West Hollywood Transforming Single-Stall Bathrooms Into Gender-Neutral Ones

Gender Neutral Restroom (Tony Talbot / AP)
Tony Talbot / Associated Press

A law requiring all single-stall bathrooms to replace gender-specific signs (male, female) with gender-neutral signs will go into effect in West Hollywood on Thursday.

Councilwoman Abbe Land, who initiated the ordinance, said it would “provide a safe and accessible environment for all people” in a city council meeting last month, notes the Los Angeles Times

For West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board Member Drian Juarez, the new law is a big move. In a June council meeting, he referred back to an 2010 incident in which a transgender college student was attacked in a CalState Long Beach restroom and had the word “it” carved onto his chest by his assailant, notes the Times. “I believe that the city of West Hollywood truly is a jewel within the LGBT community.”

Businesses and public facilities will have 60 days to comply by replacing existing signs on the exterior of single-stall restrooms to indicate that they are gender neutral and make any needed changes to make them accessible to all people.

In September of 2014, University of California President Janet Napolitano pledged to start converting single-stall bathrooms at UC schools into gender-neutral ones.

A 2006 law which requires single-stall bathrooms to have gender-neutral signs has led to a crackdown on establishments that don’t comply in Washington, D.C. by “outing” businesses that do not comply. “Safe Bathrooms DC” has taken it upon themselves to help enforce the new rule:

If you see a single-stall public bathroom at a restaurant or business, let us know and we will notify the business owner or manager to make sure it gets changed! There are three simple ways you can let us know:

  • Tweet us the name of the business, its location, and ideally a photo of the bathroom door using the hashtag #safebathroomsDC. You can also add our Twitter handle: @dchumanrights
  • Submit a quick online form on our website
  • Call our office at (202) 481-3773 and ask to submit a bathroom complaint

“I hope that we can encourage other cities to adopt this,” Land said of West Hollywood’s new move, according to the Times. “It’s really so easy when you think about it, and I’m glad that we’re one of the cities that is moving forward on that.”

Follow Adelle on Twitter: @AdelleNaz.


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