Berlin plans to make public toilets gender-neutral

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German government tries to improve conditions for LGBT people and to make them feel equal.

Germany’s capital could soon convert its facilities into gender-neutral toilets – with little to no fanfare. Berlin’s justice minister Dirk Behrendt told German news site Tagesspiegel that he wanted the country’s capital to set an example. And, he said, it was a pretty easy shift. “The building scan showed that having toilets for all sexes in many places would be simple to implement,” said Behrendt.

He hoped the move would stop Germany from being dragged into a culture war similar to the one currently being fought in the US, in states like North Carolina and Texas.

“In trains and aeroplanes, the toilets are also not separated by sex, and that doesn’t bother anyone,” said Behrendt. His ministry has put together an audit to calculate the cost of the switch, which came out at €500 (£440) per facility, “at a maximum”. For many toilets, the only aspect which will need to be changed is the sign on the door, as reported by The Local.

Some government buildings have already gone through the transition, including the office for labour administrators. Behrendt also works in proximity to a gender-neutral toilet in the justice ministry.

Berlin’s government buildings would also be following the example set by Dublin City University. The Irish institution opened 54 gender-neutral bathrooms last month to encourage “a sense of community” among students. It would also be further evidence of the rapid shift in German attitudes towards LGBT issues, after the gridlock over same-sex marriage was finally broken in June.

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