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Pizza restaurant switches to unisex bathrooms for single dads, LGBT customers

A North Carolina restaurant called Pure Pizza is drawing praise on social media for switching from men's and women's bathrooms to unisex facilities.

The Charlotte pizza place, it seems, made the decision for all the right reasons.

A customer of the Plaza Midwood-area restaurant recently shared on Facebook a notice posted inside a gender-neutral bathroom.

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The message, written by owner Juli Metcalf Ghazi, explains that "sometimes gender specific toilets put others into uncomfortable situations" — for instance, single fathers with their daughters in tow, as well as members of the LGBT community and those with special needs.

"It really was just intended to help those in our community who have felt discriminated against or have had a hard time with the gender-specific rooms," Ghazi told TODAY.com.

"We just quietly hung a little sign right by the sink so that people can read it when they're washing their hands. I had heard a few sad stories of people being kicked out of bathrooms by security guards even though they identified with the gender listed."

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Ghazi said she hoped to offer a safe space designed to avoid such situations.

"The truth is, there are so many times when a unisex bathroom is needed," she said. "Single mothers with sons, transgender men and women ... there are so many different scenarios when a family bathroom is needed.

"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," she added.

Several locals praised the move.

"My favorite pizza place just got even better...." one fan wrote on Facebook after a local NBC station covered the story.

"I simply wanted to use my small voice to make a difference," Ghazi said. "And I hope that's what I've done."

Follow Ree Hines and Rebekah Lowin on Twitter.

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