Student campaigners have succeeded in lobbying for a 6-month pilot programme of gender-neutral toilets on campus.
The rollout begun last month in the Brooks Building and Students’ Zone on the Cheshire Campus. The Facilities team are also looking at including the John Dalton Building if the other introductions work well. There is already a gender-neutral toilet in the Business School, so these new toilets should mean that students from every Manchester-based building have one within a reasonable distance.
Having gender-neutral toilets on campus removes the need for people to identify as either a man or a woman when they need to use the bathroom. This is particularly useful if a person’s gender is not fixed, is not defined as male or female, or if a person is transitioning to live permanently in a different gender.
The campaign began in October 2016, and was led by Andy Harmon, the LGBT+ societies campaigns officer, as well as trans* and non-binary students. Taking these concerns to a the Universities’ Diversity and Equal Opportunities Committee, these students initiated an important conversation which has led to great collaboration with University staff and set the wheels in motion for a more accessible Manchester Met.
Andy told us:
“I'm very excited to see the pilot for the introduction of all-genders toilets into more University buildings. It demonstrates that the University is listening to the concerns of transgender and non-binary students and staff and making a bigger effort to be an inclusive University. This campaign came about from a transgender student frustrated about travelling across campus to use the toilet and the LGBT society sought to change this. This doesn't mean our work is done and the society would love to continue making the University experience much better for transgender and non-binary students.”
Signage for the toilet doors will be a simple toilet icon with ‘All Gender Restroom’ beneath it. Information signs will be placed near new toilets to inform staff and students of the new facilities. Feedback will be collected on the pilot through the University Equality and Diversity team, and interim feedback will help to inform the direction of further work.
If you would like to learn more about gender, including the use of pronouns, check out some of the resources below:
+ Pronoun Usage
+ Glossary of terms (includes sexuality)
+ http://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/resources/TransTerminology_2014.pdf (non UK based)
+ http://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/resources/Trans-People-Bathroom-Access-July-2016.pdf (non UK based)
We recognise that education and implementation come hand-in-hand so we will be looking to hold student-led discussions and workshops in the near future. If you are interested in being involved, or would like to feedback to The Union about your thoughts on improving provision for LGBT+ students, please get in touch with our Campaigns Coordinator, Molly via M.Maher@mmu.ac.uk