Transgender bathrooms on top of mayor’s to-do list

SANTA FE (KRQE) – “The City Different” doesn’t shy away from controversial issues. This time, Santa Fe’s mayor wants to make bathrooms gender neutral.

“I’ve been in Santa Fe for 25 years now,” Charles Rencountre said Wednesday on the city’s historic plaza. “Not much makes me scratch my head anymore but that one kind of does a little bit.”

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales made the announcement Tuesday night at the State of the City Address.

“I plan on introducing an ordinance to require every single stall bathroom in Santa Fe to be gender neutral,” Gonzales in the opening minutes of his speech. The speech was titled “One Santa Fe, One City, One Family.”

KRQE News 13 spoke with Gonzales Wednesday and asked him why he thinks it’s necessary.

“It’s a small way to go that sends a very loud message to young kids and others in the transgender community,” Gonzales said.

That means instead of seeing the “men” and “women” signs on the door, the placard would read “family” or have an image of both a man and a woman.

Gonzales said it wouldn’t require any changes once inside.

“We have to do everything we can as a state to make sure there is equality for everyone,” Gonzales said.

He said the transgender population is often seen in a negative light.

“No matter who you are or what your background is, you’re part of this community and you count.”

And in case you’re wondering, the proposal wouldn’t make any changes to multi-stall bathrooms.

The whole idea has people split.

“At my home, the bathroom is gender neutral and none of us have a problem with it and so I don’t see why there should be a problem,” Rencountre said.

“I think it would make a lot people very uncomfortable,” Gene Quintana said. “I think they need to think this over really good. I would definitely vote against it.”

This wouldn’t just be city-run bathrooms, as it would include restaurants, as well.

The mayor is hoping to hold a few community meetings and then get this on to the City Council for a vote in the summer.

KRQE News 13 wants to know what you think. Should public bathrooms in New Mexico be gender neutral? We have poll where you can sound off.

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