Originally posted at sian and crooked rib
So someone tweeted this blogpost from The F Word yesterday about the need for gender-neutral toilets. The article made some good points about the need for more gender-neutral toilet provision – for example to help out parents with opposite sex children, people caring for a member of the opposite sex, and also for trans or non-binary people who are concerned about being misgendered and the violence that can follow this. To me, this is where the debate about gender-neutral loos is surely meant to be sitting – there simply isn’t enough public toilet provision anyway, and we need to increase that provision to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
And then I read this paragraph:
The shelter, relative privacy and access to running water that public toilets provide have made them useful places to have sex when folks have nowhere else to do it, but they don’t particularly lend themselves to sexual assault. In the Ladies, women remain fully-dressed outside locked cubicles. These are rooms where people may walk in at any time. Currently, there’s nothing stopping men entering the Ladies (and indeed, the laws proposed in the US would force trans men to do so) but these aren’t common locations for sexual violence; outside of horror movies, ongoing drug deals and norovirus epidemics, public toilets are pretty safe.
The paragraph has now been removed from the article, after an exchange on Twitter where the editor apologised to me. I really appreciate the apology and the acknowledgement that this paragraph could result in upset and hurt. However, I started this post so I’ll finish, as the article isn’t the only place I’ve seen this dismissal…
What I want to address is the sweeping statement that women’s loos ‘don’t lend themselves to sexual assault.’
Because that, quite frankly, is bullshit.