No gender neutral toilets in new public buildings, as minister demand separate loos for men and women

13 August 2023, 09:26 | Updated: 13 August 2023, 09:31

Kemi Badenoch has said there should be no new public buildings with gender-neutral toilets
Kemi Badenoch has said there should be no new public buildings with gender-neutral toilets. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

New buildings open to the public must have separate toilets for men and women, the government has announced.

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Kemi Badenoch, minister for women and equalities, said that the move would protect people's "privacy and dignity", which the rise of gender neutral facilities had eroded for women and girls.

Transgender rights groups have argued that gender-neutral toilets can protect the dignity of trans people.

The draft plans, versions of which have been mooted for several years already, will apply to all non-residential buildings.

Ms Badenoch said in a statement: "It is important that everybody has privacy and dignity when using public facilities. Yet the move towards 'gender neutral' toilets has removed this fundamental right for women and girls.

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Kemi Badenoch
Kemi Badenoch. Picture: Getty

"These proposals will ensure every new building in England is required to provide separate male and female or unisex facilities, and publish guidance to explain the difference, protecting the dignity, privacy and safety of all."

Ms Badenoch wrote in the Telegraph: "My job is increasingly spent legislating for common sense and stopping those intent on causing harm.

"Women should have exclusive access to public toilet facilities reserved specifically for them. Men should have the same. Female loos should have cubicles, while male ones can have urinals.

"Transgender individuals should have privacy. The signage on the door should clearly indicate what to expect."

A gender neutral toilet
A gender neutral toilet. Picture: Alamy

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Faith & Communities, Baroness Scott, said: "It is extremely important women can feel comfortable when using public facilities, so we are taking action to restore dignity and privacy at the centre of all future provision. 

"These proposals will mean separate toilets for men and women, as well as self-contained toilets for those that need them, become a requirement for every new building across England."

The proposed changes will now go to a technical consultation.