As a full-time carer for my husband, who has dementia, I have found it exceedingly difficult to find separate gender-neutral disability toilets in public buildings, malls, and so on.
As he needs assistance with personal hygiene, it is essential for me to be able to accompany him into the toilet. Very often the disability toilets are included in the male or female toilets, not separately, which means they can’t be used by us together.
Having separate disability toilets also assists grandparents looking after grandchildren, particularly under the age of six, so that they can be accompanied into the toilets.
It should be mandatory under an accessibility act for all local government councils to specify and install separate accessible toilets in all new public buildings such as theatres, community centres and malls.
This is my access story, it is one of many. I'm sharing it because I want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.