Accessing private spaces when travelling


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    • #136512

      As someone who rarely travels far, and finds it much more difficult when doing so as trans, I have a rare long-distance journey coming up soon which will take me into London by train. I’m MTF and have years on the NHS waiting list which means, as so many of us here know, that a full day away from home means finding somewhere to get rid of facial hair at some point.

      I discovered a facility in the UK called Changing Places (see their site). These are accessible toilets with more than the standard facilities, and there’s one in the rail station I’d be using on my journey which would be ideal. I wrote to them, asking if trans people might be permitted to use them, but was told definitely not, they are only for people with disabilities and that we, apparently, have unspecified ‘alternative provision’ available.

      Was I wrong to ask this question? What do others here do when they need a private place on a long day away from home?

    • #136516
      DeeAnn Hopings


      I think your question was legitimate. It is always good to know the Lay of the Land before going to some unfamiliar place. In the US, there are some pubic places that have gender-neutral facilities, but unfortunately it isn’t something that has been universally mandated. A few years back in Palm Springs, the regular sized Starbucks was replaced a new one that is probably about 5 times the size of the previous one. It was built with a really interesting restroom arrangement. The wash basins were external to the 2 completed enclosed and undefined toilets. Gender just never comes into play.

      In the interest of full disclosure, I have been using women’s restrooms for about the past 7 years. It always seemed to me that I would be asking for trouble if I went into the men’s restroom dressed.

      Anyway, in your situation, the only thing that comes to mind is the possibility of carrying a cane. There are foldable ones that don’t take up much space when you are not using it. That has the potential of looking very reasonable to anyone who might be watching. Unfortunately the downside might be having someone who was actually disabled waiting for you to exit, but it isn’t like you are going to camp out there…

      • #136517

        Thanks for that thoughtful reply, DeeAnn. It’s not having a gender-neutral facility, but one that’s individual – how could I shave in a women’s toilet? No way! There are numerous individual toilets for people with disabilities here in the UK which are available to anyone, so I’ll have to find one of those.

    • #136525

      You were quite right to ask, and, dig in further to find out how they are accommodating to trans people. It can be difficult. I am generally able to time my day so I end up at a hotel, etc. before needing to freshen up. I do not have much of a shadow anyway so passing me by on a trotting horse will reveal little anyway. The benefits of aging .

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