Gender-neutral toilets at Borders schools will 'help reduce chance of bullying'

A senior Borders councillor believes the installation of unisex toilets at two schools in the region would help tackle bullying.
Euan Jardine.Euan Jardine.
Euan Jardine.

A motion tabled by Galashiels and District councillor Harry Scott is to come before tomorrow’s Scottish Borders Council meeting calling for staff and pupils to be consulted over the plans for the new Galashiels Community Campus and Peebles High School.

Gender-neutral toilets are a contentious issue with some claiming they can lead to women and children being placed at greater risk of being harassed or sexually assaulted.

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Meanwhile, advocates argue the unisex loos eliminate confusion among the LGBTi (lesbian, bisexual, trans and or intersex communities) over going to the ‘wrong toilet’.

Galashiels and District councillor Euan Jardine, the council’s executive member for wellness, sport and culture, is in favour of a healthy debate on the issue.

He said the unisex toilets proposed are very much in line with those in many modern public buildings – including the Great Tapestry of Scotland centre in Galashiels.

He said: “I would be very much against unisex toilets, if they were traditional toilets where everyone went into one room behind a closed door with a few cubicles and urinals. However, the plans are very much similar to what is in place at the Great Tapestry building and other modern venues across the country.

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"It is an open space with no door to enter and it is not intimidating for people as teachers can monitor from the corridor and it is not in a claustrophobic space. Inside the block are individual cubicles with a large door which runs from the roof to the floor.

"The reason many schools around the country and the Borders have this new facility is to reduce the chance of bullying and harassment taking place which to me is a vitally important as too often bullying can inflict lifelong trauma on those affected. If people are concerned about the plans an open dialogue and discussion would be helpful and I see no issue with this motion which creates that possibility.”

Members of Scottish Borders Council are to meet via a live stream from 10am tomorrow, Thursday, November 25.