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Coming soon to a building near you: Multi-Occupancy All-Gender Bathrooms
Illinois lawmakers are following the lead of other progressive states in permitting, but not mandating, All-Gender Multiple-Occupancy Restrooms, available for use by any person of any gender. HB 1286 has passed in the State House and is next before the Senate.
Requirements include specific signage, stall dividers with functioning locks and partitions for urinals. Each stall must contain a small trash receptacle, and the restroom must have a vending machine for menstruation supplies along with a baby changing station. In newly constructed buildings, the restrooms must be ADA-compliant and meet the Illinois Accessibility Code.
Yes, that means women may have to walk past occupied urinals on the way to a vacant stall. Besides the foreseeable “friendly” guy turning around from the urinal to ask: “Hey, How Ya Doin’?” what could go wrong?
All-Gender Multiple-Occupancy Restrooms are already popping up in libraries, hospitals, museums, restaurants, theatres and universities and college dorms across the country. The obvious purpose is to provide transgender facilities and, perhaps, shorten the line outside the women’s bathroom. This also allows building owners to count fixtures as male or female to comply with plumbing regulations. But is a single bathroom the place where we want to have this fight for equality? And is this an accommodation that compromises the safety of more vulnerable users? I’m going to need more time before I’m onboard with the new bathrooms. Maybe a lifetime, if ever.