DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela stirred up a social media frenzy with a proposal for unisex bathrooms at Cape Town International Airport. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA
DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela stirred up a social media frenzy with a proposal for unisex bathrooms at Cape Town International Airport. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

Call for unisex toilets at Cape Town International Airport causes a stir

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Jan 20, 2020

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Cape Town - DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has stirred up a social media frenzy with a proposal for unisex bathrooms at Cape Town International Airport.

He said in a Facebook post: “I find it backwards, discriminating and stereotyping that just because you are a male, you must be searched by a male, if you are female you must be searched by a female.

“What about members of the LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex)? I am going to challenge this.

“We must also do away with male and female toilets, we must have unisex toilets.”

Madikizela said on Sunday that the process would require public participation and consultation.

“At home we use unisex toilets, which are used by visitors who are not our relatives as well, at our party’s head office in Bruma, Johannesburg we use unisex toilets. Does it increase the prospect of rape, I think not.

“Rapists, pedophiles and people with personality disorder will go to any length to find their victims. We must not be naive, we have different toilets for different sexes, yet the rape stats is so high,” he said.

His post created a social media stir, and provoked some scepticism.

Sifiso Mathonsi said: “In a country full of sex offenders, predators and paedophiles, you are proposing a haven, an ideal situation for them.”

Mervin Mackelina said: “Outch (sic), this is a difficult one considering the society we are living in. We inherit the male and female societal structure, and the democratic dispensation must gradually phase in new rights.”

Lecturer and member of the Gender Equality and Inclusivity Working Group at CPUT, Dr Nyx McLean said: “Unisex or rather gender-neutral bathrooms are an important step forward in recognising the needs of transgender and gender diverse people, who may not feel safe using binary option (male/female) bathrooms.”

"Some spaces, such as Virgin Active Kenilworth Centre have gender neutral change rooms/bathrooms which are also family rooms - so parents of any gender may use the bathroom/change room with their child who may need assistance in changing, etc. Gender neutral bathrooms also help the rest of the LGBTIAQ+ community feel safe should their gender expression be read as opposite to one of the binary options available," they said.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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