The Sydney Opera House has apologised after women were forced to walk past men using urinals in its all-gender bathrooms.
The bizarre set-up was exposed by patrons who used the toilets while attending a show at the Joan Sutherland Theatre.
Radio host Ben Fordham said on Wednesday an unnamed caller told him patrons felt uncomfortable using the unisex toilets while at the concert.
‘A listener told us … inside the bathroom, you had men doing their business, with women walking past to use the cubicles,’ Fordham said on his 2GB morning show.
‘There were elderly women who expressed their shock: “I’ve never seen anything like it and have made a complaint”.’
An Opera House patron told 2GB women felt uncomfortable after they were forced to walk past men using urinals to get to the cubicles at the Joan Sutherland Theatre’s all-gender restrooms (pictured, stock image)
The Opera House apologised for making patrons feel uncomfortable but defended its ‘inclusive’ facilities and said covers were placed over the urinals to stop people from using them but someone had taken them off.
‘It is vital that the Opera House building – and the experiences offered – are welcoming, inclusive and accessible to all,’ the apology said.
‘The Opera House covered the urinals in the all-gender bathroom so they were not able to be used, however during Friday night’s performance a patron removed the urinal covers.
‘We apologise if any patrons felt uncomfortable with this situation, and we reinstalled the covers with better weighting to prevent them being removed in future.’
The iconic landmark introduced all-gender bathrooms, alongside separate male and female bathrooms, in its box office foyer for festival events including Vivid Sydney.
Fordham accused the Opera House of introducing unisex toilets as a ploy to bolster their reputation.
‘Because in 2022 organisations like to introduce useless policies based on the mistake and belief that it makes them look good,’ Fordham said.
‘Fancy putting covers over urinals to make people feel more inclusive.’
2GB host Ben Fordham (pictured) accused Sydney Opera House of introducing unisex toilets because they believe it ‘makes them look good’
The Opera House explained covers over the urinals had been removed which caused the uncomfortable situation (Pictured, Opera House during Vivid 2022)
Earlier this year, a primary school on Sydney’s northern beaches installed a mixed-gender toilet block with ‘inclusivity options’ and an ‘open hallway’.
Outraged parents described the toilet block design at Mona Vale Public School as ‘deeply disturbing’ and said it exposed young students to privacy breaches.
It followed a similar move by an Adelaide public high school that removed the front doors of toilet blocks to create ‘non-gendered’ facilities.
Former prime minister Scott Morrison weighed in on the gendered toilet debate in 2019, slamming a toilet sign which encouraged staff to use the bathroom that ‘best fits your gender identity’.
Mr Morrison said the sign, at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s office in Canberra, was ‘political correctness over the top’ and ordered its removal.