'All-gender' single-use restroom bill goes to governor

If signed into law, bill would take effect on March 1, 2017

California businesses and state government buildings may be required to make single-occupancy restrooms available to all genders starting next year if a bill authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, is signed into law.

The state Assembly on Monday passed Assembly Bill 1732 with a 57-18 vote following a 28-7 Senate vote last Thursday.

If signed into law, the bill could establish the nation's most inclusive restroom access law, according to Ting's office. It would require all single-user toilet facilities in any business, place of public accommodation or government agency to be identified as all-gender facilities. (Read Weekly's story, "Palo Alto students, families push district to evolve with changing gender norms").

"This bill sends a simple message that everyone's rights must be respected and protected. It provides a common sense alternative to the hate being enacted in other states," Ting said in a statement, referring to a North Carolina bill that was passed in March requiring people to use public restrooms consistent with their gender at birth.

"Restricting access to single use restrooms defies reason. It is a basic necessity of life and everyone should get in and out on the same terms.

By signing this bill, Gov. Jerry Brown can chart a new course for equality that other states should follow," Ting said.

The bill is sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California NOW, according to Ting's office.

"Having restrooms open to all genders will mean less hassle for everyone going about their day and will allow people who don't fit neatly into expectations of what it looks like to be male or female to use the restroom without fear of harassment," Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center, said in a statement.

The bill is next headed to Brown for his signature or veto before the end of September. If signed into law, the bill would take effect on March 1, 2017.

Related Weekly content:

Palo Alto students, families push district to evolve with changing gender norms

Palo Alto school district eyes new gender-identity policy

Stanford Children's Health begins to offer transgender care

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16 people like this
Posted by Emperor is Wearing No Clothes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2016 at 1:57 pm

I am sympathetic to individuals with gender identity issues and am supportive of stronger anti-bullying regulations as well as granting access to whatever bathrooms they choose.

However, I oppose forcing the sharing of locker rooms and showers with people of the opposite biological sex in elementary, middle and high school. Further, I think PAUSD should be ashamed of itself for rapidly advancing policy without adequate planning, scientific study, analysis of the impact of these changes on people with different gender identities or input from the general populace.

New York City recognizes the following 31 different identities: Bi-gendered, Cross-dresser, Drag King, Drag Queen, Femme Queen, Female-to-Male, FTM, Gender Bender, Genderqueer, Male-to-Female, MTF, Non-Op, HIJRA, Pangender, Transexual/Transsexual, Trans Person, Woman, Man, Butch, Two-Spirit, Trans Agender, Third Sex, Gender Fluid, Non-Binary Transgender, Androgyne, Gender Gifted, Gender Blender, Femme, Person of Transgender Experience, Androgynous

Even a cursory objective review of the above and the PAUSD gender identity regulation shows a ridiculous level of poorly defined terms and hopeless logical conundrums. Please explain what is the difference between Bi-Gendered and Two-Spirit or transgender and person of transgender experience? It is a farce.

Exactly which scientific or government authority gets to define these identities and how many can be legitimately recognized? What peer reviewed studies have been completed to substantiate the validity of this mental structure, the benefit to the very small number of gender mis-aligned and the impact to everybody else?

Sadly, I don't think there are any. Science and medicine are being sacrificed to political ideology. This issue was forced down by Federal fiat and exploited as an end of term mandate. Now it is being hurriedly taken up by the state legislature to save face by a Democratic Super Majority so that government institutions including school districts cannot be charged with child endangerment by forcing teenagers of opposite sexes to take showers together.

It is time that we take a step back and do a better job in PAUSD. Dictating change only increases resentment and stifles tolerance. We owe it to the vulnerable as well as the majority to build a lasting consensus on this issue.

15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2016 at 2:02 pm

These used to be called unisex and they were never a problem. Why change the name and create a lot more problems? Just increase the number of unisex restrooms. They are unisex on planes and have never proven to be problems.

2 people like this
Posted by Sarah1000
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm

@Emperor Please consider that a person's gender may be best identified/defined by each individual rather than by genitalia.

9 people like this
Posted by Nothing New
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Nothing New is a registered user.

I have lived in Europe and Asia and long ago got over the shy-kidney issue.

However most Amwricans are very sensitive to restroom and locker room designation and privacy issues.

Patience is needed, so go slowly with this--we are in the middle of a cultural shift!

10 people like this
Posted by What's the big deal
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm

A bathroom stall or a one-person room should be enough to satisfy even the gender obsessed.
I am genuinely puzzled by people who focus so much on other people's bathroom use. Seems a little like an obsession, not something we need to have serious concern.

13 people like this
Posted by Emperor is Wearing No Clothes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2016 at 2:23 pm

I think people are missing the point and need to read the regulations. My concern is not about bathrooms or even adults. It is about children being required to share showers and locker rooms which is included in the policy.

If I were to tell you that during a playdate sleepover, a travel sports team trip or a scouting camping expedition that the children of the opposite biological sex had to take showers together you might have a different reaction. Because of government edict, it is now current policy at PAUSD and will soon be the law of the land in California.

12 people like this
Posted by Musicman
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2016 at 9:21 pm

I think single occupancy is a good solution. It pretty much solves the problem without offending anyone. I would do the same with showers. I never liked taking group showers with anyone.

12 people like this
Posted by Take Aim
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 24, 2016 at 5:03 am

Males tend to have messier bathroom habits than women. As a female I prefer to use public female only bathroom facilities.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2016 at 7:58 am

Take Aim is quite correct. This will soon be the next problem with public restrooms.

Those who stand to pee must lift the seat and not miss!

6 people like this
Posted by @Emperor
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm

@Emperor is a registered user.

I have actually had this happen at s gym in Sweden two summers ago. I was a little surprised, but actually felt that the very nice transgender person was much more safe in the women's locker room than the men's.

Also, kids adapt better to these things better than adults do. That said, I do realize that teens and pre-teens are extremely self-conscious as well as easily mortified. Best to have individual bathroom and shower stalls for them.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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