Indy theatre unveiling gender neutral bathrooms at new location

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Man, woman, transgender...however you identify yourself at the new Phoenix Theatre, everyone will use the same restroom.

It's a community space that looks like a hallway. But, behind the doors of the ten stalls you will have your privacy, and on the outside, you'll see everyone waiting to use the same bathroom space.

"This is essentially think of it as a hallway with 10 different little coat closets that each exist as their own stall of a bathroom. One of them is family friendly and has a big family space another one is ADA compliant and everything else is just like a bathroom in your house," Phoenix Theatre, Advancement Manager, Chelsea Anderson said.

The gender neutral bathrooms at the new theatre location will be one of the first spaces like this in the state.

Under Indiana building code, each sex is supposed to use a different space, but a variance was approved to allow this unique construction. Everyone waits in line together. When you go in, a sign above the door will show an X for occupied and an arrow pointing down for open.

"From our founding, the Phoenix Theatre has always been an inclusive theatre. We always want people to come in, we want to feel like we have an open door policy and that's true of our facility as well so we want to make sure everyone feels comfortable when they're in our space," Anderson said.

When the theatre shared the news on Facebook, it was met with questions like "do they go in at the same time?" And "will there be commodes and urinals in all of the stalls?"

Everyone goes into the waiting area together and then into an individual stall. There will also be no urinals in the entire building.

"We're hoping it sends a very positive message that again we're an inclusive space, we want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable here and Phoenix is always about starting conversation more than conflict," Anderson said.

The stall space is floor to ceiling so you won’t see who’s in the stall next to you at all. The building is still under construction . The new theatre is set to open with it’s 400th production in May.

The theatre is still looking for donors to finish its $10.1 million Capital Campaign with only 20% to go.

Naming opportunities are available at varying levels including naming the administrative offices for $500,000 and naming the building for $2 million. For more on the Capital Campaign, click here.