Groups want more unisex toilets

By Shauni James

5 comments
Young Labour Rotorua's Amy Uluave (left) and LGBTQ at Waiariki chairperson Pitah Maui. Photo / Ben Fraser
Young Labour Rotorua's Amy Uluave (left) and LGBTQ at Waiariki chairperson Pitah Maui. Photo / Ben Fraser

A petition is to be launched asking for more unisex toilets at Rotorua's Waiariki Institute of Technology after a transgender student complained of being harassed in a female toilet.

LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Queer) at Waiariki and Young Labour Rotorua are joining forces to petition for more unisex toilets to be made available on its Mokoia campus.

Young Labour Rotorua organiser Amy Uluave said the idea came up last year when a transgender student went into the women's toilet and was harassed by a group of female students, who said the student should be using the men's toilet.

The student was outnumbered with no support, which was quite a scary experience, Miss Uluave said.

Miss Uluave said the petition would be launched at the start of Waiariki's orientation week, which starts on Monday .

The petition is asking for one block of toilets on the campus to be unisex and all gender friendly.

It is also asking for labels to be put on the existing unisex disabled toilets to make clear they were LGBTQ or all gender friendly, she said.

It is hoped the move will promote gender safety and eliminate harassment.

There were unisex toilets on campus, but they were for people with disabilities, which was "not the same thing", she said.

LGBTQ at Waiariki chairperson Pitah Maui said organisers hoped to gather more than 1000 signatures during the week.

"We thought it would be a good idea so people feel more comfortable."

Miss Uluave said if it was well received, the groups would take the issue to other Waiariki campuses.

"I've taken it to my committee at Young Labour Rotorua and they were in full support."

She said a few tutors at Waiariki had also been approached for support.

Miss Uluave said there were about 30 people in the LGBTQ at Wairiki group, including supporters.

The Rotorua Daily Post asked Waiariki if it would look to approach the two groups before the petition was launched and whether it would consider a request for a unisex toilet block and labels.

In a written statement a Waiariki spokeswoman said: "Waiariki has decided not to comment given we have no details of what the petition is about and also because we already have unisex toilets on campus."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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