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Ruth Pearce @NotRightRuth
, 26 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Now in a session on toilets! Being introduced by Jason Barker - recalling a "peaceful time" when we could talk about toilet access in trans rights training sessions. It's now become a flashpoint in the wake of American discourse on trans toilet bans. #transformingspaces2018
Barker: If trans people can't safely access toilets because of discourses that present us as a threat, there are places we can't go. The more tightly we regulate, the impact moves beyond trans people - e.g. limited access for gender nonconforming women. #transformingspaces2018
Jason Barker is introducing Francis Ray White from the University of Westminster, who is giving NOT ANOTHER TALK ABOUT TOILETS... (with the title in a scary horror font). #transformingspaces2018
White: Toilet access is a very pressing issue for trans rights and can perpetuate a false division between trans and women's rights. Need to re-frame the issue, rather than getting drawn into debating heteropatriarchy in its own terms (e.g. trans as risk). #transformingspaces2018
White: Trans people are talking about toilets all the time...or rather we are compelled to. As if we can't talk about other things. Art. Spaghetti. Astrophysics. #transformingspaces2018
White: "I really tried to tone down the wee jokes".

Unfortunately they're leaking in. #transformingspaces2018
White gives us a bit of toilet history. Public toilets originally designed for men. Only after 1860s that women's public toilets began to appear - in face of massive opposition. #transformingspaces2018
White on historical reasons to oppose women's toilets:
- sanction women's participation in public spaces
- ridicuous idea b/c no woman will ever use them
- middle-class women forced to mix with working class women
- toilets will become brothels
#transformingspaces2018
White: With the emergence of women's toilets came rigid policing - supposedly for the privacy and protection of women, but following logic of patriarchial world, and heteronormative assumption that single-sex spaces are not sexualised. #transformingspaces2018
White notes other toilet divisions, past and present, e.g. racist laws preventing "mixing", disabled toilets that position disabled people as outside of gender binary (reflecting ableist assumptions in binary gender divisions. #transformingspaces2018
White: Toilet discourse is all about purity and danger. Toilets are sites where the threat of pollution is high, where we deal with dirt, where matter is out of place. #transformingspaces2018
White: Trans people threaten gender purity - we are associated with filth, pollution...plumbing. It can be tempting to embrace this (slide shows image of Divine: "filth is my life!") but we need to move beyond this and change the conversation. #transformingspaces2018
White concludes: We have been conditioned to think that toilets are the problem - but the real issue is obsession with (sexist, transphobic) binary gender divisions in every place and space. This is what we need to oppose. #transformingspaces2018
We're now hearing from Cara English on the "Open Lavs" project, which aims to map unisex and gender-neutral toilets across the UK, and provide a springboard for campaigning on this issue. #transformingspaces2018 openlavs.com
English: 48% of trans pepole don't feel comfortable using public toilets for fear of discrimination. Based on National LGBT Survey figures, there are an estimated 250,000 non-binary people in UK alone. So gender-neutral toilets are important. #transformingspaces2018
English: @openlavs is important because non-binary and trans people deserve to know where we are welcome, where we can drink, work and play in peace. #transformingspace2018
English: Trans people are the canary in the mine - opposition to trans rights heralds an attack on women's rights also and body policing for cis people, as we are seeing in the rise of fascism across Europe and North America. #transformingspace2018
English: Important to recognise people don't have single issue loves. @openlavs has info on accessibility (e.g. disabled toilets), baby change facilities etc. Important that trans rights don't detract from disabled access. #transformingspace2018
Final talk in this session is from Irina Korneychuk of FaulknerBrowns Architects. She's talking about how designers and builders might think differently about how toilets and changing rooms are configured. #transformingspace2018
Korneychuk: Toilet access not just about trans people of course. Also about disabled access, cultural and religious diversity, privacy issues. Research shows 75% of parents have problems with different-sex children. Need to ensure everyone has access. #transformingspace2018
Korneychuk on research undertaken by architects. Poor design of communal facilitaties can provide a barrier for people wanting to do sport due to body confidence etc. #transformingspaces2018
Korneychuk: Designers need to think about privacy, dignity and experience (including safety), and what about what happens in different spaces. Shows interesting case study from leisure centre with private cubicles in both female/male and universal spaces. #transformingspaces2018
Korneychuk: Wet cubicles enable private showering within universal gender space. Design also aims to ensure disabled people aren't segregated within changing and showering rooms. #transformingspaces2018
Korneychuk agrees with previous speakers that gendered toilet symbols (including attempts to create non-binary symbols) are often offensive. Showing ideas for symbols that focus on what *happens* in the space (e.g. image of toilet, shower). #transformingspaces2018
Audience question about accommodating both trans and religious requirements. Korneychuk - "it's all about providing choice" - having both gendered and universal spaces available where possible. #transformingspaces2018
That was really wonderful. Now time for a lunch break!
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