Preventing Policy Capture: Integrity in Public Decision Making
Preventing Policy Capture

The only poll carried out so far by @TheCountess last year found that 62% said public buildings such as schools and banks should have to provide single-sex toilets.  Last week we learnt that a tampon and towel dispenser had been installed in a men's toilet in Leinster House, the seat of our Oireachtas.

@GrannyCahill asked how this has happened.  According to the Houses of the Oireachtas Service:

"In response to motions moved in the Dail and Seanad in 2019 by the Women’s Caucus, recommendations in the report of the Forum on a Family Friendly and Inclusive Parliament (FFIP) and observations on the Forum’s report by the Oireachtas LGBTQ+ group the Facilities management unit (FMU) have made free period products available in a selection of bathrooms across the Leinster House complex.  The locations are primarily aimed at visitors which often includes school groups but also are available to the wider community. This measure furthers the aim of creating a more inclusive Parliament and will be of benefit to the Parliamentary community and visitors."

Effectively this means that a men's toilet has been converted into a mixed sex toilet whether visitors or school groups like this or not.  

The concept of "gender identity" hasn't yet been added to our equality legislation, though it was promised in the 2020 Programme for Government. This commitment was given despite the fact that a public consultation on amending our equality legislation was only conducted last year.

In the meantime, surely the 2000 Equal Status Act still applies and could be relied on by anyone who has no other option but to use mixed-sex toilets, not just in Leinster House but in other places providing services to the public and in workplaces?

Under Section 3 of the Act it's clear that "gender" is based on one's sex:

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And under Section 5, it's not considered discrimination to have

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By obliging men or women to accommodate a member or members of the opposite sex in a toilet which is for members of one sex has the Forum on a Family Friendly and Inclusive Parliament adequately considered the rights of those who wish to retain the privacy of single-sex facilities?

Asked if these dispensers are in the men’s toilets used by TDs and Senators and if legal advice was sought before allowing members of the opposite sex use single-sex toilets in Leinster House, the Houses of the Oireachtas Service replied:

"We have not changed the toilet designation and Single sex toilets are available throughout the campus. Single sex facilities are the vast majority of facilities.   The placement of product in men’s toilets used by visitors are designed to allow access by Transgender men as needed. This is aimed at our goal of an inclusive parliament.  The placement of product does not change the designation of the toilet."

So despite being designated single-sex, the opposite sex may use them also.

This is just one of the outcomes of the Oireachtas having passed the 2015 Gender Recognition Act endorsing an ideology which suggests that sex isn't biologically determined and has been superseded by a "gender identity" which is all in the mind.