Date
21 April 2019

Provide accessible, gender-neutral toilets

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Address immediate environmental, physical and social needs’

On this page:

Understand threats to wellbeing

Understand threats to wellbeing

Design toilets with physical and emotional safety in mind.

Many LGBTIQA+ students:

  • have experienced verbal slurs relating to gender identity
  • are worried about threats of physical harm or harassment
  • feel uncomfortable getting changed in front of others
  • are unable to access a space aligned to their gender identity
  • “hold on” or have to travel longer distances to get to assigned safe spaces
  • need to change in spaces with peers who have caused harassment.

Source: Why transgender students need safe bathrooms (opens in a new tab/window)

Ask students about their experiences

Ask students about their experiences

Consider the impact of student experiences on learning. Ask them how you can help.

When I was about nine I had an incident at school where another girl said,

“Aren’t you in the wrong toilets?”

So I stopped using toilets in public altogether.

It was such an awkward experience and I didn’t want to repeat it so I just stopped drinking water and went to the toilet at home.

14-year-old trans student

Invest in inclusive signage options

Invest in inclusive signage options

Review toilet facility options to ensure students have choices of appropriate spaces.

Build code-compliant toilets

Build code-compliant toilets

Gender-neutral toilets must comply with the New Zealand Building Code, which states that:

  • each facility must be in a self-contained unit with full-height doors and walls to maintain privacy
  • each facility must contain a toilet, basin, and sanitary item disposal area (where required)
  • each facility must be located so that access is not through an area restricted to one sex.

Source: Supporting transgender student inclusion in a changing legal environment (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Toilet Reference Designs for School Buildings in New Zealand: Toilets

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Visit website

Compliance document for New Zealand building code clause G1 personal hygiene second edition

Compliance document for New Zealand building code clause G1 personal hygiene – second edition

Read time: 46 min

Publisher: Department of Building and Housing

Download PDF

Website

School installs toilet for transgender pupil, aged 6

Publisher: New Zealand Herald

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Address immediate environmental, physical and social needs”:

Return to the guide “Supporting LGBTIQA+ students”

Guide to Index of the guide: LGBTIQA+ students

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