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NYC bill would require some bathrooms to be gender-neutral

June 26, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City officials, aiming to curb gender bias and harassment, are readying a plan that would require businesses to convert some restrooms to gender-neutral facilities.

Legislation is being introduced that would require publicly available, single-occupancy restrooms in both public and private buildings to be designated as gender-neutral. It would also amend the language of some city laws, including the plumbing code, which requires separate lavatories for men and women.

“This is a very important issue,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose office is releasing a report Friday recommending the changes. “It’s time to help individuals who identify as transgender to use the bathroom without fear of consequence.”

The law would require businesses to place new signage on existing restrooms to identify them as gender-neutral. It would not apply to multi-stall lavatories.

“We’re not talking about constructing new bathrooms or spending any money, except basically purchasing a sign,” Stringer said. “Just putting a sign on an existing bathroom will go a long way to reducing discrimination.”

Calls to The Building Owners and Managers Association International, which represents commercial property owners and managers, and to the New York State Restaurant Association were not immediately returned.

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