According to The Scotsman, the Scottish government has updated its guidelines for school buildings, which originally required an equal amount of bathrooms for girls and boys. The new regulations include a requirement for an equal number of gender-neutral bathrooms, as well.
The new regulations read, "The School Premises Regulations do not prescribe standards for accessible sanitary facilities for persons with a disability or refer to unisex toilets that could address gender issues. Therefore, the Regulation needs to be updated and simplified to meet current expectations.”
James Norton, Scottish Trans Alliance Manager for the Equality Network, applauded the move, telling The Scotsman that a significant number of schools in Scotland have already seen success after implementing gender-neutral bathrooms.
"They are particularly beneficial for transgender young people because otherwise transgender pupils often fear going to the toilet so much that they refuse to drink liquids during the day and experience dehydration," he told The Scotsman.
Indeed, a study from the Williams Institute UCLA School of Law from 2013 found that 54% of people surveyed reported having a physical problem from trying to avoid public restrooms — including dehydration and urinary tract infections.
It's not clear when the regulations will be implemented in Scotland, but the government's move seems to indicate an understanding for the needs of transgender, non-binary, and even differently-abled students.
"Gender neutral toilets are not a radical new idea, they have been commonplace in schools and public venues across Europe for many years," Norton told The Scotsman. "Indeed, we all use gender neutral toilets every day without thinking about it - on planes, trains, and most importantly - in our homes."
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