Today, governments, organisations and community groups across Australia are taking positive steps towards providing accessible and inclusive places for all. However, there is still much that can be done. One aspect that has sparked plenty of discussion of late is the need for gender neutral toilets in workplaces and public spaces. While current legislation does not directly address this, some venues including Marvel Stadium and Rod Laver Arena have taken positive steps to provide inclusive spaces by making all-gender toilets available at AFL games and the Australian Open.
A recent Worksafe review focused on assessing the need for Victorian employees to provide toilets that allow for gender diversity under occupational health and safety laws. This has prompted other employees to consider providing all-gender toilets in workplaces and at events too.
Fostering an inclusive community is good for everyone. When people feel accepted and included at work and in public spaces, it allows them to be their best. This creates a positive environment at public events and allows for happier and more productive teams at work.
So if you’re wondering whether the addition of all-gender toilets is something your organisation should consider, read on to learn 3 key benefits.
Eliminate stigma and discrimination
When people are made to feel like they don’t fit in, it creates a situation where stigma and discrimination often occur. Using public bathroom facilities can be a major source of distress for those who identify outside of a gender binary, as they can be made to feel uncomfortable about using the ‘wrong’ toilets. This can escalate to abuse or even violence in some situations, creating an unsafe situation for all.
Everyone, regardless of their gender identity should be able to attend work and social events and use the facilities without fear and uncertainty. Providing inclusive toilets that are not associated with a particular gender is an essential first step to reducing the risk of stigma and discrimintion.
Promote inclusion and acceptance of all
In recent years, many groups and individuals around the world have worked to promote acceptance and inclusion for everybody, and there has been a significant shift in the attitudes and experiences of the community as a whole. To continue to build on this, governments and organisations can implement practical changes to remove the physical barriers to an inclusive society.
The provision of gender neutral toilets is one important way that businesses, community groups and governments can promote an inclusive space where everybody feels welcome and accepted. For people who identify outside of a gender binary, it creates a safe environment, free from judgement where they don’t need to feel anxious or uncomfortable every time they need to use a public bathroom. In addition, as more all-gender bathrooms are included in public places and in the workplace, an increased appreciation for diversity and acceptance will soon follow.
Another important benefit of all-gender bathrooms is that it allows parents and carers looking after a person of a different gender to accompany them into the bathroom more easily. This makes the experience of being out and about with your children much less stressful, knowing that if nature calls you never need to worry about sending them in on their own. For carers it makes life easier too, as depending on the needs of the person in your care, you may no longer need to locate and wait for an accessible toilet which are far fewer in number and can be high in demand.
One change can make a world of difference
The provision of all-gender toilets is one change that will make a huge difference to the lives of so many. In most cases, existing infrastructure can be altered to suit the purpose, making it highly achievable for many in the short term. And in the light of recent public discussion around the issue, as well as the Victorian Worksafe review, any organisation who is serious about inclusion should be already considering how they can make it happen.
If you have any questions about access and inclusion signage in your workplace or facility, you can reach our team on 1300 894 990 for help and friendly advice on a huge range of safety and access products including Braille Tactile Gender Neutral Signs.