JMS toilets
Credit: Odhran Gallagher

Number of UK students identifying as non-binary has doubled

New figures reveal that the number of UK students who define themselves as neither male nor female has more than doubled in the past two years.

Figures from Times Higher Education have disclosed that 5,505 students defined their sex as “other” rather than “male” or “female” in 2020-21. This number makes up 0.2 per cent of the student body, which is a 42% increase from the year before. A UCAS study also previously found that students were more open about their gender identity after attending university.

Moreover, the Higher Education Statistics Agency from 2022 reported that roughly 0.17% of academic staff in the UK identify as neither male nor female. However, at the University of Glasgow there were zero academic staff who identified as “other” when presented with the options male, female or other.

Currently, non-binary genders, or people who do not identify as male or female, are not recognised under UK law and therefore the UK government has no reliable estimate of how many non-binary people are currently living in the UK. According to a Scottish Trans report, a lack of legal recognition for non-binary people has led to some people being denied care from Gender Identity Clinics. One respondent reported: “I have been told by a consultant that they can basically do nothing for me because ‘there isn’t any legislation or protocol’ for non-binary people.”

The UK Government recently rejected gender neutral toilets in public buildings, opting instead for single-sex toilets in hospitals, schools, and offices. This policy has been criticised as being transphobic as it does not include or provide a safe space for trans and non-binary people.

The University of Glasgow has adapted many buildings to provide gender neutral toilets. As of January 2022, the University of Glasgow has provided gender neutral toilets at 19 locations across the Gilmorehill Campus. These toilets are inclusive to all genders, including those who identify as neither male nor female.

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