(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) –Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announced legislation to establish the nation’s most progressive restroom access law among the states. AB 1732 would require single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and public spaces to be identified as “all gender.”
"Restrooms are a necessity of life. Access to them influences our ability to participate in public life," said Ting. "Signs restricting single-use restroom access by gender create problems of convenience, fairness, and safety. They defy common sense, which is why many of us ignore them. 'All gender' signs will end these problems and ensure everyone's rights are protected."
“Having access to a restroom without restrictions based on one’s gender identity simply makes sense,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), a principal co-author of the bill. “All gender restrooms will enhance dignity and safety for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in their daily lives.”
Supported by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center, California NOW and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, AB 1732 would align state law with similar restroom access laws emerging in the cities of Berkeley, Philadelphia, and Seattle.
“This bill will greatly enhance the security and privacy of transgender people, who are often harassed or threatened in public, multi-stall restrooms, but the benefits would truly extend to virtually everyone," said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California. "Everyone appreciates greater privacy -- parents with children, nursing mothers, people with medical conditions -- and it would mean that we all would spend less time in lines for single-use restrooms."
“All Californians should have the same freedom to participate in public life, go about their day, and use the bathroom when they need it,” said Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. “By making single-user restrooms accessible to all genders, this law will make life easier for everyone and reduce the harassment regularly experienced by transgender people and others who don’t match people’s stereotypes of what it looks like to be a man or a woman.”
“When nature calls, women frequently have to wait,” said Jerilyn Stapleton, President of California NOW. “We shouldn’t have to wait or postpone having our needs fairly met in public. Everyone should experience equal waiting time. We have universal bathroom access at home and on airplanes so why not require it in public buildings?”
"Hospitality is all about accommodation and making people feel comfortable and welcome,” said Samantha Higgins, Policy and Community Manager of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. “This legislation just makes sense."
Legislation pending in the New York State Legislature would require a “gender neutral” designation for all single-use bathrooms in state owned or operated buildings. Vermont’s State Legislature has legislation pending to require newly constructed or renovated state buildings to include “gender neutral” restrooms. In contrast, a pending bill in Indiana would make it a misdemeanor to knowingly enter a single-use restroom of the opposite sex.
The introduction of AB 1732 follows the failure of a discriminatory initiative to qualify last month for the state ballot. The so-called “Personal Privacy Protection Act” would have required persons to use restrooms based on their biological sex. Transgender Californians would be penalized no less than $4,000 each time they exercised their right to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity. The proposed initiative did not apply to single-use restrooms.