Gender neutral toilets create safe spaces for gender non-conformists

In South Africa, more and more institutions are introducing gender neutral bathroom facilities, with Wits University being the latest to make the news.

This is not just about men popping in to women's toilets and vice versa.

Dr Eve says the issue is far from trivial and explores why a bathroom is so essential to feeling comfortable with the gender you choose to identify with.

She says the conversation is rather about but understanding what it feels like to be a someone claiming a gender that is inconsistent with their born or natal gender , and having to negotiate spaces like public bathrooms. This would include transgender people or those with gender dysphoria.

Dr Eve explains that for someone who identifies with the gender to which they were born biologically, going to a public toilet is probably not an issue. They are in harmony with their sex and in harmony with their gender.

If I need to go to a bathroom, I don't hesitate. I don't have fear. I don't stand anxiously outside a bathroom deciding where is the safest place to go into? Which is the place where I'm not going to be beaten up, where I'm not going to be ostracised, or bullied, or have a great chance of being assaulted?

Dr Eve, sexologist

I just go into the one which has the female icon. And because it is such a simplistic, taken for granted action, we don't stop to think about the importance of that in people's lives who are gender non-conforming.

Dr Eve, sexologist

President Barak Obama is insisting that every state recognise the rights of transgender people, an umbrella term that covers various forms of gender dysphoria in people. It is with the intention of recognising inclusiveness and tolerance.

In South Africa we have a constitution that does not allow for discrimination, so gender neutral toilets should be available, says Dr Eve.

Listen to the interview with Dr Eve below:

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