Employers in New Zealand are legally required to accommodate the specific needs of trans employees, including in use of the facilities.
The law states that “an employee should be able to use facilities that match their gender identity, for example: trans women should be able to use a women’s toilet, and trans men should be able to use a men’s toilet”.
“While a unisex toilet is a positive way to ensure facilities are inclusive (and may be more comfortable for a trans person early in their transition), a trans employee should not be excluded from using the appropriate single sex toilet.”
Of all the businesses we canvassed, only one expressed discomfort at the idea of trans people using bathrooms that aligned with their identity.
Many trans people – including Lauren – prefer to use gender-neutral bathrooms, however, for the purposes of comfort and safety.
She said there are not enough publicly-accessible gender-neutral bathrooms. She also expressed concern with the number of gender-neutral bathrooms at Victoria University in Wellington.
Gender-neutral facilities are only available on Kelburn Campus, the main campus in the heart of the city.