Potty Confusion in Personchester: Gender-Nuetral Toilets Cause Chaos at Manchester University

Jennie Killip, the women’s officer at the students’ union at Manchester University, considered traditional toilet signs to be insulting to transgender students by referring to “Gents” or “Ladies” or “Men” or “Women.” What if you are somewhere in between, she asked. So, the school changed the signs to “Toilets with urinals” and just “Toilets.” The result was chaos as students ran about trying to decide where to go to the bathroom.

What is clear is that Ms. Killip began in the wrong place. The first step is to change the school name to “Personchester.” Now that I think about it, there is a serious problem with being a “women’s officer at the students’ union.” Is there a “persons’ officer”? To paraphrase Julius Caesar: The fault, dear Killip, is not in our signs, but in ourselves.”

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Potty Confusion in Personchester: Gender-Nuetral Toilets Cause Chaos at Manchester University”

  1. You’re going to make me stay after school aren’t you. Ok. Sorry. I was being somewhat limited in my conclusion.

    My conclusion is based on the condition the doors are reasonably close to each other. Normally men and womens rooms tend to be built fairly close to each other, sometimes seperated by a firewall, like an elevator shaft or a stairwell, and thus are within eyeshot of each other. But sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are built at opposite ends of a building.

    So if the doors are within eyeshot then my position would seem to be reasonable, however, if not, and they are not close to each other, then your position, I will reluctantly pre-concede, would be the more correct one.

  2. Maybe they could just put silhouettes of men and large chested women sitting on the toilets on the doors, like they did in the movie “Idiocracy”?

  3. Of course, had the Minneapolis Airport Terminal employed such an abstract bathroom sign then at least Larry Craig could have had a quasi plausible story to support his claims of not being gay.

    He could have just said he was in the wrong bathroom because he was confused by the signs.

    Then they’d just have arrested him for being a Masher.


    If there is still such a word.

  4. jonathanturley
    1, September 29, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    A sign saying โ€œtoiletsโ€ alone is not exactly the pinnacle of clarity for anyone.

    So you’re saying that confronted with two doors, one of them saying “Toilets with Urinals” and the other just saying “Toilets”, you wouldn’t be able to put that puzzle together?

    You wouldn’t be able to deduce that the door with the “Toilets with Urinals” would be the one for the boys?

    Unless the girls are unusually adept at using the “stand-n-pinch” method I think it would it would be apparent which was which.

    I do concede its a stupid idea and I’m sure there will be mistakes, but these are after all supposed to be college kids, and therefore smarter than the average bear at least. And since I’m not a college graduate, or even a college student, and I could figure it out, one would think….


    Just sayin…

  5. I find it offensive that these university officials assume that urinals would be associated with a particular sex anyway. Not stocking women’s restrooms with convenient and user-friendly urinals perpetuates the sexism still permeating our society. Separate but equal is unequal to begin with….I propose bathroom desegregation- It’s a matter of equality!

  6. CMM:

    A sign saying “toilets” alone is not exactly the pinnacle of clarity for anyone.

  7. I think the real story here is a group of supposedly intelligent college students were apparently unable to figure out that the “toilets with urinals” were for the boys, and the “just toilets” were for the girls.


    Perhaps revisting the entrance exams might be in order for the entire school.

  8. Oh, brother (or sister)! You were either born with a reproductive system or you weren’t. End of the confusion.

Comments are closed.