Madison businesses push for inclusive bathroom designs, face legislative challenges 

Several Madison restaurants, bars, and cafes have adopted inclusive practices when it comes to bathroom signage to create gender-neutral spaces, according to The Capital Times 

Among these establishments are Crescendo Espresso Bar in Hilldale; produce-forward restaurant Mint Mark; cocktail bar Plain Spoke; Delta Beer Lab; Genna’s Cocktail Lounge; Giant Jones Brewing; Jalisco Mexican Cocina; and the Northstreet collaborative project among Café Domestique, Young Blood Brewing Company, and Bloom Bake Shop. 

Efforts to adopt more inclusive bathroom designs, however, have been complicated by current state legislation. Wisconsin currently uses an amended version of the 2015 International Building Code that requires bathrooms to be separated by sex, with few exceptions. The 2018 amendment says sex-separated facilities are not required if there are sufficient individual “toilet rooms” for the space. 

The 2021 building code under consideration may offer more flexibility but could be amended before its adoption in the next few weeks; already, the state’s Department of Safety and Professional Services has removed an exception in the draft that would allow for all-gender, multiperson restrooms.