Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Women don't want 'woke' gender-neutral toilets, Tory peer claims
25 February 2020, 05:27
Gender-neutral toilets brought in by "woke" local authorities and public bodies make women feel uncomfortable and should be replaced with single-sex facilities, a Tory peer has said.
Conservative backbencher Lord Lucas was raising concerns over the increase of gender-neutral facilities when the peer said women should not have to share public toilets because "there are a number of very strange men in this world".
The peer told a House of Lords debate that half of all toilets and changing rooms in public buildings should be exclusively for women.
Revealing he had been flashed at, the Lord said women also did want to be around "overt male sexual behaviours".
The Tory peer warned single-sex facilities were being taken away from women "without their consent, without their consultation", and the Lord put blame on "woke administrators of public institutions".
The Government should legislate to ensure publicly-funded organisations provided women with the toilet and changing facilities required, said Lord Lucas as he described the current situation as "a serious firefight".
Lord Lucas made his remarks during a debate he had secured in the House of Lords where he pressed for at least half of communal facilities in public buildings to be reserved for women only.
He said: "Recently a number of institutions have converted the communal toilets that are available to the public from ladies and gents - as separate toilets - to gender-neutral. Is this desirable? Is this justified? Has there been research as to why this is a good idea? Have needs been identified? Have women been consulted?"
Pointing out there were a number of women who have had uncomfortable experiences with men in the past, the peer said: "There are a number of very strange men in this world.
"I think it entirely reasonable for women to want a separate space."
Having used gender-neutral toilets at the Department for Education, he said: "I find it a really uncomfortable experience. To come out of a cubicle not knowing whether you would frighten some woman who thought she was there in a woman's toilet or who was not expecting to be in the company of a man. I do not want to cause that sort of discomfort."
Lord Lucas added: "Many women have expectations of toilets being clean places.
"Most men will know that not all men leave toilets clean. Not even in this place.
"Women don't like to be around overt male sexual behaviours, in a space that they find it hard to get out of.
"There are many men - they have even flashed at me - who act in such a way.
"It seems to me reasonable that women should have a space where they can be free of that."
In venues like nightclubs, the ladies would also "be a source of refuge from serious unwanted behaviour".
Questioning why women were being made to feel "unsafe and uncomfortable", Lord Lucas said: "I think the people who are generally advantaged by this change are essentially the woke administrators of public institutions. I can see very few people who genuinely benefit from having universal, gender-neutral toilet provision."
He argued a better way would be to have "a limited gender-neutral facility", similar to disabled toilets.
Lord Lucas said: "When it comes to changing facilities, I really don't think there is any circumstances under which it is appropriate that the women's changing rooms should include exposed male genitalia. I really think that is going beyond what we would all consider reasonable.
"So we should legislate. We can't let this trend go on. A facility we have provided for women all my life is being removed from them, without their consent, without their consultation.
"We should legislate so that organisations that live off public funds should provide women with the toilet and changing provisions that match their established need."
He added: "At the moment we have a serious firefight. It is our responsibility as a Government and as a society to settle these things in a civilised way and to produce a civilised outcome."
Tory former minister Lord Blencathra urged the Government to "stand up to the militant, fascist transgender lobby".
He added that individuals must continue to show a gender recognition panel that they have transitioned over a two-year period to be able to identify as their gender of choice.
Lord Blencathra said: "I urge the Government therefore to drop the suggestion that the process should be abandoned and which would permit the absurdity of self-identification with the huge loss of freedom and safety for women that would entail."
He added: "This excessive nonsense has to stop.
"I deeply respect those who want or need to change their sexual identity, but I want the Government to stand up to the militant, fascist transgender lobby, and they are a small minority, not all the transgender lobby are, it is a small militant minority - particularly those who are trying to change the sex of children."
Lord Blencathra said individuals "shouldn't be picking and choosing on a daily basis what toilet they use".