THE unthinkable happened. Several months ago, a story about Tramway, a Glasgow arts venue, changing some of its male and female toilets to unisex facilities made headlines.

I saw my news story about it shared on a friend's Facebook page. Someone I didn't know had written underneath, "Who cares?"

Wading in on social media is usually something one has to do with metaphorical sleeves rolled up and literal heart and stomach steeled for dispute. Politely, I responded, pointing out that women who have been raped or sexually assaulted might not want to share mixed toilets with men.

Some women might not want to wash out personal items at sinks shared with men; some women I'd spoken to had experienced miscarriages in public toilets and wanted to be in a supportive female space.

I braced myself for the reply. "I hadn't thought of any of that," she wrote back, "I see what you mean."

Read more: Catriona Stewart: Do unisex toilets deserve all this fuss?

Thoughtfulness on social media? There's a first, and how refreshing.

While this was a positive outcome, it still bothered me and I couldn't entirely pinpoint why.

But then it very slowly settled. Over the past 18 months or so, while the debate has raged over the confluence of trans rights and the rights of women and girls, it seems that we are having to re-emphasise our vulnerabilities in a way that feels hugely regressive.

There comes a point where you think the argument won and the outcome unassailable. You just assume that everyone is on the same page. Women and girls have sex based rights because we have argued for and won the right to safety, privacy and dignity based on our lived experience.

So, why are we having to give constant reminders of this fact? There's some insight from Nicola Sturgeon's comments last month, speaking on gender equality at the United Nations.

"As an ardent, passionate feminist, and have been all of my life," she said, "I don’t see the greater recognition of transgender rights as a threat to me as a woman or to my feminism."

I'm alright, Jacqueline.

Not everyone has this experience of feeling marginalised or unsafe. I almost never do. I feel perfectly safe walking about at night, I don't get spooked or intimidated. I wouldn't particularly mind sharing a public toilet with men. I feel on a par with my male colleagues and respected by my male bosses, despite having experienced sexual harassment at work in the past.

And harassment is still rife. Just last month a new survey of Scotland's workplaces revealed that one-third of women have been sexually harassed. Emma Ritch, the spokeswoman for feminist organisation Engender, said the survey suggested sexual harassment in the workplace is "a routine part of working life" for women.

Read more: Gillette is right: There must be other ways to be masculine

So, while I, like Ms Sturgeon, don't feel a personal sense of threat, it seems ludicrous to be able to reduce a collective movement to individual experience. Other women feel threatened, other women are vulnerable, women are still badly harassed, women suffer gender-based violence, girls need protections.

It's such a negative thing, to be repeatedly reminded that you are the more vulnerable sex. That night time is actually a night watch in case of attack; that not all men are allies. That sex segregated spaces are not a solution but they are a solace, a small respite from a constant burden. Yet this is the truth and we're being forced to constantly remind ourselves and others of it. There's a real oxymoron there: assert vulnerability.

It's interesting that those who would undermine the notion that women need physical safe spaces, are insisting that they are at risk from ideas that offend them. Asking for safe spaces for women leads the likes of feminist writers Julie Bindel or Germaine Greer to be no-platformed - because even to discuss these ideas is claimed to be harmful.

Perhaps certain feminists have wrongly assumed other people share their knowledge and these reminders are actually necessary.

Have we come so far, made so many gains, that, in fact, the majority of women feel no threat and have forgotten the fight? While arguing over sex-neutral toilets in schools, are young girls looking at the women laying a case on their behalf and wondering what on earth we're fussing about?

Age differences do matter. Years ago I wrote a sex work positive column and was horrified when an older colleague emailed to ask me if I could be condoning paedophilia next. I was very young and deeply affronted but now, many years and much reflection later, can acknowledge the differences in our generational experiences that might lead to such varying understandings of what a feminist stance on sex work might look like.

Do girls still want sex segregated spaces or are we arguing for something we think they should want? Is that why many of the arguments are generational - older feminists rejected by younger?

It may be a small, small part of a much wider debate but I feel current discourse is frustratingly dragging us back over old ground. We're regressing to rehashing arguments settled decades ago. What wins there? Nothing but the patriarchy, and that's not what any of us want.