California’s Single-User Restrooms Become ‘Gender Neutral’ by Law

Ariel Noh, Writer

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In the future, single-user restrooms in public buildings throughout California will be “gender neutral,” meaning all people are welcome to use them regardless of their gender identities. This is the result of a new legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

     The new law will be in effect starting March 1, 2017, in order to give businesses enough time to change their bathroom signs and abide. However, it will not apply to public restrooms with multiple stalls.

     Gov. Brown has previously signed a similar bill, which prevents California from monetarily supporting or demanding public employees to visit states that discriminate against the LGBT community.

     In the past, states like North Carolina raised great controversy for forcing individuals to use bathrooms strictly based on their assigned sex, which many argue is discriminatory against transgender people. For this reason, California has been receiving attention for its pro-LGBT agenda.  

     “California is charting a new course for equality,” Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said. “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,” Ting added that 19 states, in this year alone, have considered limiting the access to public facilities like restrooms and locker rooms based on the subject’s gender at birth.

     A UCLA Williams Institute’s 2013 study shows that 70 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals are threatened while using gender-specific bathrooms. Once the new law is put in place, LGBTQ+ individuals will be able to use the restrooms in a much safer environment. Adults assisting the elderly or parents with a child of opposite sex may freely enter as well. “This law is a simple measure that will make everyone’s lives easier,” says Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center.

     The law is being implemented on a larger scale, as the issue has been brought up in major cities like San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. Already, 150 colleges in the United States, including the UCs, have introduced gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

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California’s Single-User Restrooms Become ‘Gender Neutral’ by Law