Near the end of the 1800s, many Victorian women had to regularly go into public spaces, be seen in them, and have public toilets built for them. Factories and workshops, because of the Industrial Revolution, were the reason why women had to be in public.
Women’s organizations like the Ladies Sanitary Association wrote letters and did public lectures as their effort to have the goal of public “water closets” finally built for Women. Men, for decades, already had public toilets built for only them.
The Ladies Sanitary Association started pamphleting in 1878 for women to have public toilets for them built in London. The LSA wrote a proposal to every vestry (or council) in London for women to finally have their own public toilets.
Rose Adams, the secretary for the LSA, wrote the following letter to the Bethnal Green Vestry on December 3rd, 1878:
Ladies’ Sanitary Association,
22, Berners Street, Oxford Street, W.,
London, December 3rd, 1878.
ROSE ADAMS, Secretary. (St. Matthew Parish Council, 1879, pp. 49-51).
But it was in 1889 that a public washroom was finally constructed for not only Men. Women finally had a washroom built for them:
“London’s local authorities finally began to take notice of women’s needs. The vestries of the West End, in particular, realised women shoppers were increasingly important to local businesses – and whilst new department stores provided some toilet facilities, the charge of ‘selfish inequality’ in existing provision was hard to deny. The West End vestries also had no wish to be bettered by the City of London. Thus, they decided to copy the much praised model of the Royal Exchange – the underground convenience – while also providing for both sexes. St James’s Westminster took the lead, opening an underground convenience at Piccadilly Circus in 1889.” (Jackson, 2014, p. 177).
Right now, I’m wondering if urinals would be put into Women’s washrooms because there are many men who gender as women who also keep their penises. Wouldn’t the “women with penises” want to be accommodated with urinals? This would be trans-progressive.
However, urinals have already been installed in the Women’s only restroom. The Barbican Centre in London had revised its Women’s restrooms to be “Gender neutral with urinals and cubicles” and “Gender neutral cubicles only”. This change benefitted men because they could use both the “gender neutral” washroom and the Men’s public washroom. BBC journalist Samira Ahmed commented on this loss for natal women by tweeting (Ahmed, 2017):
“Dear @BarbicanCentre women’s loos labelled “gender neutral” [are] so full of men who ALSO have a ‘urinal’ to themselves. Totally ridiculous.”
“Why do women lose our space to men?”
“Or just turn the gents into gender neutral loos. There’s NEVER such a queue there & you know it. Thank you.”
So Transgender Politics brings an end to specifically the Women’s public washroom because of gender dysphoric men colonizing these public toilets. The urinal is now in the Women’s washroom, which is a loss for natal women and a gain for men with or without gender dysphoria. Men can now use urinals in either the “Gender neutral” washroom or the Men’s washroom. The hard work of Victorian women has been erased and revised to be “gender neutral“. Women are back to facing public toilets primarily existing for Men because of urinals being present in what was the Women’s public washroom.
St. Matthew (Bethnal Green, London, England) Parish Council. (1879). Report on the sanitary condition and vital statistics of the parish of St. Matthew, Bethnal Green during the year 1878. In Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Bethnal Green (pp. 49-51). Forsaith Brothers Printers, London, England. Retrieved from https://wellcomelibrary.org/item/b19952715
Jackson, L. (2014). Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=FWY3BQAAQBAJ&pg=PA177
Samira, A. (2017, April 4). Dear @BarbicanCentre women’s loos labelled “gender neutral” [are] so full of men who ALSO have a ‘urinal’ to themselves. Totally ridiculous [Twitter]. Retrieved from https://mobile.twitter.com/SamiraAhmedUK/status/849338626202886144