Beyond A Binary Cistern

Title: Beyond A Binary Cistern. Understanding Gender Segregation in Public Toilets within the United Kingdom

Author: Laura Jamieson

Year: 2020

Abstract: As one of the few remaining gender-segregated spaces the public toilet represents a site of conflict in which gender expression is policed. In this essay, the author examines the potential conflicts and alliances between gendered bodies in public toilets within The United Kingdom. This includes the ongoing struggle for equitable provision of toilet facilities between women and men, as well as the more recent debate surrounding the inclusion of transgender users in public toilet space through the introduction of gender-neutral toilets. To support these discussions, this work draws on theories of dirt and disgust, asserting that notions of dirt are used to support systems of categorisation and uphold the illusion of the cis-gendered male form as the ideal or normal body template. This essay concludes that truly equitable provision of space for all genders can be achieved only by dismantling the binary systems of gender that reinforce logics of domination and hierarchy.

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