Gender-Neutral Bathrooms: (Hopefully) Coming Soon to a City Near You
By Jennifer Memmolo
Bathroom-goers, rejoice: In cities like Seattle, Philadelphia, and West Hollywood, the lines for public bathrooms are about to get much shorter because all three cities decided to eradicate gender-specific signage for single-stall bathrooms.
It will no longer be a "brave" move to jump in line to use the solo men's room when the line for the women's stall is out the door — it'll be legal!
The Seattle City Council voted on the proposal submitted by Mayor Ed Murray. While the benefits of the signage will trickle down to everyone, its primary function was to ensure a comfortable bathroom experience for transgender people in government and Seattle business' public restrooms.
"The action taken today by the City Council will make Seattle a more welcoming place for everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation: No one should live in fear when they use basic accommodations most of us take for granted," Mayor Murray said in a statement quoted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Gender-neutral bathrooms are already a major force on the University of Washington campus, where the Q Center, an on-campus queer activist and justice center, advocated for their implementation in every building on campus.
Seattle is just one of several major cities that have similar laws in place. Philadelphia and Portland (the Oregon one) passed legislation in 2013 that called for the instatement of all-gender bathroom signage on single-occupancy stalls. West Hollywood and Washington, D.C., joined them over the past year with policies requiring gender-neutral language. In each of these cities, bathrooms with multiple stalls are still gender-specific, but the fact that this simple tweak can be made to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable is pretty wonderful. Fingers (and legs) crossed this trend doesn't stop in Seattle!
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