BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts lawmakers want to make it easier for schools and public buildings to open gender-neutral bathrooms, but they said they need the help of the state’s administration committee to make that happen.
House Bill 26-86 was filed to give public buildings more lead way when it comes to certain plumbing codes.
The bills sponsor Representative Mindy Domb and Senator Jo Comerford, both of Amherst, said the UMass Campus in western Massachusetts has attracted LGBTQ students for decades due to their inclusivity, but that comes at a high price.
“It seemed to me that if a university or organization wanted to convert or modify an existing bathroom to gender-inclusive they should be able to do it without permission, and so the way to do that is to in fact amend the plumbing code,” Rep. Mindy Domb said.
Workers at UMass Amherst said they have made a lot of progress when it comes to gender inclusivity, but they know that not everyone can afford the price of major renovations.
“It’s very expensive to convert multi-stall bathrooms into gender-inclusive private bathrooms, if the variance process were to be eliminated by the plumbing board it would allow for us more flexibility working with the building where we might not be able to renovate so deeply,” Dawn Bode said.
It will cost about $7-million to complete a partial renovation project to convert multiple bathrooms to gender-inclusive at UMass Amherst.
Lawmakers are hoping that price tag will come down with this proposal.