Public gender-neutral toilet , Source: Depositphotos

Bruges’ first gender-neutral toilet is already in use

Bruges’ first gender-neutral toilet is already in use

The ‘updated’ facility solves a lot of problems, apart from not perpetuating social exclusion

Yesterday, authorities in the Belgian city of Bruges unveiled the first gender-neutral public toilet. The toilet is the first of many, as officials say that gender-neutral is the more practical solution, solving problems beyond the social exclusion of gender non-conformist individuals.

The toilet is located in the renovated offices of the Spatial Planning Department, however, it is not the staff toilet, but the one that is open to the public. This is because Belgian labour law prohibits gender-neutral toilets at workplaces, as the VRT reports.  

A new standard for renovations

The first publicly accessible gender-neutral toilet in Bruges is located on Oostmeers street in the city centre. Visitors to the Spatial Planning Department will no longer have to make a choice between ‘man’ or ‘woman’ because the signs are no longer there.  

Furthermore, according to Mayor Dirk De Fauw gender-neutral toilets are set to start popping up all over the city. This is because whenever there are renovations, the new toilets should have the ‘man’ and ‘woman’ signs removed.


Of course, one of the significant advantages is that people who do not identify as a man or woman or are transgender will no longer have issues using public toilets. However, there are a host of other somewhat surprising issues that the move will fix.

For one, women’s toilets have a queue in front quite often, whereas men’s toilets do not. This would double the available space and reduce queues. Also, changing tables for babies are usually located in women’s toilets, which means that men cannot change their babies with the same level of amenities.

Yet, staff are not privy to the same treatment as there is a law mandating gender-separated toilets in a working environment. According to Mayor De Fauw, Burges does not want to violate said law and will continue making the distinction for facilities in the local administration.



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