Civil servants are told to let self-identifying trans staff use whichever single-sex toilets they want under official guidance
- Civil servants were told gender identity could ‘differ from day to day’
- They were given a handbook and training on trans and non-binary employees
- A trainer also told them that saying ‘adult human female’ could be transphobic
- One civil servant said the new rule ‘adds to a feeling of a lack of privacy’
Civil servants should let people who identify as transgender use whichever single-sex toilet they want, new guidance has said.
Government officials were given a ‘Gender Identity and Intersex HR’ handbook which provides advice for those who identify as transgender, non-binary or intersex and their managers.
The guide, written in collaboration with a trans rights group, says ‘all individuals have the right to express their identity at work and present in their gender.’
The new rules aim to be inclusive for members of these communities, but some female civil servants have raised objections to the plans.
One member of the civil service and did not want to be identified, told The Times: ‘Women get accused of being prudish about who uses their toilets, but they are intimate places and this adds to a feeling of a lack of privacy.’
The Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled in April that trans people could be excluded from single-sex services if the reasons for doing so were ‘justifiable and proportionate’.
Civil servants were told about the rules in a handbook, and also received training on the issue
The guide said ‘Some transgender, non-binary and intersex individuals may feel most comfortable using gender-neutral facilities where present but this is a matter of personal choice’
The Times reported that British civil servants were told in training that it was impossible to define what a woman was and that saying ‘adult human female’ could be transphobic to say.
A trainer also told civil servants ‘transphobia is increasingly presented as feminism’ and that gender identity was on a sliding scale of ‘woman-ness’ and ‘man-ness’.
They added: ‘You weren’t thinking you were going to dial in today to find out you were gender fluid… I think you probably are.’
The civil servant handbook, released after a Freedom of Information request, said employees could have ‘flexible’ gender identities which ‘differed from day to day’.
It added they could use ‘any appropriate single-sex toilets and other facilities’ in a section called ‘gender expression at work.’
The guide also said: ‘It is assumed that the individual knows which facilities are the best match for their gender identity and expression.
‘Some transgender, non-binary and intersex individuals may feel most comfortable using gender-neutral facilities where present but this is a matter of personal choice.’
A government spokesperson said: ‘We recognise that when people want to make a transition in their lives, they should be treated with the maximum possible generosity and respect.
‘However, we are clear that it is the important principle that spaces reserved for women and girls are maintained, in line with the Equality Act. This guidance is from 2019 and we keep all internal guidance under regular review.’