Yelp is Making It Easier to Find Gender Neutral Bathrooms
acceptance and inclusion on the yelp platform
On March 3, 2017, Yelp announced the launch of their new filter, which allows the user to search by the availability of gender neutral bathrooms. Gender neutral stalls are defined in this new feature as individual stalls with a lock that anyone can use regardless of their gender identity.
Even though Yelp representatives say that this isn’t the first time that they have spoken out about social issues, it is the first time that they have linked doing something on their platform with the social justice support of the LGBTQ community.
The new feature was launched in direct response to Donald Trump’s rescinding of Obama-era transgender bathroom policies, which had allowed transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.
Yelp also recently announced that it became one of 53 companies to sign an amicus brief in support of trans student Gavin Grimm, who filed a lawsuit against his local school board for denying him use of the school boy’s restroom.
motivated to offer support
The new search filter was launched just one week after it was initially proposed by an employee whose mother came up with the idea, and represents Yelp’s latest step forward for the fight for transgender rights. Rachel Williams, Yelp’s head of diversity and inclusion, expressed to TechCrunch how pleased she was with the product team getting this feature ready to launch so quickly.
“People in this company were so incensed by what’s going on in our country and to potential employees and customers, that they wanted to do something to support,” Williams said. “The product team got it done within a couple of days. They dropped everything to add this feature. I’m overjoyed and proud.”
update your Yelp business listing!
Even though the new feature is crowdsourced, and may take a little time before the listings are accurate and complete, Yelp will be prompting users to mark whether or not an establishment has a locking single-stall bathroom when they check in to make a review. In the meantime, business owners can help the initiative by updating their profile to indicate if they have gender-neutral restrooms.
“We believe it’s important for the business community to speak up when our nation’s values are threatened,” Williams told the Observer recently. “Yelp thrives on inclusion and acceptance, and it’s always the right time to reaffirm this with our community.”
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, fifty-nine percent of transgender adult Americans have avoided using a public bathroom in the past year. This statistic makes features like Yelps new filter even more important. Hopefully the new feature will also become the motivation needed for more businesses to start providing their customers with gender neutral bathrooms that everyone can feel comfortable accessing.
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