Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Are Set To Be Required In Culver City

CULVER CITY, CA — Newly constructed buildings in Culver City are set to be required to include gender-neutral bathrooms — rather than separate men’s and women’s rooms — following a unanimous vote of the City Council this week.

The new law, which requires a second vote at an upcoming council meeting to take effect, applies to all newly constructed buildings, such as retail stores. Residential buildings are exempt from the requirements. Existing buildings will not be required to be retrofitted with all-gender bathrooms, nor will the rules apply to buildings being renovated, according to city documents.

Councilmember Freddy Puza, who introduced the proposal, said the changes mark a move forward for equity in the city.

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“Culver City is for everyone, so we should continue to evolve,” he said.

Here’s how a restroom in a new Culver City could look: Instead of separate men’s and women’s rooms, a gender neutral bathroom could feature a large room open to a corridor with individual locking stalls with full-length doors, a separate room for urinals, and a central bank of sinks, according to one example provided by city officials.

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That design can already be found in existing public buildings in the Los Angeles area, such as at Alamo Drafthouse in downtown LA.

“It’s very common now. Everyone wants a level of privacy, even if you’re the same gender, from your perspective. Not everyone’s comfortable being in that kind of space with the public around you. I think it’s good for everyone — cisgender, however you identify,” Vice Mayor Dan O’Brien said.

Culver City’s law comes after similar measures were passed in nearby communities.

“I did reach out to Santa Monica and West Hollywood and they haven’t experienced any negative impacts because of these ordinances,” Puza said.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are allowed under a 2022 state law, SB 1194. Previously, state code called for separate men’s and women’s rooms in many cases.

Building Official Tim Koutsouros said the new requirements shouldn’t create a financial burden for builders. Such requirements can be costly when existing buildings are required to be reconfigured to make way for gender-neutral bathrooms, but that’s not one of the provisions of Culver City’s law, he said.

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