Garodnick bill for ‘potty parity’ passed by City Council

The legislation would affect new and newly renovated buildings.

By Sabina Mollot

A “potty parity” bill, pushing for new and renovated buildings to offer changing tables in bathrooms accessible to men as well as women, was passed in the City Council on December 11.

The mayor held a hearing on the bill on Monday and is expected to sign it soon, according to one of the legislation’s co-sponsors, Dan Garodnick. The other sponsor is Brooklyn Council Member Rafael Espinal, who said he got to work on the bill after witnessing a man change his daughter’s diaper on the sink of a public bathroom.

“Moms and dads should have equal access to sanitary and safe spaces when changing their baby’s diapers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Garodnick, who has two young sons, can certainly relate.

“As a dad who has changed my fair share of diapers I can say from personal experience that there are very few restrooms with diaper changing stations and it shouldn’t be that way,” he said.

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OP-ED: Change the status quo on changing stations

State Senator Brad Hoylman, pictured with daughter Silvia at the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

State Senator Brad Hoylman, pictured with daughter Silvia at the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By State Senator Brad Hoylman

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a new father, out to lunch with your significant other and your baby. You’ve just ordered your meal when you notice it’s time for a diaper change. You head to the men’s room, only to find it has no changing tables. Your only option is to change your child on the floor or the sink of a dirty bathroom.

As someone with a husband and a young daughter, I know this scenario all too well.

Across New York and much of the country, baby-changing stations in men’s restrooms are extremely uncommon. The lack of them is sorely out of step with the modern world and something that lawmakers can address.

Earlier this year, the TV star Ashton Kutcher took to Facebook to air his frustrations about the lack of changing stations. His post went viral, racking up more than 17 million likes and shares.

While on its surface, the issue of so-called “potty parity” for men may seem trivial, the enormous public response to Kutcher’s complaints demonstrates the resonance the issue has among men and women alike and points to larger gender imbalances in our society.

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