LAX airport construction stirs human rights concerns

AP Fact Check investigates claim in a controversial video that shows urinals in the women’s restroom.

A misleading video taken inside a restroom at LAX has spread widely on social media in recent days, buoyed by fiery rhetoric surrounding transgender people’s use of public facilities and ongoing debate over new restrictions.

The video shows someone walking into a restroom labeled with a blue sign reading “women.” Inside, two rows of urinals can be seen, cordoned off behind white barriers and shielded from use with clear plastic covers.

“Urinals in the women’s bathroom,” the person filming says. “Women, urinals. What the heck?”

Social media users have falsely suggested the urinals were placed in the women’s restroom as a nod to transgender passengers or baselessly claimed their presence constituted a threat to the women inside.

“Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is installing urinals in the WOMEN’S restrooms,” read the caption on one Instagram post. “So parents and ladies be alert and diligent when entering these facilities. Your safety and children’s safety has been put at risk by your government.”

The restroom in the video has urinals because it is ordinarily a men’s room, said Heath Montgomery, a spokesperson for Los Angeles World Airports, the authority that runs LAX. That particular restroom had been converted to a women’s facility during construction work on the surrounding terminal.

“We have dozens if not hundreds of restrooms throughout our 9 terminals and many other facilities,” he wrote in an email. “This one required a temporary conversion due to construction. It was marked appropriately and had the men’s facilities temporarily walled off.”

Under California law, people within the state’s borders are entitled to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, and single-stall restrooms must be designated as gender-neutral. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last year approved an additional requirement that new construction include some single-stall gender-neutral restrooms. Neither policy requires adding bathroom fixtures to existing rooms.

LAX already has gender-neutral restrooms.

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