Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Restroom for Transgender People

A couple days ago, another news article appeared describing how the University of Manchester in England has renamed their restrooms from "Men" and "Women" to a more practical label - "toilets with urinals" and "toilets."

Although not quite elegant, this is another effort to address appropriate usage of restrooms for men, women, or transgendered people. Let the user decide.

Earlier this year another article appeared describing a Thailand secondary school designating a bathroom specifically for transgender people, labeling it the "transvestite toilet." This label in Thailand actually does not have a strong stigma as it does in the U.S., as transgender people in Thailand are quite common.

The bathroom issue still remains to be a large mental issue for most people - both traditional men and women and for transgender people. For transgender individuals going through a formal transition plan in a company with anti-discrimination policies on gender identity and/or gender expression, typically the bathroom usage policy guides the transitioning individual to use the appropriate restroom matching his/her new gender identity post-transition, to help the transition be successful and to help the individual be accepted in the newly assumed identity.

More examples of facilities usage by transgender people in company transition plans is well explained by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss, an expert on Transgender issues who addresses the topic in her blog, website, and book, Transgender Workplace Diversity: Policy Tools, Training Issues and Communication Strategies for HR and Legal Professionals.

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