings in dealing with the pandemic, and this is no different.”

Related topics: gender-neutral toilets, non-binary, Robert Jenrick, Trans, We Exist

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