A Cathedral in the United Kingdom has taken the decision to install gender-neutral restrooms as part of its initiative to make all people feel welcome at the house of worship.
St Asaph Cathedral in north Wales announced that the non-gender-specific bathrooms were part of a £300,000 refurbishment at the historic landmark. “As a steward, [I believe] our mission for the cathedral is a mission of welcome,” said Cathedral steward John Solbe, as reported by Premier UK.
“We respect all people who come to the cathedral and we welcome everybody; we want them to be comfortable.”
Leaders said that the decision had been “well-received” in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex and asexual communities.
“We put it [the idea] to the cathedral council – that was important – and there was a unanimous decision that this was the way to go,” Solbe added.
Dean of St Asaph Cathedral, the Very Rev Nigel Williams said: “St Asaph Cathedral is delighted to be leading the way in inclusive, accessible facilities for all visitors to the Cathedral.”
The Cathedral announced the new toilets in an article published on their website.
“The facilities include cubicles with floor to ceiling doors and have replaced the previous single toilet inside the Cathedral,” the church explained.
“They’re part of a new development including a tea room and community meeting space and will compliment a major interactive project for the ancient Cathedral, due to open later in the year.”
A spokesman also detailed the practical reasons behind the construction project: “There was only one small toilet. It was not adequate, we needed proper and adequate facilities. For large events such as concerts, we had to use portable loos and we had massive queues,” they added.
“The toilet facilities were completed last October, and we’ve already had lots of positive feedback particularly from Dads who can easily accompany their young daughters to the toilets, from older couples who act as carers for each other and from the LGBTQIA+ community who’ve held events recently in the Cathedral.”
Many schools and educational groups visit the Cathedral on a regular basis. Local school Ysgol Esgob Morgan in St Asaph is delighted with the decision.
It’s head teacher, Tim Redgrave, said: “My experience of working closely with the Diocese is that the church welcomes, respects and celebrates similarities and differences between us all. There is a need to be more open today and to give children a forum to be able to speak about their place in the world in a safe environment to reduce feelings of awkwardness and to educate others to avoid people feeling victimised.”