Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Trapped In The Tanglements Of Building Code

This is what happens when you try to do the right thing but are stymied by archaic building codes. At Yale University they are trying to have more gender neutral bathrooms to accommodate gender non-conforming students but can’t because the building codes.
Yale files lawsuit against Connecticut in effort to gain more gender neutral bathrooms
New Haven Register
By Mary O’Leary
June 28, 2017

NEW HAVEN >> Yale has gender neutral bathrooms in dozens of its buildings, but it is being stopped by a state building committee from redesignating single-user restrooms at the Yale Law School in the same manner.

The university has filed an appeal in Superior Court of the decision of the state Codes and Standards Committee, which agreed with the original ruling of the Office of the State Building Inspector.

The inspector denied Yale’s request this spring for an exemption from the Connecticut State Building Code.

That code requires a certain number of bathrooms in every building be assigned by gender, including single-user restrooms, if that is necessary in order to reach the code required total.

As to existing buildings, the building code prohibits reducing the number of gender designated bathrooms below the number required for new construction.
Yale argued that…
The Codes and Standards Committee Appeal Panel, in its findings of facts, said Yale argued that removing sex-specific signage from one set of its multi-user facilities would boost the number of bathrooms open to either sex.
Nope the Appeals Panel wouldn’t have any of it, so since this is Yale School of Law, they sued.

And they have allies in their law suit,
In its appeal to the Codes and Standards Committee, Yale got the support of Connecticut Voices for Children, A Better Balance, the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and Yale’s Office of LGBTQ Resources, the paper reported.
So here is a case of archaic laws preventing companies from doing the right thing

Meanwhile out in Chicago…
Northwestern opens first gender-neutral, multi-stall bathroom
Sun Times
By Mitchell Armentrout
June 27, 2017

Northwestern University has opened the first gender-neutral, multi-stall bathroom on a college campus in Chicago, school officials announced on Tuesday.

Other schools in the city have offered single-stall bathrooms for people to use that correspond with their gender identity, but a multi-stall bathroom is “an important next step,” said Francesca Gaiba, associate director of Northwestern’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing.

“Ultimately, our society needs to move toward gender-neutral bathrooms,” Gaiba said. “We want to remove barriers to reduce harassment and threats of violence against the gender non-conforming community.”

University officials gave the institute permission to open the multi-stall bathroom when they moved into their new office at 625 N. Michigan Ave. a couple of months ago. It sits alongside a multi-stall, female-only restroom and a single-stall gender-neutral bathroom.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about what Google is doing in Boston with gender neutral bathrooms.

Architects and builders seem to see the need for more gender neutral bathrooms now the codes need to be updated.

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