As facility managers strive to accommodate building occupants and visitors, it should come as no surprise that there has been a growth in gender-neutral restrooms. After all, converting a single-stall restroom is as simple as changing the sign outside the door. According to reports from Chicago Tribune, offering gender-neutral space is a safety and health issue. Advocate groups comment that it will prevent judgement from other restroom patrons and reduce anxiety. To signal the universal restroom, new signs are being considered. One sign is a simple photo of a toilet and another illustrates both men and women in one sign. A third has a gender-neutral avatar with the words “For All Restroom.” And the last option has that same illustration, but reads “For All Toilet.” According to the report, there are a few cities — Seattle and Austin, Texas — that have already instituted law requiring gender-neutral public restrooms. But, not everyone in the general public is receptive of the change. Chicago Tribune ran a second article containing feedback received following the initial announcement of gender-neutral restrooms. Some expressed concerns with the cost in converting the restroom, which were quickly shot down after explanation that new signs can be purchased for less than $20. Since that’s out of the way, it seems that the largest complaint with a gender-neutral restroom is the perception from women that men are “slobs,” “gross” and “revolting” and, therefore, should not have to share. Wow!Well, the reporter did her research and reached out to a few cleaning contractors in her area to get to the bottom of which restroom is dirtier. Turns out (sorry ladies), the women’s room was deemed dirtier, “hands down.”From the perspective of cleaners, I’d be curious to learn whether the issue of gender-neutral restrooms is an issue in your facility. If so, how are you adjusting? And what is the overall perception of your facility occupants?
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