Skip to main content

It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

Zeitgeist

The problem with unisex loos

Getty Images

Had anyone told us a decade ago that cultural change could be charted by the signs on public toilet doors, we would have laughed in disbelief, says Celia Walden in The Daily Telegraph. But now earnest “gender-neutral restroom” signs in the US include interlinked “Mars” and “Venus” symbols, and “baffling illustrations of stick men/women clad in the kind of half-skirt, half-trouser ensembles that belong on a Paris runway”. Thankfully the newest gender-neutral signs are more humorous: “We Don’t Care” or “Whatever, just wash your hands”.

In Britain the situation is less light-hearted. Unisex toilets are becoming the norm in secondary schools, and bringing with them the behaviour you expect from teenagers: male pupils “waving sanitary products like flags” and urinating in sanitary bins. Girls have sometimes gone for days without using the school loos for fear of embarrassment or even assault. High-street chains are also facing a backlash over their unisex loos – and, for them, money talks. “But children? They will be shamed into suffering in silence.”