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People of any gender can use new Orlando City Hall bathroom -- 'We believe in inclusion'
Orlando Sentinel - 11/29/2018
Nov. 29--What was once a nondescript mailroom in a busy walkway in City Hall is now a sign of Orlando's goals of inclusion, officials say.
On Thursday, officials formally opened a multi-stall restroom that can be used by people of any gender. It's thought to be the first multi-stall facility for people of all genders in a Florida government building.
That means people with disabilities in need of aid by of a person of another gender, as well as transgender and other gender identities can use the private facility, said Felipe Sousa Rodriguez, Orlando's inclusion, diversity and equity senior specialist.
"This is really for everyone," Rodriguez said. "We decided to create this specifically so people who are parents and have children of different genders, people who might experience a disability and might need somebody of a different gender to take care of them in the restroom and people who are transgender that would need a restroom where they can go and feel safe to use it without fear of harassment."
The restroom is on the second floor of City Hall near the council chambers, among the most visited areas of the building by the public.
"It's not something hidden -- it's something that we put right front and center, because we want to send a message to our community that we welcome diversity and we believe in inclusion," Rodriguez said.
Inside are three stalls with floor-to-ceiling walls and doors offering privacy.
While transgender individuals can use any restroom at City Hall, officials cited a 2015 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality, which found 59 percent of transgender adults have avoided using a public restroom in the past year.
In the same study, 32 percent reported they limited how much they ate or drank in public to avoid using the restroom.
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