Toilets for Everybody – A Right not a Privilege
*Reprinted and referenced with permission from The Access Institute.
- By Ms. Joe Manton, Director Access Institute
After spending my very early years trudging through the back yard to the outdoor ‘dunny’ in the winter, I developed a great appreciation, as did many others, for a comfortable, warm, clean, ‘spider free’ toilet, as these were introduced to homes across the country.
Of course, you just need to go ‘up the country’ to see some of these iconic outhouses still in operation but they are more often a nod to the past, rather than a preferred place to spend time.
The fact that we all need to use toilets every day, means that consideration must be given to the toileting needs of everybody. So, let’s talk toilets.
Standard Male and Female Toilets
Of course, the most common types of toilets we see installed in public places include standard male and female toilets. These serve the purpose for many people and also used to mean that property owners could comply with minimum required legislation.
However, over the years recognition of the needs of more people and other users of toilets, have been recognised as important considerations in developing inclusive communities.
Unisex Accessible Toilets
Unisex accessible toilets are required where male and female toilets are provided. These toilets incorporate a larger space where a person using a wheelchair can access the toilet pan, grab rails and other fixtures, as well as a washbasin inside the cubicle that support a person who may be using toileting equipment or who needs to access water or washing facilities.
These toilets must be Unisex because a person may need assistance from a carer or support person to get in or use the toilet. This could include people who identify as males or females or others. It is not appropriate to install an accessible toilet in a gender specific facility.
Anyone can use a Unisex Accessible Toilet. It’s just a toilet with more space and supports.
If a person was using a Guide Dog and needed more space to take the dog with them, then a Unisex Accessible Toilet would be helpful.
If a parent with a pram needs more space this would also often be a suitable facility.