Women's restrooms have had a number of different laws passed around them to give women and transgendered people equal rights and equal facilities. Some of these laws differ per state, and some controversy does exist about some of these laws and the ways they can be abused.
In the state of New York, all bars, restaurants, clubs and venues, like sports stadiums and concert halls must have a two-to-one ratio of women's restrooms to men's restrooms. This is because women's restrooms require stalls, while men's have both urinals and stalls, allowing them to use the facilities more quickly. Due to basic anatomical differences, women's restroom visits usually take longer, creating lines and general discomfort for women who have to wait in those long lines. This law helps alleviate this problem; other states are considering following suit, as it is an issue of fair and equal facilities for men and women.
Opposite Sex in Restroom
In many states, men are not allowed to enter a women's restroom and vice versa. This is for sexual harassment and safety reasons. This is only the case, however, if the bathrooms are properly marked for men and, likewise, for women. Restrooms can be unisex as long as they are not labeled for one sex or the other, or are labeled for both men and women. In other words, as long as the bathroom isn't designated for one particular sex, then both men and women can use it.
Gay and Transgendered Laws
Certain states allow men to use women's bathrooms if they are gay or transgendered. According to Concerned Women For America, states like California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington allow men who are transgendered to use women's restrooms. Even more states allow public employees, like police officers or teachers to use women's restrooms if they are transgendered. This has caused a significant amount of controversy among many different groups who worry about people posing as transgendered being allowed to enter women's restrooms and harass or attack them.