Australian city pushes to install signs at all public toilets giving transgender people the right to use either men’s or women’s bathrooms
- Hobart is floating the idea of installing permanent signs on all 102 public toilets
- Trans advocates say it would break down stigma and change people’s attitudes
- But women’s groups argue their safety will be put at risk if the move goes ahead
Hobart is floating the idea of installing signs on public toilets giving transgender people the right to use either the men’s or women’s bathrooms.
The Hobart City Council have already thrown their support behind temporary signs, but women’s groups have argued their safety could be put at risk if permanent signage gets the green light.
Transgender advocates are calling for all 102 public toilets across the city to have fixed signs installed, saying the choice between bathrooms will help change attitudes and improve safety for the ‘gender diverse’.
But non-binary councillor Holly Ewin said the signs would break down stigma.
The Hobart City Council have already thrown their support behind temporary signs, but women’s groups have argued their safety could be put at risk if it gets the green light (stock image)
‘Trans people are among the highest percentage of people who are most likely to get assaulted, particularly in bathrooms,’ she told The Australian.
But Women Speak Tasmania spokeswoman Bronwyn Williams said they’re worried females could get approached by male-born people.
‘We are in no way saying that all transgender women are sexual predators. What we are saying is that women have no way of knowing if a man is a sexual predator or not,’ she said.
‘If I had daughters, I wouldn’t be letting them go in by themselves if this sort of policy was in place and there is a sign saying “if you see a man, just accept that he’s a woman and respect his identity”.’
Council officers said the changes would come at a cost of $2,550.
The council now has the task of figuring out which groups to involve in the designing of the signs.
Transgender groups are against local feminist group Women Speak Tasmania being consulted.
Ms Ewin suggested a sign urging restroom users who think ‘the wrong person is using this bathroom’ to ‘respect their privacy’, ‘respect their identity’, and ‘carry on with your day’, but call security ‘if you feel unsafe’.
Parks and Recreation committee chair Jeff Briscoe said he is leaning towards separate male and female toilets, while ordering that new bathrooms offer unisex options.
The committee and the council are expected to make a decision next month.
Hobart is floating the idea of installing permanent signs on all 102 public toilets, giving transgender people the right to use either the men’s or women’s bathrooms