Bil Browning

DC Starbucks bathrooms go gender free

Filed By Bil Browning | October 08, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: public restrooms, Starbucks

I noticed this yesterday when I went into a Starbucks to grab my venti mocha with light whip and while it stuck out that there was something different, it didn't really register what the difference was. The DC starbucks_cup.jpgStarbucks have switched from gender marked bathrooms to gender free facilities.

The move came after the DC Trans Coalition requested that the chain comply with local regulations that require restroom facilities are equally accessible to transgender and gender non-conforming people.

In 2006, the D.C. Human Rights Act was amended to include gender identity as a protected class under the law. Nearly four years ago, the D.C. Council passed regulations ensuring that public accommodations--including public restrooms--were truly equally accessible to trans people. According to the law, District businesses must "allow individuals the right to use gender-specific restrooms and other gender-specific facilities such as dressing rooms, homeless shelters, and group homes that are consistent with their gender identity or expression."

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I might be showing my ignorance, but wouldn't it have been simpler to let transgender women use the women's bathroom and transgender men use the men's bathroom?

Someone's appearance might not match their identity - butch women, someone just starting to transition, or those who transition late in life, for example. Keeping the bathrooms gender free ensures that they don't get hassled for going to the "wrong" bathroom.

Since Starbucks bathrooms are always one person restrooms, this poses absolutely no problem for them except changing the plaque on the door from the stick figure man or woman to both on the same sign. :)

That's pretty rad of Starbucks. Is it a company wide policy, or up to the discretion of individual stores?

solution queen | October 10, 2010 8:35 AM

This may seema silly topic but it seems to come up all the time. There is a simple answer which actually already exists. There should remain women's washrooms as they are for the millions of women who use them. All men's washrooms should contain nothing but urinals and sinks. How many men's washrooms I have been in that contain all these stalls which remain empty. Sounds silly but many men like pissing together but would rather shit in privacy. SO the third washrooms are single user -- all handicapped accessible to meet those law requirements -- and are for everyone. More privacy. More handicapped single washrooms can be built. No wasted stalls and toilets in men's rooms. And no gender issues of any kind. Solution.

Great. There's no reason they can't think of solutions everywhere if they can do it in DC.