An equal rights campaigner has called for gender-neutral toilets to be made compulsory after a Lancaster nightclub opened new inclusive loos.
Anna Lee hailed the opening of new toilets at the Sugarhouse where transgender people can feel safe and wants other public premises to follow suit.
The new toilets, installed as part of a £40,000 upgrade of the nightclub, can be used by people of all genders.
Anna, vice-president (Welfare and Community) at Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU), said she was keen to see the five-cubicle toilet block installed in the Lancaster University Students Union-owned club because of her own experience of using public toilets as a transgender person.
“As a trans person going to the toilet in public is scary,” said Anna.
“I used to get really anxious, which made me need to go even more. I used to go the whole day holding it in just out of fear. Many trans people face violence and ridicule when they go to the toilet of their gender.
“Gender neutral toilets are not a gimmick, they are equal rights, and nothing should stop equality.
“I’d like to see gender neutral toilets normalised and made mandatory in venues all across the country. Not just in clubs or student unions, but in the work place, in the streets, everywhere.”
“They are simply marked as ‘toilets’ because that’s what they are; toilets - doing the audacious thing of letting everyone be able to pee,” said Anna.
“It is often assumed that people only define as a man or a woman, often described as a binary, but this is not the case. About 30 per cent of young trans people define as non-binary – which means it’s not appropriate to ask them to choose between men’s and women’s toilets.”
Other improvements made at the club include a revamped entrance, new decoration, new furniture and the installation of a new bar. Several universities in the UK have opened gender-neutral toilets over the past few years including Hull, Sussex, Manchester and Northampton.