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No more separate bathrooms: Austin considers gender neutral toilets

public toilet sign bathroom
Austin City Council will consider gender neutral restrooms today. Warringah.nsw.gov.au

Thursday's Austin City Council features a particularly interesting item: gender neutral restrooms. Council members Chris Riley and Bill Spelman, along with Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, are sponsoring the item that would require single occupancy bathrooms to be labeled as gender neutral. (Restrooms with multiple stalls will remain unchanged.)

The resolution, which is still in the beginning stages, is designed to protect people from potential discrimination and make it easier for those who identify as transgender to use public restrooms. If passed, the city manager will be required to craft code amendments regarding signage. 

The creation of gender neutral bathrooms has been a contentious issue in recent years. Though some states, like California, have passed protective measures ensuring that schools offer transgender students a place to use the restroom, other places have been less than understanding.

In 2013, an Arizona lawmaker proposed a bill that would prosecute people who did not use the facility that matched the gender on their birth certificate. The legislation was affectionately referred to as the "show me your papers before you potty" bill. 

If passed, this legislation will be a major step for the protection of transgendered people in Austin. The city council is expected to vote Thursday. 

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