Woman left horrified after uncomfortable encounter in unisex bathroom
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It’s 2022, and many companies have adopted unisex facilities in order to become more inclusive and LGBTQ+- friendly.
But one woman has been left horrified after enduring an uncomfortable encounter in a mixed-gender bathroom whilst at work.
You can see another woman recalling a similar situation in a changing room here:
Taking to Mumsnet on Tuesday, the woman explained how she works at a ‘high staff turnover’ company which ‘employs about 250 people’.
The woman, who chose to remain anonymous on the forum, wrote: “A few months ago all [of] our toilets at work got changed to mixed-sex [facilities].
“They are self-contained individual cubicles. We didn't get consulted or anything - just got to work on Monday and every toilet had a joint man and woman sign.”
She recalled the particular situation which occurred around four weeks prior to writing the post, in which she walked in on a man who was ‘semi-undressed’ and had his genitals out.
“I went to use the loo, opened the door and there was a bloke already in there with his back to me. He turned around when I opened the door. He was semi undressed and I could clearly see his ‘lad’.”
She reassured readers that there were ‘lots of apologies’ and a ‘swift door close’ which occurred following the undoubtedly uncomfortable encounter with a colleague who was unknown to her.
“It made me feel uncomfortable. I don't know the guy,” she added.
“I raised with my line manager that this new toilet policy is potentially putting staff in tricky situations and he told me to take it to HR. Which I did and their response is that he ‘probably forgot to close the door’.
“Well, I mean yeah hopefully so, but nobody has any way of knowing that, and anyway, that is not the issue. The issue is that my employer should not be facilitating a set-up where such ambiguous encounters can happen. I think, anyway.”
She concluded by asking the others on the page: “Am I being unreasonable?”
Some readers took the woman’s point of view into account, stating that they ‘hated’ mixed-gender facilities for putting vulnerable staff in a potentially risky situation.
One person wrote: “I hate mixed-sex toilets, even fully enclosed ones. Always having to put the seat down before I can use it, and the b******s who fitted our new office didn’t put soft close seats on.. so you need to actually hold it.
“Perhaps he did forget, but women shouldn’t be in a position where a man might forget, inadvertently or otherwise,” they commented.
“If one woman is made to feel uncomfortable at work through a unilateral decision of the employer which favours men, that is one woman too many,” a different onlooker stated.
Another argued that the idea of a toilet is so much more to a woman than a facility used to do your business.
Women also use a bathroom, they explained, to ‘hide from men who won’t leave you alone, take your drinks so they aren’t left on an open table, taking care of our children when they are suddenly ill’, and when they fall ill and ‘deal with periods’.
“Even miscarriages happen in toilets,” they rightly explained. “I had a big pregnancy haemorrhage in a public toilet. You don't want to be cleaning yourself up next to men.”
However, others could recognise the value of workplace and school environments which allow all types of facilities, including mixed and single-gender bathrooms.
One person wrote, showing a different point of view: “I have mixed feelings about them, but the bottom line is that [my] kids still have the choice of using single-sex loos and I think that this is crucial in every environment."
And we couldn't agree more - choice is essential when it comes to personal facilities in the workplace and at school to remain both safe and inclusive.