Date
25 August 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.

Sign saying, This restroom is for everyone.

Source: GenderNeutral.co.nz (opens in a new tab/window)

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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