The NUS has become embroiled in a row after it abolished the women’s toilets at a trans conference. Its Trans Steering group account provoked outrage when it tweeted that the women’s toilets at the conference in Manchester had been turned into gender neutral facilities – while a men’s toilet was left unchanged. The annual Trans Students Conference, at a Holiday Inn in Manchester, ran for two days and ends today. According to the group the facilities include “a disabled toilet with a gender neutral sign, gender neutral toilets (formerly women’s toilets), another disabled toilet and men’s”. The pronouncement sparked debate online with critics saying that the change discriminated against women. Actress Jane Slavin, who has appeared in Lewis, Coronation Street and Casualty, said there were “few enough women’s toilets as it is”. “Even if you disregard the safe space we need more loos because of biology. We are half the human race,” she said.Producer and writer Tracy King said: “You made the women’s toilets gender neutral but not the men’s? I doubt that’s legal given your obligation to not give men something you don’t also provide for women.”The Trans Steering Group responded by saying: “We weren’t able to make all the toilets gender neutral due to some stipulations by the venue.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. It added: “We didn’t get to choose which toilets it happened to. We wanted to make both sets of gendered toilets gender neutral, but the venue did not allow it.” Delegates have debated topics including “transmisogyny and the gender recognition act” and “non-binary inclusivity”, as well as hearing presentations about drug use at university and handing out awards for campaigns and activism. A spokeswoman for the NUS said that since the Twitter account was not an official channel it was unable to provide comment. A spokeswoman for the hotel said that on the conference floor only the disabled toilets had been made gender-neutral. “For this conference we worked closely with the organisers and arranged for gender neutral toilet facilities to be provided.”The organisers did not have sole use of the meeting space – and given a number of other meetings going on, we have both gender specific and gender neutral facilities available.”We do our upmost to accommodate the needs of all our guests, and over the course of the conference we have provided an additional set of gender neutral toilets,” she said.
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