Nashville businesses with single-toilet restrooms are no longer required to have one facility specifically for women and another just for men, reports The Tennessean.
The Metro Council voted unanimously on a final of three readings Tuesday to broaden exceptions for unisex restrooms, which are only allowed in Nashville businesses that fall below a square-footage threshold.
The ordinance was introduced by Councilman Brett Withers, who filed the bill last month after learning that the owners of Wild Cow, a vegetarian restaurant in his East Nashville district, were warned by Metro codes inspectors that they could not have unisex restrooms in a new restaurant the couple is planning nearby called Graze.
He said he later learned that several restaurants and businesses were technically in violation of a law that few realized existed.
“This just allows businesses who choose to do so to go ahead and make all of their single-user restroom facilities available to males and females,” Withers said.
“It (also) accommodates folks who might be transgender or might have a gender expression that doesn’t line up with traditional gender expectations in terms of hair style or clothing style,” said Withers, who is one of two openly gay members on the council. “It helps people to avoid having that kind of discussion or examination.”
The new law, which was signed by Mayor Megan Barry on Wednesday, authorizes unisex restrooms at most businesses that have two or more bathroom facilities that each consist of single toilets and have locks..