Township Council Introduces ‘Genderless Bathroom’ Ordinance

Township Councilmember Ed Potosnak describes the “genderless bathroom” ordinance at the June 28 Council meeting.

An ordinance that would require the establishment of single-occupancy, all-gender bathrooms in some public places within Franklin was introduced June 28 by the Township Council.

The ordinance is championed by Councilmember Ed Potosnak (D-Ward 1), the Council’s first openly gay member.

Potosnak said the ordinance is one measure to ensure inclusivity in the township.

Under the ordinance, single-use bathrooms in establishments such as restaurants, bars, hotels, office buildings, beauty salons and retail stores would have to have any gender-identifying signs removed.

Potosnak likened what the ordinance is intended to create to bathrooms in private homes.

“What that means is, if you have two bathrooms in your house, you don’t put a sign on one and say ‘male’ and put a sign on the other one and say ‘female,’ you just have a bathroom,” he said.

“In public places, we tend to put signs on those and in many cases, they are gender specific,” he said. “This ordinance would require that those gender-specific signs are removed, and that just a sign is placed as simple as ‘rest room’, or ‘all-gender restroom.’ Just like we have at home.”

The bathroom affected must be single-use and must have a lock, he said.

Those establishments would be exempt where plumbing codes do not allow for single-use bathrooms, Potosnak said.

“I think it’s more than appropriate,” he said of the ordinance.

The ordinance will have a public hearing and final adoption vote at the Council’s July 12 meeting.

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