As Donald Trump rolls back protections for transgender students accessing bathrooms that match their gender identity in America, in Japan things are going a different way.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, the Tokyo metropolitan government is planning to build transgender-friendly toilets in many of the venues being built for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
Japan has proved itself to be pretty progressive in this area: “Daredemo toire” (“Everyone’s toilets”) are already a thing. These are wheelchair friendly, unisex bathrooms open to all. However, they take up a lot of space to build.
So the new toilets that the government is proposing are a little different: they will be built to fit two people (but not a wheelchair), and will be open to all genders – which will hopefully reduce lines for the Daredemo toire.
Head of Nijiiro Diversity (Rainbow-coloured diversity) Maki Muraki praised the move and told The Asahi Shimbun: “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.”
These new toilets are an even better option for trans people than the Daredemo toire – research has shown that some transgender people have been told not to use those toilets because they’re for disabled people.
The plan is for at least one unisex toilet to be installed in seven of the 11 venues built by the metropolitan government, hopefully opening up the options for transgender people at the Olympics.