A city council has scrapped male and female public lavatories in favour of “gender neutral” facilities so as not to alienate the transgender community.Meanwhile, our blessed "Green" council seems to welcome travellers and is looking to find another site for them in addition to the one already in existence in Horsdean, just on the outside of the bypass. The Horsdean site is nicely secluded and can really be seen only from Tegdown Hill. I was up there on Sunday when I took this picture.
The move was described as “political correctness gone barmy” by opponents who warned that the vast majority would prefer to use single sex loos.Brighton and Hove City Council disclosed in emails that it wished to promote the term “gender neutral” and build facilities which are open to all, regardless of sex.They believe such facilities will be more accessible for those who do not identify with the male-female binary.The block, will include four new lavatories and a café. Images depicting a man, a woman and a child will be fitted to the doors.Lynda Hyde, a Tory councillor in the Rottingdean ward, in which the new facility is being built, said: "This does seem to be a case of unnecessary bureaucracy and political correctness.“Local residents, particularly women with children, would much prefer to use separate facilities as apart from anything else, it is safer.
“If the male/female symbols, rather than any text, are to be used on the toilet then this avoids any confusion so why is the council muddying the waters by insisting they are called gender neutral, which will mean nothing to most people?”
The £140,000 refurbishment of the lavatories on Rottingdean seafront in Brighton is due to begin this week and is being funded jointly by Rottingdean Parish Council and the city council.
Mrs Hyde said she understood the city council planned to gradually phase out all male and female lavatories in order to cater for the minority group.
The move follows the establishment of a working group to examine issues faced by transgender residents in the city.
Last year, the Trans Equality Scrutiny Panel recommended that titles such as Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms be banned so as not to offend the community and force them to “choose between genders”.
Green Party deputy leader Phelim MacCafferty backed the proposal saying: “Trans people aren't necessarily male or female and sometimes they don't want to be defined by their gender.”
The 37 recommendations made by the panel also included “removing the need to identify as male or female” when arriving at a doctor’s surgery, more training for council staff, police and health workers and appointing a “Trans champion” within the council.
A city council spokeswoman decline to comment on the decision to promote the term gender neutral.
She said: “When producing signs for public toilets in the city we use standard images rather than words.
“This is particularly beneficial to the many tourists from overseas visiting our city.”
The lesbian, gay and transgender population in Brighton is estimated to be around 40,000.
In a 2006 a survey of the community, around five percent of respondents identified themselves as transgender.
As my understanding is that the Council already owns the rest of the one-time Horsdean recreation ground extending to the right of the picture, there is ample room for this site to be enlarged to take two or three times as many travellers' caravans and therefore no need to encroach on other land in the city.
And on a lighter note, see here for the background to this witness statement from PC Peach.