Tag Archives: transgender

11 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from India, the USA, the UK and Australia

First up, Australia, and one of this blog’s trustworthy repeat stories – the crazy things that people flush down their toilets. News.com.au ran a story about a plumber in Darwin and the things he’s found blocking toilets, which include: “dead cats, dirty underwear, sex toys, chain mail butcher’s gloves and soiled nappies”. Apparently, children frequently get embarrassed about having accidents in their underwear and flush them to hide the evidence and this frequently causes the plumber to have to be called.

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Chris Murphy, the Darwin plumber interviewed for this story, with the live cat he rescued from a toilet – photo from NT News by Glenn Campbell

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And now to Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in the UK, where the Sunday Express reports on the controversy around a secondary school’s decision to provide gender neutral/unisex bathrooms for their students in an attempt to be inclusive of students of all modes of gender expression.

Apparently parents (especially of female students) are objecting to the change, principally using the argument that girls will be too afraid of bullying to use the toilets with boys present while they’re menstruating and that each cubicle would have to be fitted with individual tampon machines so that girls could procure these without the boys seeing. If that really is the main argument, then it would appear that the boys’ parents need to do a better job of educating their children about menstruation, but I suspect that that isn’t the only reason behind the objections.

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We’re still in the UK, where Wigan Today reports that a website “Cruising Gays” which lists cruising spots for gay men (places where men can look for other men to have anonymous sex) has ranked the toilets at Wigan Wallgate railway station as the best for anonymous hook-ups in the region. Congratulations?

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A racism row has been reported on CBS’s Dallas-Fort Worth site about the small town of Paris Texas, where signs proclaiming “Negro Toilets” with explanatory notes about the Civil Rights Act, which were erected next to the site of what were formerly racially segregated toilets have been removed. Apparently, the were erected in an effort to educate about the racist past, but the wording has served to offend and reinforce and so they have been removed.

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The offending signs. Photo from CBS DFW, by Brenda Cherry

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Finally, to India, where a court row about two toilets in Bangalore has been resolved after 36 years according to the Bangalore Mirror. The two toilets were built in 1981 by one family. The woman next door claimed that the toilets blocked her right of way between the two houses and demanded that they be demolished so she could access the laneway between the houses. The court rejected her argument, stating that she could not establish that she had a right of way there. However, they also ordered that the toilets be demolished anyway, as they were  taking support from the complainant’s house.  So everyone’s a loser!

A loaded gun in the House of Fraser toilets, new inclusive signage recommended and an insight into late-night women’s toilets

The Daily Star reports on a loaded gun that was discovered in the toilets in a House of Fraser in Birmingham. The gun was found in a toilet roll holder. The police have said that they do not suspect a terrorist link, but that doesn’t stop the Star from speculating anyway.

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Pic from the Daily Star

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PinkNews reports on a government-funded survey conducted by Sheffield Hallam University. It recommends an end to labelling toilets as “Gents” or “Ladies” and instead simply saying “Toilets with urinals” or “Toilets without urinals” to allow people to choose to go to a toilet that suits them without having to make a statement on their gender identity. Similarly, larger cubicles or spaces with disabled access toilets should be labelled “big toilets” so people without obvious or visible disabilities don’t feel as uncomfortable using them. The same study was reported on by the Daily Mail and various other tabloids, but they mainly raged about the amount that “taxpayers” paid for the study, so I went with Pink News instead.

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And finally, a tweet from @CavillOdette with a video of a group of women in a pub toilets singing a song, being led by the toilet attendant, that appears to go “Freshen up your punani”.

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Salty flushes, flushed teddies, broken football toilets, parliamentary gender-neutral toilets and CG toilets

I have to admit that I’ve never read anything from Chemical and Engineering News before. But this blog is opening up whole new worlds for me. C&EN reports on a study from Hong Kong where 80% of toilets are flushed using seawater. It had long been thought that this was bad for the the marine environment because it involved the treatment of seawater with chlorine and other disinfecting agents. The study reported on here, however, found that the saltwater effluent was less damaging to the marine environment than freshwater effluent would be. It’s only one study, but saltwater flushing could be part of the future.

Bruce the sewer monster and other toys from Southern Water's Peacehaven treatment works

Toys that have been fished out of the sewers, along with “Bruce the Sewer Monster” – pic from the Southern Daily Echo

In the South of England, Southern Water have released details of things that have been found in the sewers, having been flushed down the toilet. The Southern Daily Echo reports on items that include sex toys, false teeth, dead pets and teddy bears, which have all been found in sewers under Hampshire. Apparently, we should restrict what we flush to the three Ps – pee, poo and paper.

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The damaged toilets in Arsenal’s stadium – picture from The Mirror

The Mirror reports from Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where Tottenham Hotspur fans are apparently boasting on social media about vandalising the stadium toilets. This comes after previous vandalism in Spurs’s White Hart Lane Stadium where Arsenal fans tore down a sign.

