Gender neutral toilets will be introduced in Brighton schools as part of controversial scheme that has sparked anger among parents.
Teachers and governors are to be told that they should provide ‘toilets for everyone’ in fresh advice issued in Brighton and Hove’s Trans Inclusion Toolkit.
Under the new guidance for schools across East Sussex, educational settings ‘should provide pupils and students with a mixture of access to toilets’.
This should include ‘blocks of ceiling cubicle toilets that can be used by all, with bins for menstrual products in each cubicle (‘toilets for everyone’)’.
A consultation with trans children and young people prior to the guidance being published found that many will choose gender-neutral toilets for ‘fear of bullying or harassment’.
Single sex toilets can also cause issues for children and young people who do not identify with the gender binary of boy or girl, say supporters of the guidance.
But the suggestion has angered many parents who say girls need privacy as they mature into young women and should not have to share facilities with boys.
Gender neutral toilets (stock image) will be introduced in Brighton schools as part of controversial scheme that has sparked anger among parents
The Trans Inclusion Toolkit, which is backed by Brighton and Hove City Council, also includes guidance on issues such as mixed sports, the use of ‘gendered language’ and the right for pupils to dress in either male or female uniform.
Councillors will discuss the toolkit, which is an update of the 2018 version, at the next Children, Young People and Skills Committee on June 14.
Councillor Hannah Clare, chairwoman of the committee, said ‘This is an important element of work to ensure all pupils in our city’s schools feel safe and supported.
‘Supporting trans children is just one vital part of continued efforts to tackle any form of discrimination.
‘We want all pupils to feel comfortable in their own skin so they can make the most of all that education offers and flourish into being the very best version of themselves.
‘Many of our schools are already working to ensure that their environment and curriculum celebrates all children and their families.
‘This Toolkit provides guidance on how to ensure trans members of the community feel equally welcome, represented and safe in our city.’
The toolkit attempts to explain the difference between biological sex and gender identity.
Teachers and governors are to be told that they should provide ‘toilets for everyone’ in fresh advice issued in Brighton and Hove’s Trans Inclusion Toolkit (above)
It says biological sex refers to chromosomes, genitalia and hormones which make up a person’s physical anatomy.
Gender identity concerns how a person feels and chooses to express themselves.
Schools are being told to rethink ‘views and practices on gender which have been accepted as standard for a long time’.
The kit was originally produced in 2013 to support children and young people whose gender identity did not align with their gender registered at birth.
A joint Notice of Motion about trans inclusion was agreed by Brighton and Hove’s Green, Labour and Conservative groups at a full council meeting in January 2021.
But the suggestion has prompted fierce backlash from many in the community.
One resident took to social media with a post that read: ‘Odd yesterday that Ofsted came out with a report that stated boys are sharing nude photos “like collection cards” and sexual harassment has become normalised in schools.
‘The investigation, which came in the wake of the Everyone’s Invited campaign that revealed a culture of harassment at schools, found that teachers had severely underestimated the scale of abuse.
‘All the more reason to ensure that girls’ single sex spaces, such as toilets and changing rooms, are retained but Brighton Council will change this and when problems appear you can guarantee this will be swept under the table.’
Another wrote: ‘They are kids being forced into questioning their identity when it hadn’t been an issue before. This town is obsessed with diversity.
‘My wife works at a local organisation that is unaware of its own discrimination as it proactively recruits LGBTQ ABCDEF etc while ignoring the fact that their ratios do not reflect the make up of the town it serves.
‘How many white 50-year-old males does it employ? Zero. How many 60-year-old women does it employ? Zero. Do we have any in Brighton out of work? Lots.’
And others were quick to follow suit.
One wrote: ‘Loos have been a safe space for women. Today in the news about the sexual abuse girls suffer in schools. This is not a wise move.’
Another added: ‘Girls need privacy. It is ridiculous idea. Just like mixed wards in hospitals were, this a major step backwards. Girls/ women need their own.’
And a third said: ‘This is an absolute disgrace and someone should lose their job for suggesting this.
‘What about if the majority of children who are happy with their gender are unhappy about sharing a toilet with the opposite sex?
‘This is a disgrace and someone should resign. Woke, pathetic council. Was probably the same person who thought it was a great idea to install cycle lanes where they already existed.’
But there were some who were not so opposed to the idea with one person commenting: ‘This is most greatly needed and this is a great move for all.
‘We should all be entitled to be who we want to be and this diversity shown here is a brilliant example of how things in modern day life are changing for the better.’