AFL fans have slammed the decision to offer unisex bathrooms at Saturday night’s Pride Game at Etihad Stadium.

Male and female bathroom doors had signs reading “Gender diversity is welcome here: Please use the restroom that best fits your gender identity or expression”, and five bathroom blocks were designated unisex for the event, the Herald Sun has reported.

Unisex bathrooms are important for trans and non-binary people who may feel uncomfortable choosing a male or female bathroom, or be at risk of harassment or violence from others in gendered facilities.

This year’s Pride Game between the St Kilda Saints and the Sydney Swans introduced the unisex bathrooms after feedback following previous games.

Reactions to the bathroom signage have been mixed, with some football fans raising concerns about “political correctness” or even the “safety” of unisex facilities.

“So when a group of young kids go into the toilets by themselves and [a] sexual predator or rapist comes then what happens,” tweeted one person.

Others have welcomed the move towards accommodating gender diversity, and pointed out that unisex bathrooms are not uncommon.

“The blokes complaining about gender inclusive bathrooms at Etihad Stadium are exactly the same type of blokes who probably don’t realise their wife also shits in the same toilet as they do at home,” quipped one person.

“Footy isn’t what it used to be (and that’s a very good thing),” posted another fan.

Pride Game founder Jason Ball said it was “pretty special” for the venue to be able to support gender diversity by providing unisex facilities.

“It is a pretty simple thing that most people take for granted—to be able to use the bathroom—but it is important for the gender diverse, trans or non-binary community to have an option where they feel safe,” he said.

Ball said those who were critical were unaffected by the presence of unisex bathrooms.

“Anyone who is criticising it is still able to use the toilet they want to use,” he said.

“Trans women are women and trans men are men and they’re entitled to use women’s and men’s toilets too.

“No-one is going inside a cubicle with anyone else so a lot of fears are based on some pretty damaging and negative stereotypes about trans people.”

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