(CNSNews.com)-- Bathrooms in Boston’s City Hall are now officially “gender-neutral”.
An executive order signed Thursday by Mayor Martin Walsh eliminated gender specific bathrooms on the fifth floor of City Hall outside the mayor’s office and City Council chambers.
New signs created by Boston’s Property Management Department indicate that the single-stall bathrooms are open to anyone.
The decision comes in the middle of Boston’s Pride Week, which celebrates the city’s LGBT community.
“Today marks a historic moment in Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. “Boston thrives on diversity, and is an inclusive city. This change will foster a safe and welcoming environment for employees and visitors, and will go a long way as we continue to work towards improving the lives of those who love and call Boston home.”
Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage. According to a recent Gallup poll, the Boston area has the sixth largest LGBT community in the country. The Boston-Cambridge-Newton area is 4.8 percent LGBT—compared to the national average of 3.6 percent.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey applauded Mayor Walsh’s actions.
“Mayor Walsh’s announcement today is an important step forward in the fight for equality,” Healey said in a statement. “For all of us who are employers in Massachusetts, a real commitment to preventing discrimination starts in our own workplaces, and I hope employers across the state will join in these efforts to promote equal treatment for all.”
But a majority of the public is not in favor of the idea. A poll taken last year by CBS News found that 59 percent of Americans believe that “transgender students should use the bathrooms/locker rooms of their birth gender.” Only 26 percent believe they should use the bathrooms/locker rooms of their "preferred gender".
Mayor Walsh is not the first public official to change traditional sex-segregated bathroom policy to accommodate transgendered individuals .In April, the Obama administration established gender-neutral bathrooms in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.