A pizza place in North Carolina has received stellar reviews — and not just for its toppings.
Pure Pizza, a restaurant in Charlotte, received high praise on social media for switching to gender-neutral bathrooms.
A note posted in the establishment, which explained its rationale for the change, went viral for its inclusive message.
“We have a UniSex bathroom because sometimes gender specific toilets put others into comfortable situation,” the letter begins. It lists single parents, parents of children with disabilities, and LGBT people as among “our friends” who inspired the switch. It is signed by Pure Pizza’s owner, Juli Metcalf Ghazi.
A happy customer, Larken Egleston, posted a photo of the note to his Facebook page, where it has been liked almost 2,500 times and shared over 700 times as of this article’s publication.
“Juli Metcalf Ghazi setting a good example as always. Well done, madam!” Egleston wrote, and added in the comments after the enthusiastic reactions: “I hope I didn’t make it impossible to get a table at my neighborhood pizza place!”
“I hope so many people follow your lead,” another commenter wrote.
In an interview with local journalist Matt Comer, Ghazi said she was inspired to create the gender-neutral bathroom by a transgender friend who helped her launch the restaurant.
“I asked my friend about it before we opened,” Ghazi said. “It brought tears to my friend’s eyes, because someone recognized the need. They talked from their personal standpoint about having to use gender-specific restrooms.”
But LGBT people weren't the only ones who had an emotional reaction to the gesture.
"We did, for instance, have a mom with a disabled teenage son come in for lunch one day and she had a really emotional, tearful reaction to the sign," Ghazi told Today.
"Single mothers with sons, transgender men and women ... there are so many different scenarios when a family bathroom is needed," Ghazi added.
Although an LGBT-welcoming pizza place is receiving national media attention — it was only last year that Memories Pizza said it would not cater same-sex weddings in Indiana — the move has a broader meaning in the city of Charlotte. There, LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances will be voted on by the City Council on February 8.
A similar measure, which included more inclusive public accommodations, was rejected by the council last year. Ghazi credits fearmongering of transgender people using restrooms as among the reasons for its defeat.
“Our community got really small-minded when it decided to breakdown this very inclusionary ordinance to just who is using the restroom next to me and what sex they are,” Ghazi told Comer. “The sole focus became restrooms and locker rooms. This is such a bigger human rights issue than just who’s in the stall next to you. It’s none of your business.”
"I simply wanted to use my small voice to make a difference," Ghazi added to Today. "And I hope that's what I've done."