Gender Neutral washroom signs coming to city facilities

The City of Kelowna is getting approval to update signage on some washrooms at city facilities.

Last year, the BC Human Rights Code added gender identity and expression as areas of protection.

Infrastructure Manager Ian Wilson says washrooms represent a big part of that.

"Public recreation facilities, and particularly washrooms and changerooms, are a major issue and barrier for people who are in the trans community. Particularly with regards to anxiety, and feeling unsafe or afraid, and that's a significant issue," he said.

"It's been an issue with schools as well, in that some children won't use the washroom, just because of that anxiety."

He says they've since had good cooperation with the School Districts, who have altered some of their signage.

Council passed staff's recommendation to add more consistent signage to single stall washrooms, which would show the services of the facility, rather limiting it to a specific gender.

Wilson says the work could be done without an increased budget request.

"Existing signage is inconsistent. (At) City Park's washroom, that basically is showing an accessible washroom - the single stall option. But if you go down the street to Stuart Park, that one shows male/female different icons on the single stall washroom," he said.

"So not really consistent across the city how we're doing it, so that's what we're looking to do - is to update that."

Out of the 290 public washrooms in Kelowna, about a third are single stall facilities.