Reports claim girls are risking infections by refusing to urinate all day so they can avoid using the same facilities as their male peers.
For the LGBTQIAP+ community, introducing gender-neutral toilets was a step towards inclusivity in society. However, it received severe backlash when the policy to introduce them in schools, malls, and other public places, was first introduced. Although it did go through and gender-neutral bathrooms were installed, the bathrooms in schools in the United Kingdom have now been criticized for reportedly making girls feel unsafe and putting their health at risk, reports Daily Mail. Female students in schools that have gender-neutral bathrooms are opting to stay at home while menstruating out of fear of being period-shamed by their male peers who share the same facilities.
Every day, more and more primary and secondary schools choosing to install gender-neutral toilets. However, this is only causing some girls to avoid using the bathrooms and refusing to urinate all day, increasing their chances of infection. It's also been reported that some girls even refuse to drink water at school, causing parents and teachers to worry about them putting their health at risk in such a manner.
Concerned parents and teachers have also revealed that these students are deeply uncomfortable sharing toilets with their male peers and that some of them even feel unsafe about having to share toilet space. Although gender-neutral bathrooms were installed in schools to promote inclusivity, it's now facing a lot of backlash as it seems to be doing the exact opposite of what it was actually intended to do.
Doctors and politicians are now urging that schools shut down the gender-neutral bathrooms to stop causing female students any harm instead of coming up with a solution to these issues. General practitioner Dr. Tessa Katz justified this decision citing the possibility of urinary and bladder infections in girls who hold in urine for prolonged periods on a regular basis. "The psychological effects of girls not feeling safe enough to use mixed-sex toilets is also concerning," she said.
Tory Member of Parliament, David Davies, who backs the claim that transgender rights are overriding those of women, affirmed these sentiments, saying, "If girls are not comfortable sharing toilets with boys then schools should make provision for them, rather than saying girls have got a problem." To add to the issue, several parents have now come forward to say that they were not consulted before these toilets were installed.
In fact, last month, the parents of students at the Deanesfield Primary School in South Ruislip, West London, went as far as to file a petition against the introduction of unisex toilets. The mother of two female students aged four and eight, at the school, voiced her concern saying, "The cubicles were open at the bottom and top so older pupils can easily climb up the toilets and peer over."
Stephanie Davies-Arai, of the parent campaign group Transgender Trend, clarified that part of the problem is "trans activist" organizations leaving schools under the false impression that implementing single-gender bathrooms are a violation of equity laws. She pointed out that there are clear exemptions under the current equality laws which make it perfectly legal for schools to skip the gender-neutral toilet movement if they wish to do so.
The misinformation could be a reason why schools felt obligated to institute same-sex toilets without thoroughly considering all the implications of the move. Probably, education about the situation could have helped prevent the issues that girls in these schools are currently facing, or probably just get them to feel more comfortable about sharing the same bathroom with boys.