The Tramway was hosting a star-studded event on 9th June so a small group of local women decided to go and raise awareness of the recent incident in their toilets, formerly known as Women’s, where a man had been hiding in a cubicle listening to women in the neighbouring cubicles. He jumped out scaring two young women, one of whom was a journalist. She wrote about the experience in an article, so we printed this out and handed the reference out with the Forwomen.Scot flyers.
To be honest, telling people that there had been an incident of a man hiding in the Women’s toilet and we were looking to raise awareness and support for our request for a women only toilet was a pretty easy sell. Especially to the women! Of all the people we approached, only one man and one woman outright stated that they did not support our concerns. Well there is always the one…
People did get a bit defensive when transwomen were mentioned, not quite able to link a toilet policy designed to be kind to trans people also being the means whereby a pervert man gaining entry to the Women’s toilet to intimidate women was facilitated. Hopefully the point sinks in as they ponder over the contents of the article and the flyer.
There was a particularly baffling sight as a man, well in excess of 6’3” stared down onto the top of the head of a 5’ woman telling her that he couldn’t understand why she would be scared in toilets that allowed men and women to intermingle. That he didn’t realise he’d immediately be regarded as a threat by every woman in the toilet, and that the women would be on guard and on edge because of him, seemed rather unbelievable to be honest.
One woman claimed that she had been harassed by the protesters (us) so the Tramway security, the Event security and a woman who turned out to be the Manager came out to speak to us.
This gave us the opportunity to ask what changes had been put in place in the wake of the incident. We were told that the security did a sweep of the building, including the area around the toilets. No mention was made of checking inside the toilets. The Manager admitted that they didn’t know what the man that had been hiding in the cubicles looked like, so obviously a description had not been circulated to staff, but she didn’t think he’d been back.
We asked if any signs had been put up in the toilets advising people to speak to security if they had any concerns, they hadn’t but she said that was a good idea. The Manager made a great point regarding securing the building and supervising the public – the Tramway is a multi purpose building where access is free and unticketed for the main part. The staff don’t get a chance to greet people as they enter unless the member of the public choses to acknowledge them. It was this lack of control over who gets into the building that allowed the man to loiter around the toilets and be inside hiding in the cubicle. A further issue that she didn’t seem to get was that her need to keep an eye on the toilets had only happened since they’d thrown the women’s toilets open to men. The increased security risk alone should have made her realise that the new policy was not an answer to the issue of how to provide a trans-positive toilet facility. It was clear that no changes had been made following the toilet incident though, so Glasgow Life are not taking the issue seriously at all.
Lots of families with toddlers had attended a show so they were leafleted too. They were largely concerned by the change in the toilet provision, one man saying that he’d walked into the “wrong” toilet on account of the description of “with urinals” and “with cubicles” because they don’t make sense unless you read them both. Another woman said that her eight year old had also gotten confused by the signs and walked into the “Gents” by mistake, which would be a humiliating thing for a little girl.
The Tramway Manager said that the policy is not set in stone, and that Glasgow Life are in control, so we urge everyone to let them know how unacceptable the policy is by making a formal complaint to www.glasgowlife.org.uk/contact-us/