The humble toilet; a place of privacy, a place of personal grooming, and a place to relieve yourself. Well, not for many schools inspired by the LGBT movement. A number of schools that have undergone new build programmes or are planning to do so in the future are taking the opportunity to remove their segregated male and female toilets and replace them with ‘unisex toilets’. The usual form of these toilets is not literally a communal bathroom shared by both sexes – that would be too outrageous for the majority of parents. The usual form is a communal wash-basin area which is not an enclosed room and is largely visible to the main corridor of the school. The toilet cubicles themselves are fully enclosed from the ceiling to the floor but can be used by either gender.
The reasons for this change are often couched by schools in terms of cost savings exercises and improvements to behaviour. Of course the floor space needed for a ‘unisex toilet’ is considerably lower than the floor space required for two separate, enclosed toilets. It is claimed that having a wash-basin area visible to the corridor will reduce incidents of bullying and vandalism by virtue of staff walking past in the corridors. It is also claimed that forcing girls to share facilities with the generally more rowdy and messy boys will encourage boys to be cleaner and better behaved. But one of the main drivers, if not the main driver, is the relentless onslaught of the LGBT movement in schools to impose their outlook on sexuality on the rest of the community. They consider that having segregated toilets clearly demarked as male or female creates anxiety for transgender students who do not want to be assigned to the sex they were born as. The LGBT movement is not even prepared to tolerate separate male, female, and ‘unisex toilets’ for the fear that embarrassment will be caused to transgender students who are seen walking into the ‘unisex toilets’.
The argument that ‘unisex toilets’ improve behaviour in schools is a very lazy one. Putting boys next to girls does not automatically improve their behaviour and cleanliness. All it does is lead girls to feel more vulnerable and intimidated. If schools have a problem with vandalism or bullying in segregated toilets it is their responsibility to deal with it as it is their responsibility to deal with it in any part of the school through an effective behaviour policy supported by sanctions and rewards. CCTV cameras can be positioned to monitor behaviour around the wash basin areas of segregated toilets and regular cleaning of toilets should occur throughout the day where cleaners can report problems and CCTV images can be checked for culprits of vandalism. If schools have an effective anti-bullying policy all students will know who to talk to if they are targeted in an enclosed segregated toilet. The idea that having a unisex wash basin area open to the corridor that can be effectively supervised by staff casually walking pass from time to time and peering over is naïve.
The reality is that little thought has been given to the well-being of children when considering this proposal. The founder of Childline, Esther Rantzen, described the proposals as a ‘recipe for disaster’ and stated unequivocally, ‘Unisex toilets in schools should be avoided at all costs’. Children in secondary schools in particular are often extremely self-conscious over the changes their bodies are going through during puberty. Menstruating girls in particular need their privacy and the last thing they need is to feel fear and anxiety in heading towards a shared facility. Consider an 11 year old girl having to negotiate her way past a group of strapping 16 year old lads in full swing with their bad language and banter. Imagine the humiliation she would feel if she needs to deal with some facial blemish like acne or readjust her blouse at the mixed wash basin. Now consider an 11 year old boy dying to relieve himself and finding a group of cackling 16 year old girls applying make-up and resenting his presence. In both cases there are likely to be large numbers of boys and particularly girls who refuse to use the shared facility and would rather wait until they reach home. This will be extremely unhealthy for them, as well as leading to lack of concentration in class and greatly reduced participation in after school activities. We have not even begun to discuss how ‘unisex toilets’ completely ignore the need of Muslim women to wash before the prayer and remove their covering. They will now be faced with the intolerable choice of exposing themselves to the opposite gender in clear contradiction with their faith or, worse still, abandoning the prayer, again in clear contradiction with their faith. The problems it creates are numerous and the only perceived benefit is that the extremely rare case of a student who is struggling to come to terms with their sex or gender will no longer have to feel the slight unease before walking into a segregated toilet.
The segregated toilet is one of the last places in our society where the natural desire for certain types of separation of men and women is still tolerated. It allows men and women to relieve themselves in comfort without the embarrassment of having to share a facility with the opposite sex. At the heart of this proposal is a strong desire by the LGBT movement to blur the lines between the sexes and remove any sense of mysticism which exists about the opposite sex. They want to blur the distinction between sex and gender, and transform sex into a spectrum rather than its binary division and what better place to start than the young, impressionable minds of our children?
It is the responsibility of every parent to take an active interest in the conduct of their school and vehemently oppose unisex toilets. Parents should join forces with other parents and raise their objections directly with the Headteacher. This is an issue which pans across different groups in society: men and women who want to preserve their dignity; different religious groups with a faith or value-based objection; people who see these proposals as morally objectionable and an attack on the social fabric of society; or just people who feel that some in the LGBT movement are imposing their views on sexuality in an aggressive, uncompromising manner.