A Christian school has installed gender-neutral toilets – because it’s the best move for students.
Bishop of Llandaff, a Welsh secondary school for 11 to 18-year-olds, made the announcement this week as the new school year began.
It follows the news that Priory School in south England has made its uniform gender-neutral, banning skirts in an effort to be more inclusive of its transgender students.
Bishop of Llandaff, which is based in Cardiff, tweeted pictures of the new toilets, saying: “Welcome to our new ‘open plan’ gender neutral toilet facilities in A block.”
Welcome to our new "open plan" gender neutral toilet facilities in A block. These are in addition to existing boys/girls toilets 1/2 pic.twitter.com/qSZYF59dsB
— Bishop of Llandaff (@Bishop_Llandaff) September 4, 2017
The facilities, which will be available alongside pre-existing boys and girls toilets, were put in place “for practical reasons,” said headteacher Marc Belli.
The headteacher, who has been in place since 2014, told Wales Online that the move just made sense.
“The facilities were made specifically for us, with floor to ceiling doors, and we felt it more appropriate to say that each cubicle should be available to all as opposed to separating them by gender.”
He explained: “We put gender neutral in our tweet, but it’s not meant to be a gender issue.”
“Our toilet facilities have not had any significant investment for a number of years.
“We decided for open plan facilities, which is in line with virtually all new existing buildings for the positive reasons associated with this.”
Belli also tweeted photos of the new toilets on his personal account, with the message: “Great to see the finished product.
— Marc Belli (@marc_be11i) September 4, 2017
“Our new gender neutral loos at school…Massive improvement and worth every penny!”
He said that students had been told about the new toilets, and that “boys and girls have already divided each side of the open-plan toilets.
“The boys have already gravitated to the left side of the corridor and girls to the right.”
But, he said, this was what the school had anticipated.
“We didn’t want to create a situation where children would have to wait to use any specific section if there were cubicles free.
“If this is how the children use them, this is fine, as we are only concerned about students having access to high-quality toilet facilities.”
There has been some backlash on social media, but the majority of responses seem to be positive.
One person tweeted: “I think all schools should follow this. It makes using restrooms much easier for a number of LGBT+ students”.
And another commented: “Swish! Well done, nicer than when I was at school. And choice to use gender specific ones too.
“What’s not to like?”
Well said, that person.