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Disabled toilets

I have already posted in the Research opportunities page but wondered if it was ok to post this here as well? If not, then please forgive me.

I’m a 3rd year anthropology student, who also suffers from a collection of disabling conditions, including fibro, NEAD and arthritis. I’m interested in chatting to people about their experiences of using disabled loos as part of my dissertation.

Do you find your body becomes judged by others wondering if you are ‘allowed’ to be using the disabled toilet? I have so-called ‘invisible’ conditions and I am frequently subjected to looks of distrust when I use a disabled loo.

I will not use ANY discussions here as part of my project without express permission from people, but it would be really useful to hear other people’s experiences.

If people are uncomfortable speaking here I’m more than happy to chat in private =)


  • Misscleo
    Misscleo Member Posts: 647 Pioneering
    Does your disability require that you use a disabled toilet ? If yes then use them.
    But if your one of these people who use a disabletoilet when you can use any toilet. Then be decent and leave the disabled toilets for disabled people.
    Use your head before using a disabled.loo
  • SpendingSpoons
    SpendingSpoons Member Posts: 16 Connected
    @Misscleo do you ever get able-bodied people saying that 'its ok, I'll be quick' or 'its just a toilet like any other - if no one's using it, its ok'? I've noticed this alot.
  • Paulines7
    Paulines7 Member Posts: 18 Listener
    I use a disabled toilet as I have various health problems and I am registered disabled.  I rarely walk with a stick these days and I have wondered if people think I shouldn't be using a disabled toilet but I have never had anyone say anything to me.  Perhaps it's because I am in my 70's.  Sometimes I have used a normal toilet and found that I couldn't get in there easily as I am overweight and there is little room between the door and the loo.  I also have a Blue Badge as I have spinal problems and need to have the extra space to get in and out of the car.  If there are no Disabled parking spaces available, I have to park where there is no space for another car on my right.  That way I don't come back and find someone has parked next to me and I can't get in my car. 
  • SpendingSpoons
    SpendingSpoons Member Posts: 16 Connected
    @Paulines7 Thanks for your post. Interestingly I've noticed that age isn't always a guarantee that you won't get questioned. I find this strange as many people find, at the very least, their bodies aren't as flexible as they used to be when they reach older age. So in my mind it seems perfectly sensible for older people to use the disabled loos.

    Do you think people distinguish between 'elderly' and 'disabled' and that a disabled loo is only for disabled people? it seems people have a very narrow view of what is disabling. And its almost as if people can't be relied upon or trusted to decide for themselves at any given moment which toilet they need to use.
  • ClaireSaul
    ClaireSaul Member Posts: 92 Pioneering
    @SpendingSpoons, I tend to use a wheelchair when I am out these days which keeps comments & looks to a min, but I have felt I've needed to justify myself at times - dare i say it, but particularly to elderly people who aren't disabled, but want to use the disabled loo.  I have also received dirty looks from mothers with young children - I know some disabled loos double as nappy changing stations, but some use them with toddlers and young children because they are larger (I am a mum to 3 so have done the whole young children bit). I do think that disabled loos should be for the disabled, but in the past have had surprised looks due to my age/invisible disabilities (am now 49 but was medically retired at 39, had first back surgery at 21, started using a stick regularly at 41).  Must clarify I've never had any nasty comments!
    I am very happy to chat to you for your thesis!!
    Claire Saul
    Chronic Pain Advisor
    [email protected]
  • SpendingSpoons
    SpendingSpoons Member Posts: 16 Connected
    Thanks @ClaireSaul , really appreciate the response and it would be brilliant to chat to you about my research. If at any point you want to switch to sending me private messages due to any personal stories or thoughts you wish to share, then please do. I'm aware that 'toilets' isn't always the most sensitve topic and can be embarassing for some =)

    Its interesting the amount of people who mention parents with children and the elderly. Its almost like there is a strange hierarchy going on where the disabled loos become a bit of a battleground for those who find the smaller, non-disabled loos inadequate. Whether its because you have small children, or you have some mobility issues, or feel uncomfortable in gendered toilets. The disabled loo becomes a place for all those who don't 'fit' in the other toilets, but as many many different people feel this, it can become unclear as to who has the 'right'. But I keep coming back to the idea that the disabled toilet is still viewed as a privilege, not a necessity by many. And the fact there is frequently only one disabled toilet to service what is clearly many individuals. Would you agree with this?

    I've also noticed alot of people who don't experience confrontations when using disabled facilities feel incredibly lucky due to this - they are very aware that their experience is not the same for all disabled people and feel very fortunate. Again, the idea that luck has intervened and that the disabled loo is a privilege.

    Thanks again for chatting with me - its really useful =)


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