St. Petersburg, Florida is taking steps to create a more inclusive community by implementing an all-gender bathroom policy. By next March, all 164 city-owned single-use bathrooms will feature new signage that acknowledges all genders. The executive policy, signed by Mayor Ken Welch on September 1st, applies to all single-use and family bathrooms in city facilities, including venues like the Mahaffey Theater, Al Lang Stadium, and Tropicana Field.
The decision to implement this policy was driven by the city’s desire to support and protect LGBTQ+ individuals. Jim Nixon, the city’s LGBTQ+ Liaison, explained that the change was inspired by the Municipal Equality Index, an annual evaluation that measures cities’ support for LGBTQ+ communities. St. Petersburg has consistently earned a perfect score on the index for the past ten years.
Previously, City Hall had already made the switch to all-gender bathrooms in 2017, with the Coliseum following suit in the subsequent year. However, a review of city-owned facilities revealed inconsistencies in the signage of single-use bathrooms across different buildings. The new policy ensures consistency by replacing gender-specific markers with signage that simply states “all-gender.” This change aims to eliminate gender identity restrictions, creating a safe environment for transgender individuals.
The introduction of this new policy also aims to counteract the effect of a state law that went into effect on July 1st, which penalizes individuals who use bathrooms designated for the “opposite sex.” St. Petersburg’s all-gender bathroom policy offers transgender individuals the assurance that there are safe facilities available for their use.
St. Petersburg’s commitment to supporting its LGBTQ+ community is further reflected in its Municipal Equality Index score. The city received six additional bonus points for openly LGBTQ+ elected or appointed leaders, as well as for providing services aimed at protecting youth and preventing bullying. Despite not currently offering direct financial aid or services for individuals living with HIV or AIDS, the city has previously provided support through grants awarded to organizations like Metro Inclusive Health and AIDS Health Foundation.
Overall, St. Petersburg’s implementation of an all-gender bathroom policy demonstrates its commitment to inclusivity and creating a safe city for all residents.
1. What is an all-gender bathroom policy?
An all-gender bathroom policy ensures that single-use and family bathrooms are accessible to individuals of all genders, eliminating gender identity restrictions.
2. Why is St. Petersburg implementing this policy?
St. Petersburg aims to support and protect its LGBTQ+ community by creating a safe and inclusive environment within city facilities.
3. How will the new policy be implemented?
By next March, all 164 city-owned single-use bathrooms will have new signage indicating that they are all-gender, without gender-specific markers.
4. How does the policy address the state law penalizing individuals who use bathrooms designated for the “opposite sex”?
St. Petersburg’s all-gender bathroom policy offers transgender individuals the assurance that there are safe facilities available for their use, counteracting the impact of the state law.
5. What other measures has St. Petersburg taken to support LGBTQ+ individuals?
The city has consistently earned a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index and has implemented services for youth, youth bullying prevention, and support for organizations working with the LGBTQ+ community.