Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Gender neutral bathroom bills advance in Sacto, SF

Assemblyman Phil Ting

Assemblyman Phil Ting

A state bill that would make single-stall restrooms throughout California gender neutral advanced out of committee Tuesday morning.

The Assembly Business and Professions Committee on a bipartisan, unanimous 14-0 vote sent AB 1732, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it must be heard by late May.

If enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor, then all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency would need 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.

“This bill deals with a very simple but necessary issue: our ability to access bathrooms in public,” said Ting. “They should be accessed in a fair and safe way.”

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

Testifying on behalf of the state bill before the Assembly committee, 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 only person speaking in opposition to Ting’s bill was Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families. The antigay activist said the bill would force women to share bathrooms with men, who have “messier habits” in the bathroom.

“This bill would cause unforeseen problems and unforeseen consequences. It is uncaring for women and it is unnecessary,” he said.

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) countered that it is a “common sense bill” about bathroom rules “a lot of us have been questioning for years.”

“We don’t have separate bathrooms in our homes,” he noted.

There is no reason why an establishment should designate single-stall bathrooms as just for women or men, Gomez added, as it sows confusion on if a person of the opposite gender could use the bathroom if it is vacant.

“Why can’t I go in that one if no one is in there?” asked Gomez. “It is a bill that’s time has come.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 5, 2016 @ 3:28 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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