“All very well for him, but this isn't France”
This letter sent to the Star was written by CM Langan, Sheffield, S8
One of the UK's most senior judges, Lord Ian Burnett, has approved of the unisex toilets recently introduced at the High Court's HQ.
He claims he has no objection to the whole concept of unisex, gender-neutral toilets in general, saying they have them in France after all, adding he’d been accustomed to encountering them since he was a small boy.
All very well for him, but this isn't France and many folks don't have his obviously privileged and well-travelled upbringing, therefore have no experience of the continental or cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Many Brits have never even been on a day trip to France on Eurostar and many who have been abroad have been highly unimpressed by their toilet facilities, some of which amount to just a hole in the ground requiring the skills of a contortionist for the fairer sex.
Let's hope they won't be next on the agenda.
To be brutally frank, numerous women would feel uncomfortable if a bloke - known or unknown - came in for a ‘jimmy riddle’ while she was touching up her makeup or chatting to her friends, and he'd probably feel conspicuous too.
If a woman is pregnant or (if you're squeamish then look away right now) menstruating, the presence of a fella would be even less welcome.
I bet many blokes would think twice of getting a certain something from a vending machine when there's a gaggle of girls within eyeshot too.
When we were at school, the boys’ toilets were a foreign planet, never to be ventured into unless you were up for a dare! There would be an outburst of squealing if one of the cheeky young lads stuck his head around the door and the teacher would come down on the offender like a ton of hot bricks if he was reported.
Likewise, the boys wouldn't have rolled out a red carpet for any of the girls that dared to enter their territory either. Never the twain shall meet, and even more so with the arrival of puberty.
On a more serious note, there's the safety aspect to consider too. There's always the potential for an assault to take place at quieter times, for a bloke to pounce on the only person who happens to be around who happens to be a woman, especially at night. No-one would be aware of what's happening and he'd take advantage of that. Scary thought!
Of course, security staff attendants can be employed, but in the case of beefy security men when ladies are around, the safety factor may be taken care of partially, but not the privacy one.
Not that I'm insensitive to the needs of the transgender/gender-fluid members of the population, but I don't see the problem if they were just to use the toilet of their prevailing gender.
No-one of any gender or persuasion should have their safety, privacy or dignity compromised, basically, so come on you planners, take the sensitivities of everyone into account and don't let anyone lose out at any point by overcompensating for the needs of others.
Certainly, no one should have to feel like they'd rather wait until they get home, which is a big ask in view of the worsening bus services and traffic jams, but, hey, that's another story.