Unisex toilets are here to stay - it's that simple | Emma Kay

Really, in this day and age why do toilets require so much politics?

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 7:40 pm
The sign on a unisex toilet.

At ill-prepared festivals like Victorious, many festival goers suffered a terrible toilet travesty of hour-long queuing or desperation behind bins.

Everyone though was happy to use unisex toilets, or more so they did not even consider that they were using them without question. And now, I think we need them more than ever, particularly in our schools. Unisex toilets in schools are much-needed to make pupils feel welcome and wanted in an environment designed regardless of how they identify themselves.

In a sphere of an ever-changing world of identities, traditional no longer tracks. The days of boys and girls only toilets with suffocating cubicles should be flushed away. Removing one less space to be bullied does wonders for feeling safe and causing less anxiety in a building that is meant to protect you no matter how you identify. Having a commonality of toilets with a consistent layout also just looks more appealing. How many of us think back to those days of grimy gruesome toilets from our youth and feel pale imagining it?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Furthermore, it is imperative that gender stereotypes not be cemented on children. Adding additional unisex toilets can help prevent the long-term toxicity of gender stereotyping before it even happens. If it becomes normal in schools, it will become more normal and socially accepted overall. We should always be looking to improve and we should always be giving ourselves an alternative to challenge our perception of where things stand. This is no different.

There is of course, a group that will benefit the most. Young transgender children who previously, have been too scared and unable to use a toilet that did not mirror their identity.

Some young people have opted not to use the toilet throughout the day, not to mention the disconcerting consequences for attendance because of a simple bathroom issue. This has to stop. Having male, female and non-gendered toilets hurts no one. Segregated toilets are what hurts and target vulnerable people with no access to safety.

And how did our pupils react to the addition of non-gendered toilets in their school?

Naturally it was presumed it would take time for them to get used to this adjustment. But in all honesty, the real answer is quite boring. They simply carried on. There were no quibbles, no fights and no complaints. Having more toilet spaces were celebrated because really, when you have to go, you have to go. There was no cultivation of ill feeling and needless complexity.

Unisex toilets are simply here and here to stay. It cannot be any simpler than that.

Clutter

Many of us suffer from a stutter when it comes to clutter.

Tidying up can merely be relocating objects where they won’t be seen, or because we do not have a home for it. It just holidays around our house, island hoping from counter to floor to drawer with no fixed destination. It becomes a misplaced item that cannot be managed accordingly.

Receipts, bills, reminders: the bane of any household. Drawers become a miscellaneous mirage of bits and bobs and never finding items you want when you want them. I just buy more of what I don’t need, ending up with five rolls of sticky tape that are clogging up my household even more.

Designating my drawers and having a home for an item is a lifesaving way to find what I need when I need but also to cut back on cost and claustrophobic clutter. But will it last?

Hugs

Is hug hesitancy the new bridge we must cross?

A simple gesture of affection from a family member or friend can lead to confusion and second guessing. Is this okay? Is this safe?

The jury is still out whether we should hug again but people have been doing it with delightful abandon at their returned ability to squeeze another person. It is hard to be angry at the hug enthusiasts as it feels like kicking a socially starved puppy. A disenfranchised population may feel their hug is deserved, after all, have we not waited long enough?

Negotiating our comfort zones seems the best idea but where to draw the line when huggers insist the hug hesitant are worrying too much. Given that any kind of touch has been verboten until recently, do not push your own agenda onto others who still want and still need that peace of mind.

Patience hurts no-one.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.