Spectrum Health announced it is converting single-occupant restrooms in Grand Rapids from gender assigned to inclusive, gender-neutral spaces.
“Spectrum Health is looking to celebrate this progress as one more step in being a gender-affirming organization,” said Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, M.D., president of Spectrum Health West Michigan. “We are hopeful that this initiative will provide the LGBTQI+ community and their loved ones and supporters with a more welcoming, positive experience.”
Over the next several months, all-gender restroom signage will be installed in Spectrum Health facilities in downtown Grand Rapids. The project will begin with more than 300 single-stall restrooms at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital at 100 Michigan St. NE. Other locations include 25 Michigan St. NE, 35 Michigan, 145 Michigan and 221 Michigan.
The initiative is about more than updating restroom signage. The following information also influenced Spectrum’s decision:
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advised 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 nonbinary communities. A study in The Journal of Adolescent Health showed 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 Spectrum Health’s facilities is one way to help reduce minority stress, the hospital said.