Council to Consider Mandatory Multi-Stall Gender Neutral Bathrooms in WeHo

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Multi-stall gender neutral bathrooms will be discussed at the upcoming regular West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, May 3, 2021. City Council will consider directing staff and the City Attorney to evaluate and draft an ordinance to require all multi-stall bathroom facilities in businesses and places of public accommodation to be gender neutral.

According to Agenda Item 5-B, this ordinance would apply to new developments as well as significant remodels and new commercial leases. This ordinance will complement the City’s existing ordinance requiring single-stall restrooms to be gender neutral. The goal is to create a safe and accessible environment for everyone.

The item by council members Sepi Shyne and John Erickson will also explore proper signage to ensure the signs used are also gender inclusive. Staff will also be be directed to perform community outreach to help the community understand the purpose and need for such an ordinance and to gather feedback from community stakeholders, including but not limited to the Transgender Advisory Board, the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, Disabilities Advisory Board, Women’s Advisory Board, Public Safety Commission, Public Facilities Commission, and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

The Staff Report lists the following reasons for Multi-Stall Gender Neutral Bathrooms:

  1. Public safety and public health issues. Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals have been verbally harassed, physically attacked, and/or sexually assaulted when accessing gender-segregated bathrooms. According to a survey of the experiences of trans people in the United States from 2016, 59% of respondents sometimes refrained from using a bathroom outside of their home in the previous year for fear of confrontation. The same survey found that 24% of respondents were asked at least once in the previous year whether they were in the right bathroom. 9% were denied or stopped from using one.
  2. Accommodation for people with special needs. Small children who are too young to use restrooms by themselves may face a difficult decision with gender-segregated public restrooms. This may be especially difficult for people with children of a different gender – such as a father with his daughter. Gender- segregated restrooms are also difficult for adults who have caregivers or someone taking care of an elderly parent.
  3. Efficient space compared to single-user restrooms. Single-occupant restrooms are often seen as more inclusive because they are easier to make gender neutral. However, single restrooms are not an efficient use of space in some businesses. Single-user restrooms can be isolating and mark people as different if that is the only gender-neutral option.
  4. Decreasing waiting time for restrooms. Allowing anyone to use gender neutral bathrooms cuts down on the waiting time.

In 2014, City Council adopted an ordinance to require all single-stall restrooms in public places to be gender neutral.

In 2016, California passed similar legislation that required single-occupancy bathrooms to be designated all-gender, or gender neutral. These laws do not apply to multi-stall restrooms.

To read the full details to Item 5-B, visit: https://wehotimes.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

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