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Clampdown on gender-neutral toilets planned by the government | UK News

The government has confirmed it is working to reverse the “rise in gender-neutral toilets” as part of its wider efforts to protect single-sex spaces.

Regulations will mean single-sex toilets because the default and minimum for new non-residential buildings and those undertaking major refurbishment.

The guidelines will also encourage the consideration of self-contained toilets, which is a fully enclosed toilet room with a wash hand basin for individual use.

The government has previously clarified that disabled toilet provision will not be affected by the changes.

Kemi Badenoch, minister for women and equalities, said: “It is important that everybody has privacy and dignity when using public facilities. Yet the move towards ‘gender neutral’ toilets has removed this fundamental right for women and girls.

“These proposals will ensure every new building in England is required to provide separate male and female or unisex facilities and publish guidance to explain the difference, protecting the dignity, privacy, and safety of all.”

A previous call for evidence on increasing the accessibility of toilets for men and women had more than 17,000 responses and represented a full range of views.

The government said these responses generally called for greater consideration in the range of toilets to preserve dignity, access, equality and privacy for all.

Parliamentary undersecretary of state for faith and communities, Baroness Scott, said: “It is extremely important women can feel comfortable when using public facilities, so we are taking action to restore dignity and privacy at the centre of all future provision.

“These proposals will mean separate toilets for men and women, as well as self-contained toilets for those that need them, become a requirement for every new building across England.”

Virgin Atlantic suspends gender-neutral uniform policy for England World Cup flight to Qatar | UK News

Virgin Atlantic suspended a policy allowing its crew to choose gender-neutral uniforms on its flight taking England’s World Cup football squad to Qatar.

The airline said the decision followed a “risk assessment… considering laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community and expressions of identity”.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar under Islamic Sharia law, and there have been concerns about the conservative country’s treatment of LGBTQ+ tourists attending the tournament.

England’s World Cup squad left their St George’s Park HQ to set off for Qatar on Tuesday.

Their flight from Birmingham was believed to be on an Airbus A350 plane called “Rain Bow” – a symbol of LGBT+ pride.

A Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus, featuring Rain Bow ahead of departure at Birmingham airport. The plane called 'Rain Bow' is believed to be carrying the England's World Cup squad to Qatar. Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2022.
Virgin Atlantic plane at Birmingham airport taking England’s World Cup squad to Qatar

In a statement, Virgin Atlantic said “We’re proud our leading Gender Identity Policy allows our people to express themselves through uniform choice.

“Following a risk assessment, it was recommended the policy was not applied on today’s charter flight to ensure the safety of our people.”

Virgin Atlantic introduced a “fluid” approach in September, allowing staff the option of wearing its red or burgundy uniforms based on “how they identify or present themselves”.

A Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus, featuring Rain Bow ahead of departure at Birmingham airport. The plane called 'Rain Bow' is believed to be carrying the England's World Cup squad to Qatar. Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2022.
A Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus featuring Rain Bow at Birmingham airport

An ambassador for the World Cup in Qatar recently described homosexuality as “damage in the mind”. Khalid Salman told a German public broadcaster that being gay was “haram”, which means forbidden in Arabic.

England skipper Harry Kane is one of several national captains who plan to participate in the “OneLove” campaign during the tournament. Players will wear a rainbow-coloured armband to campaign against discrimination.

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Being gay is ‘damage in the mind’, Qatar World Cup ambassador says

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Wales were also making the trip to Qatar on Tuesday for the country’s first appearance at the tournament in 64 years.

Wales' Matthew Smith departing for Qatar from Cardiff airport, Wales. Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2022.
Wales’ players arriving at Cardiff Airport

Jets of water were squirted over the Wales team’s plane as it departed from Cardiff Airport.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Wales Departure for Qatar - Cardiff Airport, Cardiff, Wales, Britain - November 15, 2022 An arc of water washes over the Wales team's flight as they depart for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
An arc of water washes over the Wales team’s flight as they depart for the World Cup

Wales and England are in the same group for the tournament, and will face each other in two weeks.