Row over Scottish theatre toilet that lets visitors ‘self-ID their gender’

A WOMEN’S group has hit out at a theatre that says visitors should use the toilet that best fits their gender identity.

The Dundee Rep Theatre. Picture: TSPL
The Dundee Rep Theatre. Picture: TSPL

Campaigner Diane Jones, of the Defend Women’s Rights! Campaign, posted a picture of the sign after attending All My Sons at the Dundee Rep Theatre.

It reads: “Everybody is welcome here. Please use the bathroom that best fits your gender identity.”

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The Rep’s management maintain the new signage promotes “equality, diversity and inclusion”, and that they are operating within the parameters of the law.

But Diane says the sign goes against the Equality Act and prompts fears over privacy.

She said: “If people can self-ID, then malebodied people can get access to women’s spaces. In many cases, this has led to an increase in sexual assaults and issues with privacy. The Rep Theatre hasn’t acknowledged that they haven’t thought this through.”

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Diane was on a visit to the theatre from her home in Newcastle, and says the experience was said her visit to the Rep was “marred” by seeing the signage.

She said: “I was visiting Dundee and went to see All My Sons on Wednesday.

“I was in the queue for the toilets when I saw the sign and took a photo.

“I’m part of a national campaign on this issue. None of us are anti-trans, we want trans rights and also women’s rights.

“The stumbling block for us is that gender identity essentially means self-ID, so anybody can say they identify as a woman and vice versa.

“This goes against the Equality Act, which gives women protected spaces such as toilets and changing facilities.

A spokeswoman from the Rep explained only the toilets on the upper floor of the venue had the signage, while the facilities on the ground floor remained separated into “male” and “female”.

In an official statement, a spokesperson for the Rep added: “Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre are dedicated to a culture that places equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the heart of all we do, our toilet signage reflects that. We aim to ensure that all visitors to Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre feel welcome.

“Following discussions with our EDI group we added ‘every body is welcome here’ signs to the male and female toilets in our upper foyer. We understand that some visitors may not be comfortable with these signs, and for this reason we have not added these signs to toilets in our lower foyer.

“We are confident that we are operating within the parameters of the law and that our policy ensures there are toilet facilities in public spaces that meet the needs of all our customers.

“We continue to monitor changes in legislation and adjust our policies accordingly.”

The debate around gender and “self-ID” has become increasingly polarised, with battle lines drawn between those who support reforms to the Gender Recognition Act and those who oppose them.