Legislation making single-occupancy restrooms gender neutral wins support in San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Legislation that would increase access to gender-neutral restrooms in San Francisco was approved in committee today with broad support.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor David Campos in January, would require city businesses to change the signage on all single-occupant restrooms to make them gender neutral.

In addition, it would require the city to include gender-neutral restroom facilities in new public construction and major renovation projects.

The change is intended to benefit not only transgender and gender non-conforming people who might face harassment or attacks while trying to use the restroom but also parents with opposite gender children, disabled or senior residents with opposite-gender caregivers and women who often face longer lines for public restrooms.

At a hearing before the Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee today, Campos said he was proud that in light of a recent vote of the North Carolina legislature to limit protections the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, San Francisco was moving in the opposite direction.

“I know we are on the right side of history,” Campos said. Similar legislation has already passed in cities including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, West Hollywood, Berkeley and New York. However, San Francisco’s law includes additional provisions for enforcement through the city’s Human Rights Commission and the Department of Building Inspections.

San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting also introduced legislation last month with the support of his fellow San Franciscan Assemblyman David Chiu that would require all single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings and public spaces to be identified as “all gender.”

Campos’ legislation will now go before the full Board of Supervisors for a vote.

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