Alexis was a student at Leeds University who wanted to go to the toilet. One day, when two females saw her there, they shouted at her and shoved her out. She was just a female trying to do her business. Unfortunately, the main reason why the two girls had abused her that way was because she was a transgender female undergoing male-to-female transition.
A lot of people in this society expect others to conform to stereotypical views on what a male and female is in order to do their business. This includes the assumption that all males have penises and all females have vaginas. There is a distinction between sex and gender. This difference was not considered when toilets were increasingly being segregated.
Although gendered toilet signs give cisgender people the privacy and acknowledgement they need, it does not do the same for queer people. Those girls who abused Alexis in the toilet did not acknowledge her as a female and felt it was an invasion of their privacy. The security guard who was informed of Alexis’ situation understood and explained the situation to Alexis’ abusers, but what if the security guard was not there?
Since most publicly accessible toilets are unguarded unless it’s specially made for rich or royal people, this worsens situations for queer people. Every time they enter a gendered toilet, they take a risk. If people do not want to feel like their privacy is being invaded by queer people and queer people don’t like to feel unwelcome in toilets, then there’s a simple answer to that: Install unisex toilets, so that anyone who enters will be aware of the presence of queer people and not perceive it as an unexpected invasion.
If our university does not install unisex toilets soon, queer students could be more at risk of being mentally affected by such unwanted and horrible treatments. No one deserves to be abused just because they had to go to the toilet; no one deserves to be abused for being who they are. Everyone deserves the freedom of expression.
Want to read more about Alexis’ case in the news? Click here.