How to Write to Your Local Business about Gender Neutral Bathrooms
This weekend, I decided to write to one of my favorite breweries about gender-neutral bathrooms. Currently, they have two single stall bathrooms labeled Male and Female that could easily be changed to gender neutral signs. For those of you who have never contacted business owners before, here’s a quick tutorial and sample letter!
To find out who to send your letter to, you can inquire at the business to ask who the manager is (oftentimes you’ll be given a business card with an email on it) or you can use the website to find contact info. If there’s no direct email for a manager or owner, there might be a contact form on the website.
Once there, just enter your letter and send it off! Being specific is helpful, and giving concrete reasons of how gender neutral bathrooms can be insightful as well. Here’s a sample letter you can use, or modify to fit your needs!
Hi [MANAGER'S NAME],
My name is [NAME] and I am a frequent customer of [BUSINESS]. As you work for a large business that has a diverse set of customers, I wanted to talk to you about having a gender-neutral bathroom to ensure that all of your guests not only have a great time at your business, but an inclusive one as well.
Why Does Gender-Neutral Matter?
Bathrooms without a designated gender benefit a variety of individuals who are not comfortable or who face mistreatment when accessing gender-specific bathrooms. This includes:
- Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People
Transgender and gender non-conforming people often face stress, anxiety and mistreatment when accessing the gendered bathroom that is appropriate for them. Providing access to a private, non-gendered stall can reduce or even eliminate this burden.
- People with Disabilities or Personal Attendants
People with disabilities or others who have personal attendants of a different gender can run into problems when accessing gendered bathrooms. Gender-neutral bathrooms can provide a more welcoming and comfortable situation for two people of different genders.
- People with Children
Parents or guardians with children of a different gender can encounter misunderstanding when accessing gender-specific bathrooms. Removing this potential can easily be addressed with a gender-neutral bathroom.
We've all waited outside an occupied bathroom while the bathroom for the gender we don't identify with was empty. Gender-neutral bathrooms are more efficient, allowing you to avoid that unnecessary wait.
Why Aren’t Businesses Already Following the Law?
The vast majority of business owners whose establishments have “male” or “female” single-stall bathrooms do not mean any harm. Most are simply unaware of the regulations or the effect gender-specific stalls have on particular people, and are happy to make the bathrooms gender-neutral when notified. Additionally, until early 2013, conflicting regulations on the need for gender-neutral bathrooms created confusion among some business owners, and prevented the Office for Human Rights from fully enforcing the regulations. Despite the regulations now being aligned to require gender-neutral bathrooms, many businesses are not yet aware of the update.
Types of Signs
To make a single-stall bathroom compliant, all that is needed is a sign that says “restroom” to indicate it is gender-neutral.
As I’ve noticed in [BUSINESS], you have two single stall bathrooms that could easily be made gender-neutral. I hope you take the time to make your business as inclusive as possible for all patrons. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at this email [Or my cell, NUMBER].
Thank you for your time!
Rights to the content of this email are from: https://ohr.dc.gov/page/safe-bathrooms-dc
By Samantha Gorley at 17 Feb 2017, 11:07 AM
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