Spectrum Health to convert single-occupant restrooms into affirming, gender-neutral spaces

June 28, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 28, 2021 – To create a more welcoming environment and to eliminate fear of discrimination for LGBTQI+ team members, patients and visitors, Spectrum Health is converting single-occupant restrooms in Grand Rapids from gender assigned to inclusive, affirming, gender-neutral spaces.

Over the next several months, all-gender restroom signage will be installed in Spectrum Health facilities in downtown Grand Rapids. The project will begin with more than 300 single-stall restrooms at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. Other locations include 25 Michigan, 35 Michigan, 145 Michigan and 221 Michigan.

“Spectrum Health is looking to celebrate this progress as one more step in being a gender-affirming organization,” said Darryl Elmouchi, MD, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan. “We are hopeful that this​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ initiative will provide the LGBTQI+ community and their loved ones and supporters with a more welcoming, positive experience.”

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This initiative is about much more than just updating restroom signs. The following information also was taken into account:​​​

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises restroom access is a health and safety matter. The best workplace policies provide options that include single-occupancy, gender-neutral facilities.
  • Lack of affirming spaces can negatively impact the mental health of those in the transgender and non-binary communities. A study in The Journal of Adolescent Health showed that among gender minority youth who experienced bathroom discrimination, 85% reported depressive moods and 60% seriously considered suicide. ​​​​​​​​​​​
  • Minority stressors in the workplace, including lack of access to an affirming restroom, are associated with greater distress and lower job satisfaction. Ensuring safe and easy restroom access for all individuals who use our facilities is one way to help reduce minority stress.

About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan.

People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness.

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