Wagamama introduces gender-neutral bathrooms to mark London Transgender Pride

‘Wagamama has always prided itself on being a welcoming space regardless of gender or sexuality’

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Friday 31 May 2019 11:48
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Wagamama has announced plans to introduce gender-neutral bathrooms in celebration of this year's inaugural London Transgender Pride.

The Asian-inspired restaurant stated that at least 40 per cent of its UK restaurants will provide customers with gender-neutral bathrooms, in addition to all new branches.

The first branch to incorporate a gender-neutral bathroom will be its Test Kitchen Noodle Lab in Soho, London.

Gender-neutral bathrooms will be made accessible in 50 Wagamama restaurants by Saturday 14 September, the date of the first London Transgender Pride festival.

"Wagamama has always prided itself on being a welcoming space regardless of gender or sexuality, and encouraged our guests and colleagues to be all in and proud of who they are," said Ross Farquhar, chief marketing officer for Wagamama.

"As the world moves on, and in the spirit of good change (or 'kaizen'), we have to keep updating what that means for both our colleagues and guests."

In addition to introducing gender-neutral bathrooms, Wagamama is also reaffirming its support of the LGBT+ community through its "#allin" campaign.

As part of the campaign, the restaurant is hosting a series of "mentor match-ups" for LGBT+ individuals, with the first taking place in July to coincide with London Pride.

The idea for the "speed mentoring" initiative came from Tanya Compas, a caseworker for LGBT+ organisation The Albert Kennedy Trust.

"As someone who came into the LGBT+ community in my mid 20s, without knowing anybody from the community itself, over the past few years I have built up a strong network of other LGBT+ people who I am now lucky enough to call my friends and family," Compas said.

"I want to be able to introduce the incredible people I have met with other young LGBT+ people to show them that they are not alone, that there is space for them and most importantly show them the power of existing loudly as proud members of the LGBT+ community."

Wagamama's campaign in support of the LGBT+ community will also see the company donate £15,000 to the restaurant's six Pride charity partners, use Wagamama restaurants across the country as meeting points for groups on the day of Pride parades, and feature the Pride flag on benches in restaurants.

Around 600,000 people in the UK identify as transgender or non-binary, Stonewall estimates.

The first London Transgender Pride festival will take place on Saturday 14 April in Hackney, east London.

The festival's organisers say that the event is aimed at trans, non-binary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people "as well as all gender identities".

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