Japan is set to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics and their plans to be as inclusive as possible are garnering a lot of attention.
At least one unisex toilet will be added to 7 of the 11 total venues that are currently being constructed in preparation for the event. Bigger venues are projected to include several of these transgender-friendly toilets.
The new unisex toilets will not be wheelchair-friendly however, but, to compensate, they will be built with enough room to accommodate two people so that those who need assistance using the toilet will still be able to receive the help they need. The government hopes that the new unisex toilets will also help alleviate the lines for the existing accessible washrooms.
Maki Muraki, the head of the Osaka-based LGBT rights organization, Nijiiro Diversity, approved of the unisex toilet installation plan.
“Along with the effort to increase the number of public toilets, to raise people’s awareness that those who do not look like a typical man or woman can use a toilet as a matter of course is also important.”
— Maki Muraki
This move is one in a long line of inclusive initiatives by the Japanese government, which has a history of being transgender-friendly. In 2015, a notice was issued by the ministry of education that enacted a number of transgender-friendly measures, some of which allowed transgender students to use both the uniform and restroom of the gender they identified with.
Despite this, discrimination is still a pressing issue. A survey conducted in 2015 by Nijiiro Diversity and Lixil Group, a Japanese building material and housing equipment manufacturer, reported that half of all transgendered individuals have been the target of “suspicious glances”, and more than one-fifth of them have been prohibited from using the restroom that matches their gender identity.