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A Sign of the Times

December 18, 2015 | John Salustri

An icon of American public spaces might soon disappear. The geometric images of men and women — differentiated only by a triangle skirt —are already vanishing from public restrooms. Gender neutral bathrooms are growing as building management (sometimes egged on by local legislation) slowly embraces the transgender community.

So, in our latest Quick Poll, we asked membership: “Will you be converting signage of your public restrooms to indicate that they are gender neutral?” A resounding 65% of respondents voted “No.” But 29% are holding the decision off, and while not converting now, “It may become a consideration in the future.” Only 6% answered in the affirmative. (View the latest results here.)

REMnews bathrooms poll

The light now shining on transgender awareness seems to have clicked on for much of the general public only in the past year or so, publicized, even glamorized, by the media (A certain Vanity Fair cover comes to mind). Understanding, acceptance both take longer, especially when the issue is one involving--dare I say it?--traditional values. That’s not a right-or-wrong statement. Just one of fact. People need time. It would be interesting to take this poll again in a year and see how the numbers have shifted.

Meanwhile, let your voice be heard! Watch for our Quick Polls in every issue of IREM’s weekly Real Estate Management News e-newsletter. Vote and be counted!

About the Author
John Salustri is one of the nation’s most respected writers in the field of Commercial Real Estate. A multiple award winner for excellence in journalism, John is the founding editor of, the nation’s premier news and information site for the commercial real estate industry. Today John is a freelance writer and editor, focusing on helping companies boost their industry presence through enhanced web and print content. 

Photo Credit: gruntzooki via Compfight cc


17 Jan 2016 | Allen
I think this change only makes sense but not because of sensitivity to trans-gendered people. It seems like the main reason we have separate bathrooms is to avoid the situation where people who could be sexually attracted to one another were not in the same room in sages of undress. For a long time an easy solution to this is to separate the genders. Except... homosexual people exist. So now this method of separation just doesn't make sense. It's easier to just redo the signs. But it becomes more complicated when you have a facility meant to be used by more than one person at a time.
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