There is a campaign to provide sanitary bins in male toilets for trans students
28,000 trans students need our support
Students across the country are campaigning for sanitary bins in male toilets. Thousands of transgender students struggle whilst menstruating and Southampton, Birmingham, and Cardiff are leading the way to support an estimated 28,000 transgender students in the UK.
Campaigners for equality are calling for changes in British universities in an effort to improve trans inclusion in higher education and reduce stigma.
Speaking to the Tab, Cardiff University’s Students’ Union President, Claire Blakeway said: “Biologically female transgender students should not face discrimination when using toilet facilities. Therefore we are campaigning to increase the number of gender neutral toilets, as well as adding sanitary bins to male toilets, so that sanitary bins are accessible for all student members who menstruate.”
In addition, Southampton’s Students’ Union have produced a “Trans Inclusion Policy” in which they underline what it means to be transgender, covering those who “transcend traditional boundaries of gender and sex”. In turn, their progressive policy creates an umbrella term which will undeniably improve awareness and reduce arrogance around the subject.
Following a piece in the Mail on Sunday, the campaign has been criticised by family education groups such as The Family Education Trust. One damming comment left on the Mail’s website read, “it’s a world gone mad”, while another criticised students for replacing common sense with equality.
Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust told The Tab that he did not understand why such a change is necessary. He says, “for generations biological men have used men’s toilets and biological women have used women’s toilets and there has never been a problem with that arrangement.
“To require the rest of us to pretend that a minority of people are something other than they really are will only compound the confusion, and that won’t help anyone.”
Wells also spoke to the Mail and described the campaign as one which underlines the “madness of gender ideologues”.
In contrast, the Equality Challenge Unit stressed the importance of allowing each student dignity and privacy. When we spoke to them, they said, “Trans staff and students should be consulted in order to understand their requirements. Whatever the individual circumstances, it is important that institutions are flexible, supportive, and make clear that discrimination and harassment against trans people will not be tolerated.”
Referring to gender-neutral toilets, they said that “small changes” could make “a huge difference.”
Whether gender-neutral toilets are necessary is another thing all together. However, what is clear from the recent media attention is that in our progressive society in which all genders are outwardly accepted, basic logistics are a humiliating stumbling block. In order for inclusion to be successful, all efforts should be made to ensure living a happy day to day existence is made as easy as possible.