In a media release on Monday, Spectrum Health West Michigan announced that they would be converting single-occupancy restrooms into inclusive gender-neutral spaces.

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Over the next several months the health system will be installing gender-inclusive signage on 300 single-occupancy bathrooms at its flagship facility, Butterworth Hospital.

The signage and switchover will also take place at the health system's locations on 5 Michigan, 35 Michigan, 145 Michigan, and 221 Michigan.

Gender Neutral Signage Courtesy Spectrum Health

Darryl Elmouchi, MD, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan says this move is an important step in creating an inclusive environment:

Spectrum Health is looking to celebrate this progress as one more step in being a gender-affirming organization. We are hopeful that this​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ initiative will provide the LGBTQI+ community and their loved ones and supporters with a more welcoming, positive experience.

In making the decision Spectrum says the following info was taken into account:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises restroom access is a health and safety matter. The best workplace policies provide options that include single-occupancy, gender-neutral facilities. 
  • Lack of affirming spaces can negatively impact the mental health of those in the transgender and non-binary communities. A study in The Journal of Adolescent Health showed that among gender minority youth who experienced bathroom discrimination, 85% reported depressive moods and 60% seriously considered suicide. ​​​​​​​​​​​

     

  • Minority stressors in the workplace, including lack of access to an affirming restroom, are associated with greater distress and lower job satisfaction. Ensuring safe and easy restroom access for all individuals who use our facilities is one way to help reduce minority stress.

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