Germany: Berlin justice ministry seeks to make most toilets unisex for transgender community

According to an audit report by the Berlin justice ministry seen by Tagesspiegel on Monday, many of the bathrooms in Berlin’s government administrative buildings could be converted into unisex facilities without great effort.

“The building scan showed that having toilets for all sexes in many places would be simple to implement,” said justice minister Dirk Behrendt, who is also responsible for anti-discrimination projects.

Such unisex toilets are intended to reduce discrimination against transgender and intersex individuals, as well as to avoid a ‘culture war’ such as the one in the United States, Behrendt explained to Tagesspiegel.

“Bathroom bills” have been considered in more than a dozen American states in just the 2017 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislature. North Carolina passed and later repealed in March a measure that stated that individuals could only use government building restrooms that corresponded with the sex stated on their birth certificates. 

Berlin, meanwhile, is looking into how to make its bathrooms more inclusive.

“In trains and airplanes, the toilets are also not separated by sex, and that doesn’t bother anyone,” said Behrendt.

The cost of converting each bathroom facility is estimated to be “at a maximum, around €500,” according to the audit. In many cases, the only renovation needed would be to change the sign.

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