Student row over unisex toilets for transsexuals

Students at the University of Manchester have succumbed to calls for male and female signs to be removed from lavatory doors for fear of offending transsexuals.

The student union’s ladies’ and men’s lavatories will now be labelled respectively ‘toilet’ and ‘toilet with urinals’. Some lavatories in the building will retain their original signs.

One student at the university said: “This is ridiculous. It is just too much political correctness.”

Women’s officer Jennie Killip defended the move, although she would not reveal how many complaints had been received from transsexual students.

“If you were born female, still presently quite feminine, but defined as a man you should be able to go into the men’s toilets.

“You don’t necessarily have to have had gender reassignment surgery, but you could just define yourself as a man, feel very masculine in yourself, feel that in fact being a woman is not who you are.

“Transgender people can face violence and abuse when they go into toilets and we wanted to provide a place where they can feel comfortable.

“I have had complaints from people who said we didn’t have any facilities for them.”

However, the controversial move has been criticised in a student newspaper editorial. Second-year student Jane McConnell, 19, a news editor on the newspaper, said: “While these signs might be appropriate for people with different sexualities, I also think that many people from different religious and ethnic groups are going to feel uncomfortable using these facilities.

“Even though they’re just two signs, at the end of the day, toilets should be for women and for men specifically, not for both.”

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