Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Brown signs gender-neutral bathroom bill

Assemblyman Phil Ting

Assemblyman Phil Ting

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Thursday (September 29) that requires single-stall restrooms throughout California to be gender neutral.

Assembly Bill 1732, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), makes it so that all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency needs to be identified as all-gender toilet facilities beginning March 1, 2017. Such bathrooms would be for only one occupant at a time unless used by parents or guardians with small children and people with disabilities who require assistance.

“California is charting a new course for equality,” Ting said in a news release Thursday. “Restricting access to single-user restrooms by gender defies common sense and disproportionately burdens the LGBT community, women, and parents or caretakers of dependents of the opposite gender. Bathroom access is a biological need. This law will ensure more safety, fairness, and convenience access for everyone.”

The statewide LGBT lobbying group was one of the bills co-sponsors. In a news release, Rick Zbur, EQCA’s executive director, said, “North Carolina finds itself increasingly isolated, with its economy losing up to billions of dollars in cancelled conferences, sports events and concerts. Meanwhile, California has, with a minimum of controversy, moved in a different direction. We now have a policy that gives everyone greater privacy and safety in public restrooms. It, and not hateful laws in North Carolina, Mississippi and elsewhere, should be the model for the nation.” (Brown recently signed into law a bill banning taxpayer-funded travel to states with anti-LGBT laws, such as North Carolina. Additionally, Bruce Springsteen and other performers have cancelled concerns there, and the NCAA and other organizations have cancelled events in the state.)

A similar gender-neutral bathroom law was unanimously passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in April.

Testifying on behalf of the state bill before an Assembly committee this spring, transgender San Francisco resident Jordan Gwendolyn Davis said she wished it included the same provision as San Francisco’s law that calls for all new or renovated public buildings to include gender neutral bathrooms.

“As a transgender woman I often have to fear using gender-based restrooms,” she said. “It is especially true for transgender women of color. We are frequently murdered for being ourselves.”

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, October 6 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 29, 2016 @ 2:39 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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