Gender-neutral restrooms in United Kingdom schools are resulting in girls holding their bladders all day — which puts them at risk for infections — and staying home from school when they're menstruating because they're embarrassed and feel unsafe in the restrooms with boys, the Daily Mail reported.
The inclusive restrooms trend is tied to the push to help transgender students who want to use restrooms typically occupied by those of the opposite sex, the outlet said.
But now doctors and politicians are telling schools to stop the unisex restroom idea in order to protect girls from further harm, the Daily Mail said.
Tessa Katz, a physician, told the outlet that regularly holding urine for prolonged periods can increase the risk of girls suffering urinary and bladder infections, the outlet said — not to mention the potential psychological damage of girls not feeling safe enough to use gender-neutral restrooms.
Some girls are so fearful that they've stopped drinking liquids at school, the Daily Mail said.
Parents speak out
Some parents aren't happy about the rise in gender-neutral restrooms at schools, the outlet noted, adding that many of them said they weren't consulted before the change was made.
Case in point: Deanesfield Primary School in West London — which teaches children up to the age of 11 — installed unisex restrooms this year, and parents told the Express that some children were so embarrassed that they were refusing to urinate at school.
With that, outraged parents set up a petition at the school gates last month in order to put a stop to the unisex restroom idea, the paper said.
The Express added that one parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told MyLondon: "Making the toilets unisex isn't the issue for me; it's the fact [that] they haven't followed the guidelines which state that unisex toilets must have cubicle walls from floors to ceiling. They haven't done this, and there's already been cases of boys looking over the tops at girls on the toilet. Children are so inquisitive at school age. Girls are being forced to hold themselves until they get home which could damage kidneys. My friend's daughter has been holding herself all day because she's so embarrassed. It's not fair on the kids really."
What did the school have to say?
"We will be communicating with our parents about the changes made to the school toilets as soon as possible," a spokesperson from Deanesfield Primary School told MyLondon, according to the Express. "In the meantime, if parents have any worries about their child, then staff are here to provide support."
Tory Member of Parliament David Davies has supported feminist claims that transgender rights are overriding women's rights and told the outlet that "if girls are not comfortable sharing toilets with boys then schools should make provision for them, rather than saying girls have got a problem."