Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spending a Penny.

Today was Manchester City Council's nearly-annual LGBT Consultation Day. They didn't have one last year but that was a blip: it's been annual otherwise since about 2006, and the last two or three have been titled "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans" rather than the 80s throwback "Lesbian & Gay".

There are many other things I want to say about it, but the first needs a post all of its own I feel. About four such conferences ago, I raised the problem of the loos. There are male and female toilets marked... but an LGBT event in this day and age will bring not just cismen and ciswomen and transwomen and transmen, but other trans folk too. Genderqueer, fluidly gendered, nonbinary, whatever your choice of term. And, like everyone else - especially after slurping down town hall coffee - they will at some point in the day need to go to the loo.

Alas, as I say, I've raised this one on feedback forms and in person several times with regard to Manchester Council. They're still not getting it.

It's one thing I'm delighted about within bi circles: wherever they can negotiate such things with venues (which, after all, can be run by people who are a bit lacking in clue on this) the bi events around the UK have for the last many years had ungendered toilets. Happy little signs on the doors "cubicles & urinals" or "cubicles only", or suchlike. There was a bit of a stir at 2010's BiCon when such signs weren't up: it was simply that the desk team had not yet had enough people there long enough to get round to ticking that one off the long to-do list that setting up a transitory bi space can involve.

Bi events, with no staff, no access to the site beforehand, and so forth, can manage this. It's no longer cutting edge stuff. So when we put on events aimed at the LGB&T communities, and in particular given the huge space of the venue and resources at the disposal of a Town Hall putting on its long-planned own events - if we are calling them LGBT, seriously, can we make them LGBT? Not LGB-some-T-and-some-hopping-on-one-leg.

That'd be good.

(Naturally, I'd like it if other spaces were accomodating of the need for a wazz too, but if you actually put the "T" on the label...)

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