Etihad Stadium in Melbourne has caused a massive debate on social media after it unveiled new signs on the toilets at a recent football match.
During an annual Pride Game between Sydney and St Kilda over the weekend, footy-goers were met with signs and flashy promotions on the screens throughout the arena advising people they were free to use whichever bathroom they identified with at three of the toilet blocks across the venue.
The stadium signs read: “Gender diversity is welcome here. Please use the restroom that best fits your gender identity or expression”.
It comes as both football teams competing at the Pride Game have publicly supported both LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) people within the game and the wider community. The idea of the gender-neutral bathrooms is to make transgender people feel comfortable when they need to use the toilet.
The move by the stadium follows previous calls for similar bathrooms to be rolled out across all public and commercial buildings in Australia. In fact, a proposal was submitted to the National Building Codes Board last year over the matter. Many believe the bathrooms will transgender people “choice” and “dignity” when it comes to something as simple as going to the toilet in public.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Queensland president Shelley Argent previously told the Courier Mail in Brisbane that transgender people can be abused when using male toilets, but can also be accused of preying on females when they use those bathrooms.
“Going to the toilet is a normal every day function. But for trans or non-binary people, it can be a difficult experience,” she said.
The toilets at Etihad, which had only been introduced for the Pride Game, had caused debate online. There were people who praised the stadium and the AFL for introducing the toilets in the first place.
One person said the toilets should last longer than one game.
“Why isn’t this permanent then? Having this sign up once a year means nothing. Actively show your inclusion all year round,” he said.
They're making a deliberate and very public effort over a number of years, and that's great.
— ʍǝɹpuɐʞɔıu ǝɟǝɟʌoɔ (@elronxenu) June 9, 2018
Another comment read: “As long as it remains an option and not forced it’s a good thing,” while a third added: “They’re making a deliberate and very public effort over a number of years, and that’s great”.
Then there were those who thought it caused bigger problems.
One Twitter user wrote: “Sorry but I don’t care what someone identifies as. If a bloke says he identifies as a woman & follows my daughter into the toilets cause of this sign, I’ll follow him & drop him. A woman is a woman & a man is a man. If I identify as a hamburger that doesn’t make me one does it [sic]”.
Sorry but I don't care what someone identifies as. If a bloke says he identifies as a woman & follows my daughter into the toilets cause of this sign, I'll follow him & drop him. A woman is a woman & a man is a man. If I identify as a hamburger that doesn't make me one does it
— Tim from Sports Land (@timpatton81) June 9, 2018
Another made note of last year’s “Yes” result for same-sex marriage and said: “This is what happens when you vote yes”.
A third added: “The world has reached peak level stupidity”.
It’s not the first time the topic of gender-fluidity has caused debate. A Target store in Australia came under fire in 2017 when it tried to market a toy to girls in a pink box, while the boy’s version came in a blue. Furious shoppers blasted the department store for their labelling and vented their frustration that the girls toy was a beauty studio, while the boys toy was a doctor kit. Of course, there were others who didn’t think it was a big problem.
Meanwhile, singer Pink, whose real name is Alecia Beth More, recently caused debate online when she said she doesn’t raise her two children as the sex they were born. Instead, she lets them make their own choices and even said she supported public places making bathrooms available to everyone –regardless of sex.