Businesses in Seattle Are Now Required to Make Some Bathrooms 'Gender Neutral'

Businesses in Seattle Are Now Required to Make Some Bathrooms 'Gender Neutral'
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Seattle is taking steps to ensure bathrooms are open to all.

On Monday, Seattle's City Council unanimously passed legislation requiring all public spaces, including city-owned buildings and private businesses, to designate all single-stall restrooms as open to all genders. That means coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and stores will no longer have single stall bathrooms segregated by gender.

"No one should live in fear when they use basic accommodations most of us take for granted," Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement. "I applaud the Council for taking this important step to provide respect and safety for members of the transgender community."

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The law will only affect current and future single stall bathrooms, and will not require the construction of new bathrooms or affect multi-stall bathrooms. In essence, compliance will be as simple as replacing "men's" and "women's" signs on bathroom doors with signage to indicate that the bathrooms are not gender exclusive.

Last year, Philadelphia passed a similar bill. New York City is also considering legislation that would require single-stall bathrooms to be gender neutral. Transgender activists have supported such legislation as a solution for the fear of harassment and violence transgender people face when using bathrooms segregated by sex. 

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Edition: October 2016

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