BA (Hons) Architecture, Oxford Brookes University 
Year 3, Spring 2021
Thesis, individual work

Gender identity is a growing topic in Western society. It is increasingly becoming more than how you choose to self-identify; it can decide whether you can access sex-segregated spaces such as public bathrooms. Transgender and non-binary individuals demonstrate that there are many ways of expressing gender that do not conform to the gender binary that the conventional public bathroom is based on. My dissertation examines conventional public bathrooms, how they are meeting the needs of transgender and non-binary individuals and suggests ways to rethink their design.
This was done by exploring existing theories and concepts, developing them further and applying them to the current bathroom debate. Furthermore, I investigated the topic’s media coverage and recent legislation to prove the controversy of the topic. The controversy and complexity were further addressed by looking at intersectionality and contradictions between vulnerable societal groups, such as women and individuals with disabilities, who benefit from legislation and design regulations in public bathroom design.
Some of my key findings were as follows: some restriction is legitimate and needed for health and safety purposes; however, rigidity in social spaces can also be socially constructed; the public bathroom has a long social and cultural history of sex-segregation due to safety issues. Sex-segregated bathrooms are however discreetly reinforcing the gender binary, causing difficulties for transgender and non-binary individuals to be acknowledged in modern society. Public bathroom design should aim to address the diversity of social identities, finding common design solutions. 

  Groups and common design solutions. (Gatland, 2021)  

Final mark: A
Selected to be part of a digital Dissertation Exhibition, where only 6 out of 121 dissertations were chosen. 
To be included in a Newsletter for applicants to the BA (Hons) Architecture course at Oxford Brookes University. 

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