“PUBLIC loos are a feminist issue and if they’re not, well, then they should be.”
“Most of us women do not want to urinate in public. […] Some, tanked up on a night out, do it in the street at one in the morning but the rest of us, quite frankly, are a bit more civilized than that.”
“We need privacy and that comes in the form of a cubicle because we can’t and don’t use urinals like men, not being in possession of that handy little gadget that allows men to wee standing up.”
“Women have to go into the cubicle, lock the door, partially undress, put loo paper on the seat (not entirely necessary but many of us don’t want to sit on an unclean seat), wee, wipe, dress…”
“And in the politically correct rush […]”
‘[…] to start desegregating public facilities as gender neutral, women’s privacy and safety have not been taken into account. They may well address the concerns of transgender people who face intimidation and harassment in gender segregated facilities […] but they don’t address the safety concerns of women who make up a far greater proportion of the population.”
“On a more trivial level, can we trust men to put the seat down afterwards? Can we trust them not to wee all over the seat we women have to sit down on? Yuk. No, thanks.”This is straying dangerously into the “boys are gross and have cooties” territory, which is really best left behind in kindergarten (or better yet, never introduced into our consciousness in the first place… side tangent: where does this idea come from?) Women wee all over the seat too... especially when they buy into the previously mentioned germophobia and insist on hovering above it.
"What it all comes back to is a lack of public facilities particularly for women. Women have long complained about this problem but they are not being listened to. I don’t think women are being consulted when new buildings are being designed or about existing public toilets. And I don’t think we are making enough noise about it."
In and of itself I can't fault any of these statements. Yes, there is a lack of facilities. And toilet design in a field historically dominated by heterosexual cis-gended men, and therefore the facilities are designed with their bodies and comfort in mind. So by all means let's make noise about it! But lets do it in a way that looks forward rather than drags us backwards.
And I'm unsatisfied with my own response because I don't know what all the answers are. But whatever they are I think they have to do with much wider questions than public toilets. Because these places don't exist in isolation. They are a reflection, perhaps even an amplification of, our cultural beliefs about bodies, gender, class, morality and propriety.