Toilets and changing facilities

People should be able to use toilet and changing facilities appropriate to their gender identity.

Providing gender neutral toilet and changing facilities is supportive of trans people, including those who are non-binary. It avoids potential problems that may arise if there is a discrepancy between physical appearance and inner sense of gender. It provides a private space, where the right to use the facilities will not be challenged. There may be times when trans members of staff feel unable to express their gender identity in public, or when travelling to and from work, for fear of transphobic attack. However they may want somewhere to change so that they can freely express their gender identity at work. 

Equality considerations coupled with sensitivity to the needs of all users should underlie the provision of toilet facilities. A range of gendered and non-gendered facilities should be provided where possible to meet individual preferences and for cultural, religious or sensitive personal reasons.  

The University recommends that the provision of some gender neutral facilities is considered in every new build and refurbishment. Ideally these should include single cubicle gender neutral toilets, with integrated washing facilities and floor to ceiling doors.

We recommend the provision of gender neutral toilets in addition to existing accessible toilets, and would not normally expect accessible toilets to be used by trans people, since they may be needed urgently by disabled people.

In the UK there is no commonly accepted icon for a gender neutral toilet. Using signage with the words ‘gender neutral toilet’ can send a clear message of being a trans-inclusive organisation. 

  • Since 2009 St Catherine’s College has been converting gendered toilet facilities into gender neutral facilities. 90% had become gender neutral by as early as 2012.
  • In response to comments that the shortage of gender neutral toilets near the bar and theatre posed difficulties for transgender or transitioning students, Wadham College refurbished toilets near the JCR bar to make them gender neutral.
Wadham is an excellent example of gender-neutral toilet provision on a college level, as gender-neutral toilets are clearly marked and offered in prominent public spaces (e.g. the bar) as well as in staircases or accommodation. The Counselling Service and Disability Advisory Service have gender-neutral toilets, as does the OUSU building where Student Advice Services are based. While gender-neutral toilets should be provided wherever possible, their provision in relation to support services is especially important. (Student)