Bristol City Council launches Trans Inclusion and Gender Identity consultation

The council plans to encourage trans people to use preferred toilets that fit their gender identity despite concerns

Bristol City Council has launched a consultation asking people to help shape how the city supports trans people and gender-diverse residents.

The survey consists of 19 questions which touch upon topics ranging from how a business can be trans inclusive, what may constitute “harassment and unacceptable behaviour” and concerns for the use of shared toilets.

By allowing residents to register and give their view on the issues, and suggest other ways of accommodating all citizens, the council hopes to bridge any gaps in its current policies.

Using advice set by the Government Equalities Office on how to provide services for transgender customers, while adding its own, Bristol City Council sets out the following as examples of good practice:

  • Try not to assume someone’s gender simply by their appearance.
  • Consider whether you need to ask someone’s gender.
  • Assume everyone selects the facilities appropriate to their gender identity, including those with non-binary, gender fluid, agender or gender variant identities.
  • Accept a range of ID other than a birth certificate for example a driving licence or passport.
  • Update documentation and records efficiently and sensitively.

The document also determines the use of inapporpriate jokes on gender and gender expression, any form of verbal abuse and deliberatley misgendering a person as unacceptable behaviour.

Toilet use

The proposed approach will encourage trans service users, including non-binary, gender fluid, or agender people, to use the toilets and facilities that best fit their gender identity despite previous public engagements expressing concerns regarding the safety of women and girls.

A section from the proposal reads: “Supporting trans and gender-diverse people to use the toilets and facilities that that best fit their gender identity may be viewed by some people as a safeguarding concern or a breach of the requirement to provide single sex facilities.

“Whilst some people may feel less comfortable because they do not accept transgender identity or perceive that trans people pose an increased safeguarding risk to others, this is not itself a legitimate or proportionate reason to exclude trans and gender-diverse people from using preferred toilets and facilities.”

It adds: “The Government Equalities Office Guidance confirms that a trans person should be free to select the facilities appropriate to the gender in which they present. The guidance also states that when a trans person starts to live in their acquired gender role on a full-time basis they should have the right to use the facilities for that gender.”