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Gender-neutral restrooms required in county in Oregon


(Photo: KPTV/Portland)

PORTLAND (KPTV) — The chairman of Multnomah County  issued an executive order Tuesday requiring the county to include gender-neutral restrooms in all future buildings and remodeling projects.

County Board Chairman Jeff Cogen said it’s the first time a county in the United States has made a ruling like this one.

Workers will now evaluate restrooms in the more than 120 county buildings and decide on remodeling options or whether to add new signs.

One county building on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard already included unisex bathrooms, so signs were posted Tuesday to clearly mark them and direct people to their locations.

Cogen said this should help transgendered employees, as well as members of the public, feel comfortable in county offices.

“We’ve had stories up through the office of diversity and equity of employees who were literally not able to go to the bathroom all day long or who were having to go home to go to the bathroom in order to feel safe and comfortable,” he said.

Tash Shatz of Basic Rights Oregon issued a statement saying the county’s decision will benefit many people, including those with disabilities and parents with young children.

“As a transgender person, I’ve experienced threats and a lack of safety when using public restrooms. For me and many other transgender people, this often leads to serious health impacts such as chronic urinary tract infections due to holding off on using public restrooms. The costs of changing signs are minimal, but the costs of serious health impacts can be dire,” he said.

County officials said the new signs identifying gender-neutral restrooms cost around $10 each. It’s not yet clear how many will be needed.

Grant High School in Portland installed unisex bathrooms for transgender students and staff members in March.



7 Comments to “Gender-neutral restrooms required in county in Oregon”

    NAVYTOWN said:
    June 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Why not just let ALL sexes use a common restroom? One large multi-sex restroom instead of two and possibly three separate facilities. Who really cares whether there's a male, a female, or a transgender in the adjoining stall?? It's really nobody's business. If this idea freaks you out, too bad. Get over it!!

    lovingJesusmom said:
    June 12, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    well, the problem with a large common restroom for all sexes to use at any time together would be the women and children who are not comfortable with walking into a bathroom with grown men using urinals. I think there needs to be separate restrooms still for men and women, then the neutral restrooms are also a good idea for those who need that kind of space to feel safe and comfortable.

    Bud Clark said:
    June 12, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Hospitals, airplanes, etc. have had unisex bathrooms for many years … what's the problem?

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