Scottish Government 'to put tampons in male toilets'

Scottish Government ‘to put tampons and sanitary towels in male toilets in case they are needed by transgender civil servants’

  • Female hygiene items would be put in men’s lavatories ‘close to meeting/ conference rooms and/or main entrances to premises’, said officials
  • Plans were outlined in a 209-page submission to LGBT charity Stonewall
  • Comes a month after it emerged Scottish civil service agreed to delete the word ‘mother’ from its maternity leave policy after pressure from Stonewall

The Scottish government is planning to put tampons and sanitary towels in male toilets in case they are required by transgender civil servants. 

Various female hygiene items would be put in men’s lavatories ‘close to meeting/conference rooms and/or main entrances to premises,’ officials said, in a 209-page submission to LGBT charity Stonewall. 

Nicola Sturgeon’s government stated it was ‘providing sanitary bins and a varied selection of sanitary products… in those premises where gender neutral facilities do not exist’, the Daily Telegraph reported. 

The submission also said the civil servants could use the title ‘Mx’ on the government’s computer systems and staff directory, instead of Mr, Mrs or Ms. 

The revelation comes a month after it emerged the Scottish civil service agreed to delete the word ‘mother’ from its maternity leave policy after pressure from Stonewall.

The Scottish government (above) is planning to put tampons and sanitary towels in male toilets in case they are required by transgender civil servants

Various female hygiene items would be put in men’s lavatories ‘close to meeting/conference rooms and/or main entrances to premises,’ officials said, in a 209-page submission to LGBT charity Stonewall

Documents released under Freedom of Information laws uncovered how Leslie Evans, the permanent secretary, agreed to make the change in a bid to climb the lobby group’s controversial Workplace Equality Index (WEI).

Stonewall requests ministers to remove ‘gendered’ words from official policies as part of its advice on becoming more LGBT friendly. 

The Scottish government’s WEI ranking fell to 127 in 2020, from 72 in 2019. 

In order to achieve a better ranking, the Scottish government removed ‘mother’ from its maternity policy, replacing a passage including the term with ‘you must be the spouse or partner (including same-sex partner) or the pregnant woman’. 

The submission regarding sanitary products, obtained by the Telegraph for the Freedom of Information Act, was also made in connection with the WEI. 

Nicola Sturgeon’s government stated it was ‘providing sanitary bins and a varied selection of sanitary products… in those premises where gender neutral facilities do not exist’

That document also revealed how the Scottish government introduced a policy in July which made clear ‘some transgender men’ and non-binary people, who do not identify as male or female, ‘may also experience menopause’.

Earlier this week, the BBC withdrew from a diversity scheme run by Stonewall.

The decision to leave was due to the ‘risk of a perception of bias’, one of the corporation’s bosses has said.

Director of Nations Rhodri Talfan Davies said public trust that the BBC can approach ‘very complex areas’ with complete impartiality is ‘the absolute bedrock’ of its decision-making.

The organisation said in a statement on Wednesday that it would not be renewing its participation in the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme but will continue to work with a range of organisations to support its LGBT staff.

Mr Talfan Davies told Women’s Hour on Thursday the BBC is trying to create an inclusive working environment, while ensuring it remains balanced with its output.

Earlier this week, the BBC withdrew from a diversity scheme run by Stonewall. The decision to leave was due to the ‘risk of a perception of bias’, one of the corporation’s bosses has said

He said the issues of transgender and women’s rights are ‘highly polarised debates’.

‘The key thing for the BBC, as a broadcaster utterly committed to impartiality, is to ensure that audiences have trust in us to come into these very complex areas dispassionately and fairly,’ he said.

‘In the case of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme, it had led to questions about whether the BBC could be truly impartial when reporting on public policy debates like this, given that Stonewall has an active campaigning role in this space.

‘For that reason we believe it’s the right time to step back from that programme.’

More than 900 organisations in the UK have signed up to the scheme, which aims to promote inclusion in the workplace.

It is described by Stonewall as ‘the leading employers’ programme for ensuring all LGBTQ+ staff are free to be themselves in the workplace’.

Following the announcement, Stonewall said the BBC’s decision was ‘a shame’.

LGBT staff at the BBC have heavily criticised the broadcaster for how it has handled stories about transgender people – with many threatening to quit.

The BBC Pride Network – a group of LGBTQ+ employees – used a ‘listening session’ on Monday to share frustrations with bosses after BBC News published an article claiming that some trans women are rapists, according to VICE World News.

The BBC was forced to edit the piece – headlined ‘We’re being pressured into sex by some trans women’ – after it emerged that former porn actress Lily Cade, who was quoted in the article, had previously described trans women ‘vile, weak and disgusting’ and appeared to call for high-profile trans women to be lynched. 

The corporation said the article – which questioned whether a lesbian is ‘transphobic if she does not want to have sex with trans women’ – was edited to remove Ms Cade’s quotes ‘in light of comments she has published on blog posts in recent days, which we have been able to verify’. 

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