East Nashville's restaurant's unisex restrooms not in compliance - WSMV Channel 4

East Nashville's restaurant's unisex restrooms not in compliance

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Graze restaurant in east Nashville is in a standoff with Metro Codes over gender-neutral bathrooms. (WSMV) Graze restaurant in east Nashville is in a standoff with Metro Codes over gender-neutral bathrooms. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A Nashville restaurant is taking a stand against a bill that would require transgender students to use restrooms that match their sex at birth.

They are now in a standoff with the Metro Codes Department because officials cannot have unisex bathrooms.

The owners of Wild Cow in east Nashville have decided to open another restaurant called Graze right around the corner.

“Yesterday, we had a visit from the codes inspector,” said Melanie Cochran, owner of Wild Cow and Graze.

Cochran said everything was going well until they got to the restrooms.

“He said that we have to have a man’s sign and a woman’s sign on each one to designate which one is for men and which one is for women,” Cochran said.

The restrooms are single occupancy with locks on the doors.

Cochran said she and her husband changed the bathrooms at Wild Cow to unisex after they passed their inspection and realized they only had one restroom with a baby changing table inside.

“And then we started to realize that we have a lot of customers and even some employees who were transgender, and it made them feel more comfortable also to not have to worry about someone looking at them and wondering why they’re going in that bathroom,” Cochran said.

Cochran took her frustrations to Facebook. Others started sounding off, saying the ordinance didn’t make sense to them.

According to Metro Codes, it’s the law.

“Any establishment with 1,000 square feet or more is to provide a restroom for each sex,” said Byron Hall, chief building inspector with Metro Codes.

Hall said the codes department doesn’t make the rules, they just enforce them.

“I know times are changing, but our code hasn’t changed,” he said.

That type of change would apparently have to come from a vote by Metro Council.

“Personally, I would like to see gender neutral bathrooms, especially if it’s single occupancy,” Cochran said. “I think the rules need to reflect how society is changing.”

The owners of Graze have the option of appealing to the Board of Fire and Building Codes.

Channel 4 asked the codes department why they haven’t done anything about the unisex bathrooms at Wild Cow. They said they likely haven’t been back for an inspection since the original one, but the restaurant is technically out of compliance.

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