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Denver businesses embrace equitable signage

Businesses have until April 30, 2018, to remove gendered signage from single-occupant, family, and assisted-use restrooms. Many have already made this simple change.

Four gender-neutral bathroom signs

Pictured: Novo Coffee, Crave Real Burger, and Starbucks


From Seattle, Washington, to Austin, Texas, to Washington D.C., cities across the U.S. are adopting regulations that either allow or mandate some form of gender-neutral restroom signage—including Denver. Denver City Council voted in December 2016 to require gender-neutral signage on all single-occupant, family, and assisted-use restrooms. (A single-occupant restroom is one that contains only one toilet and a sink, or a toilet and urinal with a sink, and is intended for use by one occupant at a time.)

Many local businesses have long opted for more inclusive signage, because ensuring equal access to restrooms for all users achieves parity in bathroom wait times and removes barriers for members of our community who are transgender, gender-nonconforming, or non-binary; need the assistance of a caregiver of a different gender; or need to accompany a child of a different gender to the restroom.


Image from Etsy's BeGoodHumansShop


For those in Denver who have yet to make the switch, the requirements are straightforward:

Single-occupant, family, and assisted-use toilet facilities cannot be gender specific.

These bathrooms must be lockable from the inside, so some businesses may find they need to add a lock to the exterior restroom door if the sole toilet is contained inside a second compartment (e.g., behind a stall door).

Gender-neutral signs and door locking do NOT apply to the following:

  • restrooms that contain multiple toilet stalls, which must remain gender-specific;
  • an individual dwelling unit, such as a house, apartment, or condominium; or
  • portable restroom facilities not contained in a building.

In most cases, the only change needed is a new sign. There are hundreds of creative designs available from vendors like, Staples, ADA Sign Factory, and Etsy, among others. Just make sure that family and accessible restrooms are still marked as such, without specifying a gender. Businesses have until April 30, 2018, to make these changes.

For more information or to read the gender-neutral signage code amendment in its entirety, consult Section 2902 on plumbing systems in the Denver amendments to the International Building Code.


Gender-neutral family restroom sign

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