Oh alright, I’ll talk about toilets again

A selection of black and white toilet signs

For the last five years, I have regularly had people throw that one about “are you going to look up people’s skirts in the loos” at me, and I have regularly had people say to me, “don’t mixed sex toilets solve the problem”.

I generally answered – truthfully, that the women’s sex based rights campaign is not about toilets, it is about the Equality Act. It is true that there were many ways that women used “the ladies” for sanctuary and it is true that we’ve lost that in many places, but the only reason the whole issue appeared to revolve around toilets was that Stonewall et al have been advising schools to make all their toilets “gender neutral”, regardless of whether they had secure, one-person unit toilets.

This week’s “school strikes” have finally got across to the world how that has impacted on kids.

Yes, the stories breaking around the country appear to flag up two separate problems – that of boys harassing girls in the loos, and that of schools strictly limiting when kids can go to the loo.

The reason I’m here writing about toilets (again) is that I would like to point out that, in my experience, those are not two problems but one, and until people understand that, they won’t understand where the solution is.

Privacy and dignity

I have seen for myself in schools, and been told by girls attending those schools, that girls, especially if they have their periods, prefer to use the loo during class time because it’s quieter, and they are less likely to be harassed by boys in the loos than they are at break, when all the crowds and noise provide cover for a multitude of abuses, including boys trying to take photos of girls in the loos.


Can we perhaps begin to see the solution now? How many trans kids does your school have? Do you think you could possibly find a comfortable solution for the handful who are genuinely upset by using toilets assigned to their sex that doesn’t put every girl in the school at risk of harassment? Bet you a tenner you did think of something, but you didn’t say it, because you feared the Stonewall people would call you something nasty. Please find your courage — never let a bully win.

Sometimes you know, girls feel so harassed and miserable, they begin to think they’d rather be boys…


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