I had an uncomfortable experience outside of a toilet last month. I was taking part in a long distance charity cycling event when I halted at one of the rest stops to use the facilities.
Two rooms stood side-by-side, both were identical accept for the signs on the door, one had a stick figure, the other a stick figure wearing a triangle; I choose the triangle option as it was empty but was met by three angry female cyclists on my exit; I had transgressed the social code of only performing bodily functions in a space reserved for my own sex.
It made me wonder if our desire for segregation while secreting is learned behaviour from a lifetime of using single sex toilets from when we first started school.
As more and more schools decide to have mixed-gender toilet facilities, perhaps in the future adults will also be able to comfortably use mixed-sex public toilets. After all, most of us seem to manage to at home.
Glasgow is one of the cities at the forefront of this societal shift. Three primary schools in the city are being built to house unisex toilets, following on from Hillhead Primary School, which already has six mixed-sex toilets.
The City Council have said that all new schools in the future will have gender neutral facilities to help children with gender identity issues as well as reducing bullying. Some high schools in Perthshire in the north of the country also have mixed facilities
Something as basic as going to the toilet is already fraught with difficulty for pupils who don't identify with the gender they were born into, with some being forced to use disabled toilets as they are ostracised from using either the 'Boys' or the 'Girls' room.
This obviously reduces the access for the disabled pupils which these bathrooms are physically designed for. Stories have emerged of transgender pupils in Melbourne actually having to wearing nappies to avoid using the facilities at school.
Last year, the South Australian State Government approved a new policy which allows students to use the toilet for the gender they identify with and the Australian Education Department has called on other states to follow suit.
However, if the facilities aren't designed as unisex, this isn't going to reduce the antipathy of their peers.
Schools toilets are a difficult area to negotiate anyway for a large number of pupils, whatever their gender identity.
A study of 2000 Scottish school children from 2013 found that six out of 10 pupils were anxious about using the school's facilities and either never used the toilet or only if they really had to.
Furthermore, a large number of pupils will restrict their fluid intake during the day simply to reduce the chances of needing to go. It is quite worrying that the first thing a large number of kids must do as soon as they get home from school will be to rush upstairs to relieve themselves in the bathroom.
Holding off can lead to urinary tract problems, urinary retention or constipation. The main concerns users have is the poor hygiene and lack of basic facilities such as soap and toilet paper. The lack of these amenities in prison has caused inmates to sue the government as an abuse of human rights, yet we somehow expect our children to put up with it.
However newly built unisex toilets can be a positive advancement for all users, regardless of gender status. The money saved on building only one set of toilet blocks could be invested in doors which can be securely closed with cubicle walls which reach the floor and a washbasin inside to ensure privacy.
Meanwhile, the necessary removal of the urinal would improve hygiene while also allowing a glass door which would reduce the chances of pupils being bullied inside the toilets.
And perhaps the presence of the opposite sex could act as a civilising factor; imagine a future where men don't have to be told to lift the seat.