Wimbledon’s new gender-neutral lavatories divide court of public opinion

·3 min read
Wimbledon gender-neutral lavatories - Frank Molter/Avalon
Wimbledon gender-neutral lavatories - Frank Molter/Avalon

Gender-neutral lavatories have been introduced at Wimbledon for the first time in the tournament’s 145-year history.

Organisers of the world-famous competition, which started on Monday, put up the new signs at staff facilities near the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s (AELTC) front entrance.

Long-time fans have accused the Championships of breaking tradition to keep up with “fads”, in the latest of a string of changes made by the club.

In 2021, organisers did away with his and hers towels and began handing out the same coloured towels to men and women players, after holding “progression” talks.

Earlier this summer, it was also confirmed that Mrs and Miss titles would be scrapped from the female champions honours board, ending a tradition of almost 140 years.

These were some of the last male-female distinctions to go after the AELTC committed to equal pay in 2007, making Wimbledon the last of the four major tennis tournaments to award equal prize money.

Ashleigh Barty, the current Wimbledon women’s champion - AELTC/Thomas Lovelock/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Ashleigh Barty, the current Wimbledon women’s champion - AELTC/Thomas Lovelock/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

While one long-time female fan complained that the decision to implement gender-neutral lavatories at Wimbledon disrupted a tournament that was “about tradition and doesn’t have to follow every fad”, others were not opposed.

Mike Mahoney, 25, told The Telegraph: “I think it’s great, I’m all for this. At the end of the day, we’re all humans, we all live the same life and we’re all here for a good time.

“In my opinion, if anyone is here giving bad vibes, I don’t like it. And I think everyone should follow in Wimbledon’s footsteps and have that attitude because we’re all humans,” the hairdresser from Buckinghamshire added.

“At the end of the day, it’s a sport. We’re all here to watch people who have worked hard at what they do and I think all this other stuff shouldn’t be looked at too much… but I feel like everyone should have that attitude whether here, at a rave in London or at a football event.”

‘The only downside... guys in the bathroom’

Priya Bhogal, an NHS doctor, said: “I think it’s great, why not? It should be. I think it’s amazing and how it should be but I also like going to a toilet where the toilet seat is down.”

The 27-year-old added: “The only real downside for me are guys in the toilet, but I think I can put that to one side.”

Rosina Webber, who attended Wimbledon with her 80-year-old mother, said: “The way the world’s changing, you’ve got to go with it.”

Single-sex lavatories have still been made available throughout the grounds. A spokesman for the AELTC said: “A toilet at Gate 1D which has a gender-neutral sign was part of a build back in 2020.”

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