Forget the men’s room and the women’s room – gender will no longer matter when using single-stall public bathrooms in California.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed legislation that will require restrooms for single users to be designated all-gender, California’s latest move to bolster transgender rights even as much of the country moves in the opposite direction.
“California is charting a new course for equality,” Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement. “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.
In signing Assembly Bill 1732, Brown vindicated advocates who have made the right to use bathrooms matching their gender identities a new front in LGBT politics.
California has continued down that path even as elected officials in other states, notably North Carolina, have moved to block transgender people from using the bathroom with which they are most comfortable.
“We now have a policy that gives everyone greater privacy and safety in public restrooms – it, and not hateful laws in North Carolina, Mississippi and elsewhere, should be the model for the nation,” Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said in a statement.
In 2013, Brown signed a bill allowing high school students to use the bathrooms and join sports teams that align with their gender identity. Earlier this week, he authorized legislation banning official state travel to states that discriminate against LGBT people.
Pointing to the widespread discrimination and disproportionate risk of violence transgender people face, California legislators signed a pledge this year committing them to safeguarding the rights of transgender people.