The qmu recently marked lgbt history month with a somewhat controversial change to the building. As of the 30th of January the gents toilets on the 3rd floor became gender neutral. Perhaps, like me, you were initially puzzled at the need of such a facility. However, the move is one that has been made by several British Students’ Unions since 2007, including The University of Manchester’s Students’ Union and Birmingham University Guild of Students and is primarily to aid those who don’t identify specifically as either gender or identify as transsexual feel more comfortable.
This does not mean that gender neutral toilet facilities single out those who identify as transsexual or other, but can freely be used by anyone. Whilst some still may not find the notion of sharing a toilet with the other sex entirely appealing, it is notable that only one bathroom facility in the building has been changed, and
The rest remain with an assigned gender. The announcement on the qmu facebook page was met with both enthusiasm and debate. One member of the Union commented ‘this has made my day…To me at least this is fantastic news’, whilst another seemed doubtful of the significance of the decision. However, the gu lgbt Society seem to view the news as a step in the right direction. Transgender Officer Kit
Moreland stated, ‘This decision should not cause any disruption for most students, however will make a tremendous difference for those who may be subject to discrimination or embarrassment by using gender assigned toilets. We are grateful for the support the qmu and the university has given towards this implementation. Installing these labels is a very simple and effective way to make Glasgow University a leading institution for trans inclusion.’
Whilst for the lgbt movement this is undoubtedly good news, for some only one gender neutral facility may not be enough. Stv Local reported on January 21st that this decision taken by the qmu is in conjunction with the University’s plans to create around 10 similar facilities on campus, but thus far the University have not made any sort of official statement regarding this possibility. [Suki mcfarland]