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An Apartment Manager's Guide to Gender Identity

Apartment Gender Identity

Beyond signage for bathrooms, apartment owners and managers are discussing the evolving issue of gender identity and are seeking answers to questions in establishing policies and protocols. There are underlying fair housing considerations that should be a part of these discussions. At risk is potential for offending residents or legal ramifications.

Nadeen Green, Senior Counsel, Rent Media Solutions, who writes often about fair housing, says it’s an issue that is first addressed in the lease.

“If someone says ‘Hi, I am Susan’ but has ID as Bob, then I tell everyone to do the paperwork in the name of Bob (as that is the legal entity at the current time) but to call the person Susan because that is good manners,” Green says. “Frankly, that is no different than calling someone ‘Liz’ instead of ‘Elizabeth’ if that is their preference; but paperwork would go in the formal, legal name of Elizabeth.”

Green finds designating clubhouse or pool area restrooms as “Men” and “Women” to be unnecessary. “Provide two bathrooms; and everyone uses the one that isn't locked,” she says. “If there are two bathroom doors, gently try the handle. If it opens, enter. If not, try the other. If both are locked, wait your turn.”

She asks, “Does anyone stop to think that transgender people have been going to the bathroom in public for years, and we did not even know or care...?”

This update was excerpted from an article originally published in the September 2015 issue of UNITS magazine. Check out the full version for additional information about transgender-specific terms, etiquette, terms to avoid and how to effectively communicate about gender equity.