By Erin Durkin
Originally published by the NY Daily News on June 21, 2016
All single-stall bathrooms in the city will have to go gender neutral after the City Council passed a bill to mandate the change Tuesday.
The legislation, passed by a vote of 47-2, will require business owners to take down the “men” and “women” signs on one-person bathrooms starting on Jan. 1.
It’s a move to make sure transgender New Yorkers can comfortably access facilities — which backers say will also cut down on waiting for all customers, especially women who usually face longer toilet lines.
“Most New Yorkers take their unfettered access to bathrooms for granted, yet every single day transgender and gender non-conforming individuals must grapple with the fact that their choices may lead to harassment or worse,” said Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Queens), the sponsor.
“Designating single-stall bathrooms as all gender is an easy way to create a welcoming environment for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals,” he said. “As an added bonus, anyone who is looking for an unoccupied bathroom will now have more options.”
Mayor de Blasio has already issued an order saying that city-owned buildings must allow people to use whichever bathroom matches their gender identity.
Larger bathrooms with many stalls will not be affected by the Council’s bill.
The measure is also meant to send a message decrying laws like the one passed in North Carolina requiring people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate.
Pols there “are perversely obsessed with the bathroom habits of others,” Dromm said. “Their recently enacted anti-LGBT law belongs in the toilet.”
The Department of Buildings will have to determine fines for building owners who maintain gender-segregated bathrooms.
Read more here.