Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Universities – Heralds Of The Future

A row has broken out at the University of Manchester after its students' union toilets were "de-gendered".

Temporary signs have made the "ladies" simply "toilets", while the "gents" have become "toilets with urinals".
So, some institutions aren’t short of cash, then…? And the reason for this bizarre decision?
The changes are in response to an unspecified number of complaints from trans students who are uncomfortable using the men's toilets.
An ‘unspecified number’ being how many? More than one? Nice cost-benefit analysis there…
A university newspaper criticised the move but the student union said it was needed to tackle transphobia.
Ah, yes, another totally made-up word to describe the not-unreasonable suggestion that biological females would be unhappy sharing their toilet facilities with someone who isn’t female. (I note there’s been no complaints the other way…!).
Welfare officer Jennie Killip told the BBC:"If you were born female, still present quite feminine, but define as a man you should be able to go into the men's toilets - if that's how you define.

"You don't necessarily have had to have gender reassignment surgery, but you could just define yourself as a man, feel very masculine in yourself, feel that in fact being a woman is not who you are."
Excellent! I’m defining myself as a racehorse, then entering the Derby, and I’ll sue if anyone tries to deny me the right!. What, that’s ridiculous, you say? Well, not really any more ridiculous than the above, is it?

I have a certain amount of sympathy for anyone with a condition that makes them believe that they are born the ‘wrong’ sex. And following the successful completion of the necessary surgery, see no problem with allowing them into their ‘new’ sex’s toilets (And yes, I’m quite aware that that’s purely cosmetic change, and their DNA still marks them as ‘male’). But that’s not what is being asked here, and airhead ‘Welfare Officer’ Ms Killip is well aware of this.

I’d also question her role as ‘Welfare Officer’, because the cause she champions risks upsetting a greater proportion of the students than she may have anticipated:
Asked about the change, some female students questioned the move.

One said: "Girls might not want to use the same toilets as boys, so then you just end up with people complaining about that - so you can't really win.

Another told the BBC: "I personally wouldn't want to be in the same toilet as a man."
Hmmm, more indoctrination needed for these two, I think. Don’t they recognise where they come in the hierarchy of Victimhood Poker? Hint, ladies: it’s not above the ‘needs’ of those who can’t make up their minds if they’re Mark or Martha. ‘Welfare Officer’ Killip is on a mission!

This appears to have sparked a bit of internecine warfare:
The move prompted an editorial in campus newspaper Student Direct last week which criticised the new arrangements.

Newspaper spokeswoman Susannah Birkwood said: "The toilets have been provided for men who don't self identify as men and women who don't think of themselves as women.

"Whether or not this is political correctness gone mad.. because it certainly seems that way to some members of our student community."
Nothing nicer than seeing lefties turning on each other

6 comments:

little davey cameron said...

Tell them you're a Muslim, you're against ungodly mixed toilets, & you demand that they be demolished on the grounds that they cause you offence, & whether or not you're offended by something should determine whether or not it happens, regardless of reality...

Umbongo said...

A possible solution is to have 4 sets of toilet: for men, women, transgender (men moving womanwards), transgender (women moving manwards). A diversity and welfare officer (toilets) should be on duty at each of the facilities to see that the users are both going into the correct facility and that each facility is used "appropriately" (eg no one urinating in a standing position in the women's or transgender (men moving womanwards) units).

I think that solves this particular knotty problem - next case please!

JuliaM said...

"Tell them you're a Muslim, you're against ungodly mixed toilets..."

It'll be interesting to see if anyone tries this tack - for real, or just for a laugh.

"I think that solves this particular knotty problem..."

Well, they'd still be better off than in classes learning useless subjects like 'media studies', it's true... ;)

dominic said...

Oh my God that's quite the loopiest thing I've seen for some time.

"It's political correctness gone mad, I tell you".

Stephen Fry's adage "you're offended, so fucking what" really ought to be brought into the vocabulary of the petit-bureaucrats who make such petty, crazy decisions

clarissa said...

I realise that I might regret commenting but here goes anyway...

As one of those who does identify as transexual and who is in the process of under going the cosmetic change [sic] I must admit even I feel somewhat bemused by this.

Either make toilets completely unisex (no urinals and fully enclosed cubicles) or stick to the generally accepted wisdom of allowing people to use the loos appropriate to their presentation at the time. Whichever you choose there is certainly no need for such a pointless rebranding exercise as this.

But then again what else can you expect from a member of a students' union?

JuliaM said...

"there is certainly no need for such a pointless rebranding exercise as this."

Indeed - a move designed to piss off 99.9% of the student population isn't likely to make them feel warmly towards the 0.1% that are apparently requesting this. If it's even as high as that...

Incidentally, the barking Ms Killip was interviewed on the 'Jeremy Vine' show on Radio 2 this afternoon, and came over as exactly the kind of humourless, indoctinated, pretentious little jackboot-wearer-in-training that she appeared to be from the paper report.

She decried the use of the phrase 'PC gone mad' to describe her suggestion as the pejorative use of the word mad was 'disabalist'...

I expect she's scotched any future employment opportunities with any but the most 'right on' organisations in future with this little performance alone, regardless of her eventual grades.