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Austin May See Unisex Bathrooms

Updated: Tuesday, August 26 2014, 10:46 PM CDT

Lisa Scheps knew from a small child she was always meant to be a girl. "I am transsexual, I was assigned male at birth, I am now female," Scheps said.  But for people transitioning or transgendered the simplest task like choosing between the male or female restroom can be a challenge.

"The bathroom is very scary for a transgendered person going through a gender change," Scheps said.

Which is why Austin City Council member Chris Riley proposed an ordinance that would require businesses to make any single stall restroom gender neutral.

"This is one fairly simple step we can take that would provide additional comfort and privacy for many and would maintain Austin's leadership role on LGBTQ issues," Riley said.

The people we spoke to against the ordinance, wouldn't go on camera, but raised the question: what's next? Could this ordinance lead to unisex multi stall restrooms or unisex locker rooms?  We brought that question to Chris riley and to Lisa Scheps to get an answer.

"I haven't been hearing an argument for that, so no.  I would have no idea what the future would bring but I have no reason to believe we would go down that road," Riley said.

"We're not talking about opening up places that have lots of people to be unisex, that's not what this ordinance even suggests," Scheps said.

Lisa says her life would have been a lot easier if these signs didn't exist when she was transitioning.

"I transitioned 12 years ago. Had a law like this been in place when I transitioned it would have made my transition much more comfortable," Scheps said.

The ordinance for unisex single stall restrooms is on the Austin City Council agenda for Thursday. Riley says it could be several months before any law is passed that would require businesses to comply. 

By Rachel Kent

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Austin May See Unisex Bathrooms


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