SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Would you be comfortable sharing a public restroom with members of the opposite sex? That’s not a hypothetical question because Utah’s first all-gender public bathroom is scheduled to open next year.
When the Sprague Branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library in Sugarhouse reopens after renovations it will have Utah’s first all-inclusive multi-user public restroom.
University of Utah Law Professor Terry Kogan is an expert in public restroom policy and calls all-gender facilities the “restrooms of the future.”
“If public restrooms are configured in the right way everyone’s interests in privacy and everyone’s interests in safety can be protected at least as well or better than in sex-separated restrooms,” Professor Kogan told ABC4 News. “Toilet stalls themselves will be much more private spaces than they are now in common restrooms. That is to say, there will be floor to ceiling doors and walls and any visual spaces between the doors will be eliminated.”
Professor Kogan says all-gender restrooms will benefit the elderly and disabled with opposite gender caregivers, parents of opposite gender children and transgender individuals. He says the goal is to “create inclusive spaces in which everyone will be comfortable. In which no one is subjected to verbal or physical assault and which serve the needs of all populations without discriminating against anyone.”
The opinions ABC4 got were mixed.
“I’d say it’s about time,” April said. “Because we’re all human beings and we all need to use the restroom and what’s the big deal?”
“Maybe I’m just rooted in the past,” Rowland said. “But I feel like having separate places for men and women…I think there’s something valuable in that for many reasons.”
“I think it’s inclusive and great,” Alisha said. “We should be doing more to support the trans community and that’s a great step for it so I support it. I mean as long as its clean that’s all I care about.”
Men and women will “go” together when the renovated Sprague Library opens in 2020.