Last Updated on January 3, 2020
A local town councilor from Middlesborough, North Yorkshire, England, who lobbied for the acceptance of gender neutral toilets has been charged with child sexual abuse.
Councillor David Smith, representing Coulby Newham on Middlesbrough Council, faces nine counts of sexual touching of a child, according to the BBC.
The Northern Echo reported that Smith is accused of having sex with a child, engaging in sexual activity with two other children and four teenagers.
Following the accusation, Smith, 30, resigned from the Conservative Party and Middlesbrough Council Conservative Group.
After his election to councilor in May last year, he said: “On Tuesday June 18, I am meeting Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and one of the issues I will be bringing up is one that I included in my local election campaign – gender neutral toilets.
“I am also intending to contact the relevant executive member and to get a local conversation across the area on this topic.
“Through my time interacting with local transgender and non-binary people, I’ve seen first hand the difficulties faced by these individuals when accessing public toilets and changing rooms.
“The feeling of humiliation is an experience that most of us don’t go through when visiting a public toilet and, in 2019, that is simply unacceptable.”
Smith added: “Across the country, pubs, shopping centres, universities and schools are becoming gender neutral to ensure our transgender and non binary family and friends feel safe when using the facilities.
“This is an opportunity for our town to lead the way for local authorities and I call on the mayor, the executive and my fellow councillors to back this initiative.
“I understand, clearly, there will be some concerns from some councillors and members of the public but the risk does not increase once public toilets become gender neutral.
“In fact, if anyone has any intention in committing a crime at present, they will do so.
“This is about creating a much more safer environment for transgender and non binary people.”
Smith denies the charges, saying: “I completely reject these spurious allegations and removing myself from the party will ensure I can focus all my efforts on fighting to clear my name.”
He was released on bail until his four-day trial scheduled for June 1, 2020.
Smith also apologized after referring to families on welfare as: “rotten pond life families that should be sterilized and washed.”
Gender neutral toilets have been unveiled across several UK schools–to somewhat mixed reception.
Girls have been avoiding school due to reports of teasing and feelings of uneasiness when having to use the restroom.
In the case of mixed sex toilets, which have been introduced under the pretenses of reducing bullying and promoting inclusion; some girls feel as if they’ve been robbed of their privacy.
Some girls report experiencing ‘period shaming’ from boys while forced to share a bathroom.
Muslim girls claim to feel uncomfortable when adjusting their hijabs around boys.
Female pupils have avoided drinking water while at school due to the new mixed sex bathroom arrangement.
According to the University of Warwick, around 40% of female students have reported being victims of sexual harassment at school in England and Wales.