Enforcing a ban on Unisex Bathrooms Could Cost State and Businesses Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
The recent puritanical uprising against the unisex bathroom at 28 Degrees Restaurant and Lounge by the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers is a gleaming example of how out of touch city bureaucracy can be.
State plumbing code reads ''Toilet facilities for each sex, male and female, shall be provided" in places of assembly. It does not say that toilette facilities should be separated by sex.
With this new interpretation, all of the unisex handicap accessible bathrooms in Massachusetts would have to be divided into two separate facilities costing our state millions of dollars.
In an effort to get 28 Degrees to renovate their unisex bathroom, the Board said they consider sinks to be a toilet facility. That interpretation would require hundreds of restaurants, hotels, and stores that offer separate bathrooms but shared sink areas to renovate.
In addition, the code itself is in stark contrast to the city's anti-discrimination ordinance which draws the distinction between a person’s biological sex and their gender identity and expression. The ordinance states that people who are living as male or female should be allowed to use the bathroom that best matches their gender identity and expression. Unfortunately none of the laws and codes acknowledge intersexed and genderqueer people. This must present quite a dilemma to those who are obsessed with keeping people separated based upon their biological sex.
Finally, concerns about the safety and comfort of women using unisex bathrooms are valid and should be addressed. 28 Degrees, and many other restaurants, offer intelligently designed and open floorplans that provide private stalls and communal sinks creating the safest and most respectful environment for patrons.