New public buildings will be required to have separate single-sex toilets under government plans, it has been reported.
Schools, hospitals, offices and entertainment venues over a certain size will be among the spaces impacted, in a bid from ministers to stop venues from having solely gender-neutral facilities.
It’s believed the move is being pushed by Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch who thinks it is both legal and necessary to have single-sex space for both men and women.
It is understood to have been quietly approved by ministers last month.
It comes after transgender rights campaigners previously argued that gender-neutral toilets can reassure transgender people who fear discrimination in binary bathrooms.
The change will see planning and building regulations require new buildings to have a self-contained space for women-only facilities, and partitions in current unisex bathrooms.
Buildings undergoing refurbishment, where consent is required for the works, will also be impacted.
A government source told The Telegraph: ‘It is vital that women feel safe and comfortable when using public facilities and that there is a greater emphasis on provision that is focused on dignity, privacy, tolerance and respect for all.
‘These changes will stop the march of “universal” and forced sharing of spaces – with a focus on guaranteeing privacy for all.’
Ms Badenoch’s proposals, reportedly set to be announced next week, are likely to be presented to the public as a ‘common sense’ approach.
They follow a review by former housing secretary Robert Jenrick, who proposed a rewrite of planning regulations in favour of unisex facilities.
The change was reportedly spurred after a number of women raised concerns about the lack of privacy in gender-neutral toilets in public buildings.
Campaigners Fair Play for Women claim same-sex facilities ‘disadvantage’ women.
‘Many women and girls are unwilling to walk past the urinals to get to the cubicles in the former men’s facilities’, they told the government.
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