Laws are sometimes pretty hard to understand, considering the fact that they’re written in Legal English, which uses a different grammatical structure and often lacks punctuation. However, the message of one new law in West Hollywood is loud and clear: all single-stall restrooms in businesses and public places must be gender-neutral, and can’t restrict usage to a single sex.
“Gender-specific restrooms can be unwelcoming and potentially unsafe for many people whose gender identity falls outside of traditional gender norms,” a city statement read.
Business and public facilities have 60 days after the law went into effect, which was on January 15, to replace existing signs on the exterior of single-stall restrooms to indicate that the spaces are gender neutral, and to make any necessary changes to make the restrooms more accessible. It odes not affect multiple-stall restrooms, mandating that only facilities designed for use by no more than one person be non-restricted to a specific sex or gender identity.
“Thank you for discussing gender neutral restrooms here in the city of West Hollywood and for giving that protection to transgender people,” said West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board member Drian Juarez. “I believe that the city of West Hollywood truly is a jewel within the LGBT community.”
The idea behind the law is to help accommodate the sizable trans and gender non-conforming population living in the Los Angeles suburb. The city said that it will benefit “people with disabilities or with personal attendants, people with children of a different gender, and to the many people who have waited in line for a gender-specific restroom” when stalls intended for the opposite sex are empty.
“I hope we can encourage other cities to adopt this,” said councilwoman Abbe Land, who initiated the law. “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.”