It is vital to ensure that there are adequate facilities on campus for trans and gender diverse students, staff and visitors. This includes both gender-neutral facilities and access to men's / women's facilities, depending on the needs of each individual. 

Findings and Experiences

Our research suggests that many trans and non-binary people do not feel comfortable or safe in gendered facilities (i.e. facilities for men or for women), as these can be spaces where they face prejudice, hostility and ridicule. These concerns are often related to being visibly trans or gender diverse (or 'not passing'), and being challenged or threatened by other users of the facilities. The TransEdu Scotland research also found that there was a general lack of gender-neutral toilet provision across Scottish college and university campuses. As a result, many students and staff would purposefully avoid using the toilet at all whilst at college, university or work. Others would regularly have to make a twenty minute round-trip to the nearest gender-neutral toilet on campus.

Toilets and Changing Facilities

Trans and non-binary people should be able and empowered to use the toilet facilities of their choosing. There is no UK legislation that governs access to gendered facilities such as toilets and changing rooms. However, individual institutions, organisations and companies may have policies in place, such as policies that explicitly support trans and non-binary people in accessing the facilities most appropriate to them. 


Gender-Neutral Facilities

Many trans and non-binary do not necessarily feel comfortable or safe in single gender facilities for a variety of reasons, as discussed previously. The need for gender-neutral facilities emerged as a significant issue throughout the TransEdu Scotland research, which is also reflected in increasing practice and provision  across the UK. 

It is vital to ensure that there are a number of gender neutral toilet facilities across your campus, alongside gender-neutral changing facilities in Sports Centres, laboratories, and on professional placements, etc. There are number of important matters to consider when developing this provision, including location, access and appropriate signage:

From Ellen Murray's Gender Neutral Toilet Signage Toolkit:

"There are a few principles that should be adhered to when building new gender-neutral toilets, or changing existing toilets to gender-neutral. 

  • Facilities should be clearly marked as genderneutral, using appropriate signage 
  • It is not OK only make half the facilities neutral – for example, you shouldn’t make just the women’s facilities gender neutral 
  • You should not only make accessible/disabled toilets gender-neutral – these are needed by disabled people 
  • Sanitary bins and dispensers should be provided in all facilities 
  • Gender neutral facilities should not require a key to open, with the exception of accessible/disabled facilities using a Radar Key or local equivalent 
  • Privacy should be centred in design: full-height doors and partitions in cubicles is best 
  • If building new facilities, limit the number of urinals 
  • Even in facilities not designated as “accessible/disabled”, you should incorporate accessible design throughout" 

(Ellen Murray, 2017, Gender Neutral Toilets Signage: Design templates and good practice kit for venues and communities)

[Images: Front cover and inside view of Ellen Murray, 2017, Gender Neutral Toilets Signage: Design templates and good practice kit for venues and communities]

It is also important to ensure that the gender-neutral facilities are well signposted in order for staff, students and visitors to easily access them. Increasing numbers of institutions and organisations are developing campus maps to denote the location of the gender-neutral facilities. An example of this, from the University of Manchester, can be viewed here.


[Image: Gender Neutral Toilet map from the University of Manchester]