UNIVERSITY POLICIES CONCERNING WOMAN-ONLY FACILITIES

EXPLORATORY CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF CONCERN

Calling students, staff, and members of the public who use - or would like to use – local sports or other relevant facilities owned by the following universities:

Bristol University

Cambridge University

Cardiff University

Leeds University

Leeds Beckett University

Manchester University

Nottingham University

Roehampton University

UCL

University of Kent

Are you a student, staff member, or member of the public, whose use of any University facilities, including sports facilities, has been affected by the policies summarised and quoted from below – including inhibiting or preventing your use of them?

You may be (not an exhaustive list):

  • A survivor of sexual assault, whose use of women-only changing rooms or showers or other spaces in these Universities is effectively inhibited or prevented, given these policies.
  • A member of a religious group, where membership effectively inhibits or prevents presence in University women-only or men-only spaces, given these policies.
  • A person who feels strongly that these policies violate rights to privacy or some other rights, so that presence in University spaces is effectively inhibited or prevented.
  • A parent, concerned about bringing young children into relevant University spaces, given these policies.

If any of this applies to you, and you are concerned about it, please contact me at Kathleenstock@protonmail.com to confidentially start a conversation about the possibility of helping with a supported legal challenge.

These policies are – arguably - in contravention of the UK Equality Act and urgently need amendment. The best way to test this definitively is in court.

Bristol University

Their policy on facilities says: “Access to facilities: A trans person should have access to ‘men-only’ and ‘women-only’ areas – such as changing rooms and toilets – according to whichever they feel most comfortable with. This may mean that a person changes the facilities they use at some point throughout their transition”

The same policy defines a “trans person” "transitioning" and "gender identity" as follows:

Trans - an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as or does not sit comfortably with the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, non-binary, genderqueer (GQ).

Transitioning – the steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify. Each person’s transition will involve different things. For some this involves medical intervention, such as hormone therapy and surgeries, but not all trans people want or are able to have this.”

Gender identity – a person’s internal sense of their own gender, whether male, female or anything in between”

Cambridge University

Their policy says:

“Once an individual has transitioned they are entitled to access the facilities of the acquired gender. For example, when a staff member transitions they will want to use the facilities, such as toilets and changing rooms, for their acquired gender.”

The same policy defines “transition” and “acquired gender” as follows:

“Transition: This refers to the process and/or the period of time during which gender reassignment occurs (whether with or without medical intervention).”

“Acquired Gender The new gender of a person who has undergone gender reassignment. Note: surgical intervention is not necessary in order to acquire a new gender.”

Cardiff University

Their policy says:

“You have a legal right under the Equality Act 2010 to access facilities – such as changing rooms and toilets – according to the gender with which you identify. This may mean that you may change the facilities you use at the point when you start to live in your affirmed gender. Ultimately it is your choice to use whichever facilities you feel comfortable using.”

The same policy defines “gender identity” as:

“Gender identity - a person’s internal perception of their identity”

Leeds University

Their policy says: “Trans people can use single-sex facilities (such as toilets and changing rooms) according to their self-identified gender.”

The same policy defines “trans” and “transition”:

“Transgender, often shortened to ‘trans’, is a term that describes people whose gender is different to the one they were assigned at birth. For example, a trans man is a man who was assigned female at birth.”

“Transition refers to the steps that a trans person takes so that their presentation or body better reflects their gender. Transitioning can, but does not need to, include the following: using different pronouns, choosing a different name, wearing different clothes, using different gender facilities, changing gender or sex markers on official records, taking hormones or having surgery. Not all trans people choose to transition.”

Leeds Beckett University

Their policy says: “Where gendered toilets or changing facilities are provided, Trans staff, students and visitors are entitled to use the toilets and facilities according to their self-identified gender. It is not acceptable to restrict Trans people to using disabled toilets or other gender neutral facilities and they are able to use whichever gender toilet they are comfortable using.”

The same policy defines “gender identity” and “trans” as:

“Gender identity - a person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else (see non-binary below), which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.”

“Trans – an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) Transgender, Transsexual, Gender-queer (GQ), Gender-fluid, Non-binary, Gender- variant, Crossdresser, Genderless, Agender, Nongender, Third gender, Two-spirit, Bi-gender, Transman, Transwoman, Trans masculine, Trans feminine and Neutrois.

Manchester University

Their policy says: “When a person transitions, they usually start to use the facilities that are appropriate for their gender identity, e.g. Trans women use the female facilities, Trans men use male facilities. Non-binary people will use the facility that seems most appropriate to them.”

The same policy defines “trans person” as follows:

“Trans is an umbrella term encompassing all those who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, including but not limited to those who are transgender, transsexual, and non-binary.”

Nottingham University

Their policy says: “A trans person should have access to ‘men-only’ and ‘women-only’ areas according to the gender in which they live permanently. It should be agreed with the individual the point at which the use of facilities such as changing rooms, shower rooms and toilets change from one sex to the other.”

The same policy defines “trans person” as follows:

“The word ‘Trans’ can be used without offence to identify:

1 1. People undergoing gender Transition (commonly referred to as a ‘sex change’).

1.2. People who identify themselves as someone with a different gender from that assigned to them at birth, but who may have decided not to undergo medical treatment.

1.3. People who choose to dress in the clothing typically worn by the other sex. It is worth noting that every person is different: some people transition from one gender to another with ease and others do not; some people will transition to their preferred gender fulltime and others will choose to live in their preferred gender part-time.”

Roehampton University

Their policy says: “The key principles of this policy are to: Treat people as their self-determined gender. This includes the use of facilities, including toilets”

“Trans, non-binary and intersex people are entitled to access any single-sex facilities e.g. toilets and changing rooms according to the gender by which they identify.”

“Trans, non-binary and intersex students should have the same access to field trips alongside other students. In all aspects, they should be treated in their self-determined gender. The University will endeavour to support the student in finding toilets, showers, changing facilities and room allocation with which the student feels comfortable.”

“Some gender variant people such as non-binary people may not feel particularly comfortable in gendered spaces, so you may wish to think about not allocating dorms based on the gender binary, and offering gender neutral facilities.”

The same policy defines “gender identity” as follows:

“A person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else (see non-binary below), which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.”

UCL

Their policy says: “On campus, trans students can use ‘men only’ or ‘women only’ changing rooms or toilets according to which one they feel most comfortable in, or that they feel is most appropriate for them.”

“There are also many gender neutral toilets in UCL’s main buildings. Trans students should not feel restricted to using them, however, as like all students they are free to choose whether to use same sex or gender neutral facilities.”

The same policy defines “trans” as follows:

“The term ‘Trans’ is used throughout this document and is intended to be an inclusive term. It is not generally considered to be an offensive term and can be used to describe any student who:

  • is undergoing gender transition
  • identifies as someone with a different gender from that which they were assigned at birth, but who may have decided not to undergo medical treatment. This could include how someone presents through dress
  • identifies as non-binary which means their gender identity is not exclusively male or female, and could identify as both or neither or something else entirely.”

University of Kent

Their policy says: “Trans students are free to use any gendered changing facility or toilet of their choice on campus, however there are gender neutral facilities if these are preferred.”

“It is not acceptable to restrict a trans student to using disabled toilets or other unisex facilities.”

“There are no gender neutral changing or toilet facilities at Medway Park, however students are free to use the gendered changing or toilet facilities of their choice.”

The same policy defines “trans” as:

“An inclusive term for those who identify themselves as transgender. The word ‘trans’ can be used without offence to cover people undergoing gender transition; people who identify as someone with a different gender from that assigned at birth but who may have decided not to undergo medical treatment.”