Yelp creates gender-neutral bathroom search function

A sign for the online consumer review site Yelp hangs on the front of the New York Stock Exchange ahead of its 2012 IPO. On Friday, the company announced it would begin allowing users to search for businesses that have a gender-neutral bathroom policy in solidarity with transgender rights. File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA

March 4 (UPI) — The crowd-sourced online review company Yelp is wading into the transgender rights debate, creating a function allowing users to search specifically for businesses with gender-neutral bathrooms.

The company announced the rollout of the new feature in a blog post Friday. The site and its popular smartphone app allows users to search for nearby businesses and read reviews by fellow users. Yelp already informs users of other business policies, such as whether they are handicapped-accessible, have a military discount and are considered child-friendly by other users.

The new feature will inform users whether the business has a gender-neutral bathroom policy, defined as a single-stall locking restroom that is available to any individual regardless of their gender identity.

Yelp said it would collect the information both from users who post reviews and businesses themselves that wish to clarify their policy via their business user account.

Rachel Williams, Yelp’s head of diversity and inclusion, said the policy was crafted because “we believe it’s important for the business community to speak up in support of equality for all.”

Yelp’s legal team has previously filed amicus briefs in support of lawsuits challenging state laws that prohibit transgender individuals from using the bathroom of their preference.


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