Monday, July 30, 2007

Law and Toilets...

Hmmm. I've been doing some research on British Law as it relates to the transgender person and toilet facilities.

First, to get it out of the way, the Licensing Act 2003 makes no mention of toilet facilities, except as an Environmental Health issue. See Great Yarmouth Borough Council Statement of Licensing Policy for more information.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that workers must have access to separate toilet facilities, but does not specify how they are used. However a test cast of a pre-op failed because the person had had worked for the company as a man, and female co-workers were uncomfortable with 'her' presence. Here I think the key aspect is that complaints were made.

Also, see what the the Equal Opportunities Comission says on a related topic:

Can a pub refuse to serve a transsexual person?

Discrimination against transsexual people is unfortunately not unlawful in the area of goods facilities and services as it is in employment but there is a strong argument that it should be so. Test cases still need to be brought on this issue in the County Court. So far, cases have been taken to clarify the law on this issue but have settled before hearing. In one case, a transsexual woman had visited a pub on a number of occasions when she was told by the landlord not to come to the pub any more because he claimed that her presence was affecting his business. The case settled with the landlord acknowledging that he had discriminated unlawfully against her. She received an apology and an undertaking from the landlord not to discriminate against her in future, as well as compensation and a contribution to her legal costs.

Its a tricky subject. The statute law pre-dates the Gender Recognition Act, and there is not enough case law for there to be a clear direction.

Plus all of it hinges on officially labelling oneself Transgender.

I don't think I'll be taking V to court any time soon. I think I'll settle for boycotting the place and telling my tale.

Its a dive anyway. I'll suffer no hardship.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. And agreed, I wouldn't bother going back anyway. :)

Charlee said...

It's infuriating. It should be illegal. I had this discussion on Sunday, and there are plenty of laws in place to "protect" men and women in public toilets from unwanted behaviour, the same laws that protect them outside the toilets in fact.

I will never object to anyone who wishes to use the ladies, as long as they treat the facilities with some respect. If you tinkle... etc

And I've been known to use the mens' in the past when the queue's been too long in the ladies. Plegh. Sometimes the law of this land defeats me.

Charlee said...

When i say "it should be illegal" I am of course referring to the discrimination ;)

Pandora Caitiff said...

I knew what you meant Charlee! I've seen plenty of women queue-jump and use the gents!

Adding more fire to the debate: the gents toilets in question are only accessed by three steep, narrow steps. I wonder if they have measures in place for men with mobility issues?

I feel an email coming on...

Chrissy J. said...

As I understand, there is no law, per se, that forbids a man from using the Ladies', or a woman using the Gents'. In the worst case, the guilty party could be held to be 'breaching the peace' (or in the case of a woman in the Gents', 'importuning for sex'), but so long as you are swift in your exit, you'll never be caught for it even if someone complains.

But... this applies to public toilets such as the council maintain.
Those contained within a public house (or nightclub) are effectively private property and as such, you really need the permission of the owner or manager. Which no-one ever asks for, 'cos it's just silly really...

What do I think personally? V's whistling out of her arse.
The GenderTerror squad are looking for work, y'know... and I can sell you some Window Bricks...