Australia

Gender-neutral bathrooms available at Australian Open for the first time

File photo. Source: AAP

A sign posted outside the bathrooms encourages tennis fans to use the toilet "most comfortable" for them.

Australia’s marquee tennis event is now sporting gender-neutral toilets.

The facilities at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena were reportedly installed by the Melbourne Olympic Park Trust back in October, but are now welcoming Australian Open fans for the very first time.

A sign posted outside the bathroom encourages a non-discriminatory approach to using the toilets.

“Please use the toilet that’s most comfortable for you,” the placard reads.

“Anyone can use these toilets, regardless of gender identity or expression.”

Standard male and female bathrooms are also available for use.

Discussion around the use of gender-neutral facilities has increased as tennis great Margaret Court makes her return to the Australian Open.

The former Wimbledon champion has attracted criticism over her views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, remaining a staunch critic of both matters.

Court, who successfully battled for the 50th anniversary of her grand slam to be marked by Tennis Australia, also reportedly condemned trans athletes at the Pentecostal church where she is a minister.

The sport’s governing body was reportedly torn on the matter of Court’s strict views, conceding it would ultimately “recognise but not celebrate” the achievement of its greatest female player.

Barrymore Court and Margaret Court watch the Women's Singles first round match between Naomi Osaka and Marie Bouzkova on day one of the 2020 Australian Open.
Barrymore Court and Margaret Court watch the Women's Singles first round match between Naomi Osaka and Marie Bouzkova on day one of the 2020 Australian Open.
Getty Images AsiaPac

It is not the first time a major sports ground has opened its doors to gender-neutral bathroom facilities.

Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium embraced the concept in 2018 for the AFL’s Pride Game between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans.

An additional five toilet blocks - usually reserved as disabled or baby change facilities – were declared gender-neutral for the encounter.

The move sparked debate from some fans, with many embracing the concept while critics questioned the AFL’s decision to wade into social issues.

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