Government to make major change on gender-neutral toilets in new crackdown
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The UK government is planning a major shake-up to gender-neutral toilets in England in a new crackdown.
Since the first unisex toilet was introduced in a school for the first time back in the UK in 2000, gender neutral toilets have become more common.
However, the government has now said it plans to reverse the 'rise in gender-neutral toilets' as part of an effort to protect single-sex spaces.
New regulations mean single-sex toilets will become the default and minimum for new non-residential buildings and for major refurbishment projects taking place on existing buildings.
The guidelines will also encourage the implementation of self-contained toilets - fully contained toilets with a wash hand basin for individual use.
The UK government has previously made it clear that disabled toilets will be unaffected by these upcoming regulation changes.
Kemi Badenoch, minister for women and equalities, said: "It is important that everybody has privacy and dignity when using public facilities. Yet the move towards 'gender neutral' toilets has removed this fundamental right for women and girls.
"These proposals will ensure every new building in England is required to provide separate male and female or unisex facilities and publish guidance to explain the difference, protecting the dignity, privacy, and safety of all."
Previous call for evidence found that the public wanted greater consideration in the range of toilets to preserve dignity, access and privacy for all.
"It is extremely important women can feel comfortable when using public facilities, so we are taking action to restore dignity and privacy at the centre of all future provision," said Baroness Scott, Parliamentary undersecretary of state for faith and communities.
"These proposals will mean separate toilets for men and women, as well as self-contained toilets for those that need them, become a requirement for every new building across England."
The proposed changes will now go into a technical consultation, which opens on Monday (14 August).
The announcement of the impending changes has been met with some voices of concern.
Damian McBride, a former adviser to Gordon Brown, said Britain are becoming the 'first country in the world to appoint a dedicated "Lavatories Tsar"'.
He added: "I bet you didn’t have that on your Tory summer fightback bingo card."
Meanwhile, trans rights group have argued that gender-neutral toilets can help reduce discrimination, as those in the trans community can find it difficult to use male or female loos.
Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, meanwhile, argued more self-contained bathroom facilities should be built.
She told PinkNews: "If you have lavatory facilities that are each self-contained units, with their own wash basin and hand drier, and wall-to-ceiling walls and doors, and men remember to put the seat down, there really is nothing to complain about."