As has I’ve written about before, public toilets are one of the main battle grounds in the transgender movement’s fight for rights. Breitbart reports on a change in the UK House of Commons, where the installation of a gender-neutral bathroom is being considered favourably by the Speaker of the House, John Bercow. This is part of a broader strategy to make the House of Commons a less masculinised institution, which could see changes to the design and decoration of the interior of the building, the make-up of committees and ceremonial dress.

Gamereactor has put together a list of the top 5 toilets in the big new game of the moment, Fallout 4.

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One of the best 5 toilets in Fallout 4 – pic from Gamereactor

Toilet crimes, trans activism, toilet certificates, missing school days and an honest cleaner

Today’s first story is a sad one from Northern Ireland. The Derry Journal reports on a court case where a 68-year-old man has been found guilty of common assault. He was in the toilets of a shopping centre when he tugged on the trouser leg of the man next to him under the cubicle partition. The victim thought that someone was trying to steal his wallet and reported it to security. The accused “told the police he did this in the hope of ‘having some sexual activity with them’. The pensioner added that he would go off somewhere with them if they returned the attention, rather than have sex in the toilet cubicle.” It is a story that calls to mind the generations of gay men who had covert sex in toilets, and a man whose life may have been very different if he had been born 20 years later.

The next story relates to the moves in Houston Texas to prevent transgendered people from using the bathroom of their choice (already discussed in the previous post). Transgender model Kelly Lauren posted this photo on her Facebook page, with the caption: “Houston, do you REALLY want me in the same restroom as your husband or boyfriend?”

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Meanwhile, in the continuing campaign to provide the whole of India with sanitary toilet facilities, the Times of India is running this report from Gujarat. In order to run for a position in government, candidates must get a toilet certificate, to prove that they have a sanitary toilet, a new legal precondition to run in elections there.

The Filipino site ABS-CBN is running a story in advance of World Toilet Day (November 19th – I hope you all have it in your diaries!) about the impact of the worldwide lack of sanitary toilet facilities. They report that every year 443 million schooldays are missed due to illnesses caused by a lack of access to clean toilet facilities. This is the equivalent of every single primary and secondary school in the Philippines closing down for a whole month.

Finally, to Turkey, where Albawaba is reporting on a janitor who discovered €24,500 in a toilet in Istanbul Ataturk Airport and turned it in to the authorities, even though he only earns €320 a month and the money would have been enough to buy a small house in Turkey.

Discriminatory toilets, no such thing as a free tampon, eavesdropping in toilets, daughters vs toilets, composting loos and a toilet museum

Dan Savage at The Stranger writes about a vote in Houston, Texas. The electorate voted to repeal an-anti LGBT discrimination law. The reason the repeal campaign gave for wanting permission to discriminate was so that it could prevent “men” from using women’s toilets and locker rooms, that transgender women are really men in disguise and they pose a threat to women in toilets and showers. It seems a far-fetched idea to me, but it’s an idea that won in Texas. Access to toilets is one of the biggest fights the trans community is fighting at the moment, and moves like this make it seem like it could be a long fight.

The Tab reports on a failed attempt to provide free emergency tampons in the University of Birmingham toilets. These were being used so quickly, with whole boxes disappearing almost instantly, that students in need will now have to request their free emergency tampon from the Student Advice and Representation Centre.

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Free tampons – from The Tab

The Herald Sun proved what a classy paper it is by sending a reporter to eavesdrop on what rich women were saying to each other in the ladies’ toilets at the Melbourne Cup. Some of the things they heard: “I just dropped my sunglasses into the toilet.” “My Hollywood tape is stuck to my nipple and I’m too scared to rip it off … what if my whole nipple comes off?” and “I’m sick of my dress … do you want to swap?”

The Indian government’s Swachh Bharat campaign (to bring indoor toilets to the whole nation) has seen some success in Chattisgarh, according to a report in The Times of India. In Chattisgarh, a tribe of 10,000 in the Halba community have taken a vow that their daughters will not be married into houses without toilets.

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A dry composting toilet in Ecuador – pic from Fundacion In Terris

The Washington Post is reporting from Ecuador, where the lack of a network of sewage lines has caused health problems and a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has aided in the building of hundreds of dry composting toilets that don’t require access to sewage facilities or running water to function. According to the report, they don’t smell, are sanitary and cost less than $300 each.

Finally today, to Toilet Heaven AKA Japan, where a toilet museum is making the news. USA Today reports on displays about the history, construction and design of toilets, as well as exhibits of famous toilets. “Among the more notable exhibits are toilets built for Buckingham Palace and the Japanese prime minister’s residence, both in the 1920s. On display, too, is the plain bathroom suite used by MacArthur — with what appears to be a well-worn toilet — when he was the all-powerful ruler of Japan right after World War II.”

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A display at Kitakyushu’s Toilet Museum – pic from USA Today