The state of New York now requires changing tables to be in men’s public restrooms.
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This new law went into effect on New Years Day. It states that new and renovated buildings must include changing tables in men’s restrooms as well as women’s. This law applies to all businesses and public facilities, including restaurants, stores, parks, movie theaters, and government offices.
The announcement was first made back in April 2018.
‘New York proudly leads the nation in fighting for the rights of working parents, and by ensuring access to these amenities, we will help ensure all New Yorkers can give their children the care they need at this critical stage of their lives,’ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at the time.
Men change diapers, too
Back in October, a photo of a man squatting down on a public restroom floor to change his son’s diaper went viral.
‘As a father, we need to be seen as an equal,’ the man, Donte Palmer, told BuzzFeed News. ‘We’re more than just protectors and providers.’
Palmer’s story added to a discussion started by Ashton Kutcher in 2015. Kutcher took to Facebook to publicly question why men’s restrooms don’t include changing tables. This led to an online petition, which eventually caused big-box stores like Target and Costco to provide changing tables in men’s bathrooms.
This new legislation will make it easier for dads in New York to care for their children in public. According to Pew Research, about 17% of stay-at-home parents are fathers.
For soon-to-be fathers, like Andy Cohen, this forward-thinking legislation will likely be immensely helpful.
As of 1 January, New York City is also offering gender non-binary options for birth certificates.