The Washington, D.C., Office of Human Rights (OHR) in April launched a city-funded campaign to step up enforcement of a little-known law that requires single-occupancy bathrooms in restaurants and other businesses to be gender neutral.
OHR spokesperson Elliot Imse said the law and its implementing regulations are aimed at making it easier for transgender people and others to safely access public bathrooms.
The District requires all single-occupancy bathrooms at restaurants, businesses or other public places to be gender-neutral, without labels such as 'male' or 'female.' "While in the past, non-compliant bathrooms could be reported to OHR through a lengthy form, now community members can alert OHR by tweeting the business name and location using the hashtag #safebathroomsDC, or by submitting a short five-question form on the OHR website," according to an OHR statement announcing the campaign, which features a series of attention-grabbing advertisements.
"Although the campaign advertisements are focused on the benefit of gender-neutral bathrooms to the transgender and gender non-conforming community, people with personal attendants of the opposite gender and parents with children of the opposite gender also frequently benefit from gender-neutral bathrooms," the statement says.
TrendWatch: Look for demand for more gender-neutral restrooms to grow. In his April column for Plumbing Engineer, Winston Huff, CPD, LEED AP BD+C, wrote: "The Transgender Law and Policy Institute reports that more than 150 U.S. universities, including UCLA and NYU, have installed gender-neutral bathrooms to provide a safe environment for transgender and gender-nonconforming students. These single-use restrooms are marked with male and female signs, and many universities list their locations on their website and on campus maps. This recognition of the need for gender-neutral restrooms is leading to a larger demand for single-stall public restrooms across the country in different property types."