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Gender Fluidity: Gender Neutral Toilets In Sugarhouse

Let me start this article by painting a real-life scenario, which took place a couple of weeks back. It’s your typical Friday night, I’m out with my housemates and naturally Sugar is our desired final destination. Upon entering the club the first thing we do is make our way to the toilets, because, well, you know what goes down during pre-drinks. Having just entered I turn around and see my friend Will casually waiting with me in the corner. Suddenly I realise this is not the female toilet, and weirdly enough it’s not the male toilet either, so where am I?! That was basically my experience upon entering gender-neutral toilets for the very first time. Despite my initial confusion, what I noticed was that the surrounding atmosphere did not differ much from the one in a single-sex toilet with girls taking unsuccessful mirror selfies and guys complaining about the multiple rejections they’ve been getting throughout the night.

Prior to delving into this highly sensitive topic, I wanted to make sure I had done my homework and was thoroughly informed, so to handle it with as much caution as possible. And I must admit that what I found contributed to a significant change in my attitude towards this new addition to The Sugarhouse interior. For example, I was unaware of the fact that 30% of young transgender people define themselves as non-binary and having them specify the exact gender they identify with when performing an act as basic as going to the toilet often brings anxiety, stress and even fear of possible acts of violence. The trans-friendly toilets in Sugar could be seen as a brilliant way to raise awareness to the existing inequalities LGBTQ+ individuals and victims face, to set an example for venues across the country.

In order to get a more objective overview of the existing attitudes held by students about the new gender-neutral toilets, I also conducted an anonymous survey, which, despite it being considerably limited, suggested some intriguing and valid points. One of them touched upon the fact that while these toilets were aimed at making Sugar more welcoming to a wider proportion of the student population, however, the actual number of transgender students in Lancaster was unspecified and there were still no plans for the development of toilets for students with disabilities. Another point was raised about the possible safety risks posed by this particular shared space, such as the lack of supervision, the possible intoxication of the students and consequently the lack of boundaries that is common for nightclubs in general. However, the response that definitely caught my attention suggested that even though there are some uncertainties revolving around it, the existence of the gender-neutral toilets in Sugar was definitely a step forward to helping spread the notion of gender fluidity within our society.

Bearing in mind that gender-neutral toilets as a whole are still a novelty and a work in progress, the existence of some queries and differences in people’s attitudes regarding this recent addition to The Sugarhouse, in my opinion at least, are completely normal. 

Heey guys! I'm Vesela, or just V, and I'm a Bulgarian doing an Advertising and Marketing degree in Lancaster university, UK. My head is basically a jungle of thoughts and doubts, so it makes it easier if I just put everything on paper. 
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