Yelp Now Helps People Find Gender Neutral Bathrooms

The addition aims to help transgender and gender non-conforming people pee in peace

Illustration: Vocativ
Mar 03, 2017 at 3:58 PM ET

As the nation argues over which bathrooms transgender people can use, Yelp is now trying to make it easier for everyone. Soon, users will be able to find businesses that offer gender neutral bathrooms.

There are two ways for business’ restrooms to be marked as gender neutral, meaning that they are either locking single-stalls or have a unisex multi-stall or family restroom. According to a blog post from the company, Yelp will begin prompting users who check into or review businesses to answer whether these options are available. (Other things Yelp prompts customers to answer include whether or not the business is wheelchair accessible, accepts credit cards, and accommodates children). Businesses can also voluntarily edit this information themselves.

Until this point, trans people, those who do not identify as neither male nor female non-binary, and their advocates have been tasked with crowdsourcing this kind of information on their own. In the past, crowdsourced maps and apps like Safe Bathroom Club and Refuge Restrooms have aimed to help ease the struggle for those looking for a place they can relieve themselves without fear of discrimination or abuse. According the largest-ever study of transgender Americans, these experiences are common, causing nearly 60 percent of respondents to say they have avoided using a public restroom in the past year altogether.

This update from Yelp comes one day after the company joined 52 other major tech companies in a show of support for transgender teen Gavin Grimm, who has filed a lawsuit against his Virginia high school for denying him permission to use the boys’ restroom. It also follows President Donald Trump’s recent rollback of protections granted to trans students granted by the Obama administration that allowed students to use the gendered restroom of their choice they felt comfortable with regardless of the sex noted on their birth certificate.

“We believe it’s important for the business community to speak up when our nation’s values are threatened,” Yelp’s head of diversity and inclusion Rachel Williams told Vocativ. “Yelp thrives on inclusion and acceptance, and it’s always the right time to reaffirm this with our community.”