While the Justice Department and North Carolina duke it out over proper access to bathrooms, many places, including the White House, have designed gender-neutral bathrooms that address many of the problems associated with sex-segregated bathrooms.
By now, most people have heard of North Carolina's infamous "bathroom law," House Bill (HB) 2, which requires people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate, potentially violating the civil rights of transgender people, and already costing the Tar Heel State state millions of dollars in economic damages due to boycotts resulting from the law, though the ultimate impact is uncertain.
Hours after McCrory called on the "U.S. Congress to bring clarity to our national anti-discrimination provisions..., Attorney General Loretta Lynch said no clarification was needed, and she asserted that federal civil rights laws barring discrimination on the basis of sex prohibit laws like the one in North Carolina," write Blinder, Pérez-Peña and Lichtblau.
“They created state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security,” she said at a news conference in Washington. “None of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something or someone that they are not.”
Straying from her usual understated, lawyerly tone, Ms. Lynch, a North Carolina native, grew impassioned as she likened the fight to earlier battles over Jim Crow laws and laws against same-sex marriage.
Do we really need to segregate bathrooms by sex?
"An architect in Chicago is designing and advocating for private gender-neutral bathrooms — essentially a row of individual toilet stalls with doors that open onto a common area where everyone can wash their hands...," writes Emily Peck, business editor for Huffington Post.
Unisex bathrooms like this are cheaper to construct, offer users more privacy and safety and take up less space, said architect Matt Nardella, who owns Moss Design. Plus, there’s more “line equity” — never again will you have to wait in line with a hoard of women while the guys get to go and move on with their lives.
There's another advantage for bathroom gender neutrality that any parent of an opposite sex child can relate to — real safety concerns involved when young children enter segregated-sex adult spaces alone," adds Peck.
Colleges and universities are also making gender-neutral bathrooms more available. The White House even installed a gender-neutral bathroom stall last year.
There's some irony in the North Carolina controversy. HB2 "was prompted by the City of Charlotte’s adoption of an ordinance barring discrimination against gay or transgender people, and specifically allowing people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that conform to their gender identity," write Blinder, Pérez-Peña and Lichtblau. McCrory, an outspoken proponent of HB2 which nullifies the Charlotte ordinance, was mayor of Charlotte, the largest city in the state, for 14 years.
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Proposal Would Transform L.A.’s ‘Freeway to Nowhere’ Into Park, Housing
A never-completed freeway segment could see new life as a mixed-use development with housing, commercial space, and one of the county’s largest parks.
Report: Bike Lanes Can't Make up for New Roads
If California wants to meet its climate goals, the state must stop funding its myriad road construction and expansion projects.
Minneapolis Affordable Housing Project Largest in 20 Years
The city opened its first large multifamily affordable housing complex in decades, but a recent court ruling against the Minneapolis 2040 rezoning plan could jeopardize future projects.
NYC Mayor Proposes Eliminating Parking Minimums
Mayor Adams wants to stop requiring off-site parking for new buildings to reduce the costs of construction as part of the ‘City of Yes’ package of zoning reforms.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.