Brown signs legislation broadening restroom access laws


Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that is being considered the most inclusive restroom access law in the nation, California officials said Thursday, Sept. 29.

Assembly Bill 1732, which was authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, establishes that all single-user restrooms in any California business, government building and or place of public accommodation must be accessible to all genders, according to Ting's office. (Read Weekly's story, "Palo Alto students, families push district to evolve with changing gender norms").

The bill comes as at least 19 other states have recently considered restricting access to restrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities according to biological sex.

The bill, which will go into effect beginning March 1, 2017, was sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California NOW, Ting's office said.

"California is charting a new course for equality," Ting 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. Bathroom access is a biological need. This law will ensure more safety, fairness and convenience access for everyone."

Earlier this year, San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed similar legislation, introduced by Supervisor David Campos.

That legislation requires that all city businesses change signage on all single-occupancy restrooms, indicating that they are neither for men nor women exclusively.

The switch is intended to benefit trans people and gender non-conforming people who might face harassment while trying to use a restroom.

It's also intended to benefit parents with opposite gender children, disabled or senior residents with opposite-gender caregivers and women who often face longer lines for public restrooms, according to Campos' office.

Other cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, West Hollywood, Berkeley and New York City have enacted similar legislation.

Of the new state legislation, Campos said, "This critical legislation expands the access rights we have in San Francisco to every county across our state. This legislation will help ensure that all California residents, including LGBT individuals and people with disabilities, can use the bathroom in peace -- without fear of harassment or discrimination."

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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23 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2016 at 8:50 pm

I have a real problem with this type of law. A restroom is based upon biology. Like it or not, there are real biological differences between men and women, boys and girls. I understand that there are some transgender individuals who feel that their gender identity on the inside doesn't match their body's gender identity. I get that. However, the feelings of those who do not want to share a bathroom with someone simply because they say that they identify with the opposite biological gender is just wrong.

I know that there are some people who will mock or generally dismiss my concerns. However, I don't want a biological man to accidentally expose himself to my daughter, my mother or me.

I would much rather prefer people use the restroom according to their present biology. If you still have the anatomy of a man, then you should use the men's restroom (or, at least, a "family" or "co-ed" restroom). I've always felt that people should never be ashamed of who they are or how they were born. This means that it is important to come to terms with your outer gender. There is no need to "identify" outwardly with what modern society (particular from the media or stores) say that a person should look like.

Please do not mistake this for "hate" or "bigotry" (as I am fairly certain some people will conclude). I simply feel that the needs for girls and women (or even boys and men) should be considered too. Many people -- especially girls -- should not feel violated by accidental exposure simply because someone wants to identify with the outer gender for which they were not born.

19 people like this
Posted by Woman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2016 at 12:50 am

There is a reason why those who stand to pee have restrooms that are smelly and unpleasant. Many of these don't lift the seat or miss their aim and splash all over the place. This makes it very unpleasant for anyone who uses the toilet after they have finished.

I hope that there are signs put up in unisex restrooms to insist that those who stand to pee lift the seat and leave the toilet area clean for the next person. I would not like to use a typical male restroom as they have their own unpleasant odor.

Hygiene is going to be the biggest problem with unisex restrooms.

14 people like this
Posted by Holding My Nose
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2016 at 9:42 am

Holding My Nose is a registered user.

As a mother of a toddler boy who is going through potty-training, I have to agree that men's restrooms are disgusting!

My son often wants to use the " big boy" restroom, and if no one else is in there, I will take him in so I can make sure he doesn't pee on his clothing. But the smell of dried urine in the urinals and on the floor is unbearable.

So, I prefer to take my little boy into the ladies' room instead.

I would hate, hate, HATE to be forced to endure an ammoniac stench whenever I need to use a public restroom because all restrooms are unisex!

10 people like this
Posted by TorreyaMan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 4, 2016 at 10:28 am

TorreyaMan is a registered user.

This is about single user restrooms, so exposure from someone of the opposite genitals is not in question. And we can all survive a little "stench" in return for greater convenience for all.

15 people like this
Posted by Dirty
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 4, 2016 at 11:07 am

How many transgenders are there?! The majority should win. It's unfair to make females share with males. Men spray pee everywhere even when they are hitting the toilet because it splashes. How about keeping two bathrooms: One for men/transgender, and one for women. Keep the men out of our bathrooms!

5 people like this
Posted by EqualRights
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 4, 2016 at 11:45 am

My governer. As always, California leads the country!

9 people like this
Posted by The Dirty Little Secret To Justince
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 4, 2016 at 11:56 am

To Dirty,

To answer your question: How many transgenders are there?! The majority should win.

There are more of us than you know. We are everywhere, and in everyone's family. You could be sitting next to one us, the next time you go out to dinner, and you will never know.

And besides, what does the majority have to do with confining one's civil rights?

This is why civil rights exist, to protect not only the minority positions in life, but all positions in life. You too Dirty, might find yourself one day having to fight for your own rights. The need for to gain Justice and Equality is a challenge we all have to face at one point or another in our life. One does not escape a lifetime, without having to fight for something!

Think about it!

5 people like this
Posted by PA parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2016 at 11:56 am

Glad to see our governor doing the right thing. Having all-gender single-stall bathrooms will be more convenient for everyone.

9 people like this
Posted by Holding My Nose
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2016 at 12:14 pm

A LITTLE stench???? It's a lot more than a LITTLE, in many places. Enough to make me gag! I can only hold my breath so long!

A pediatrician told me: if you are smelling something foul, as in a restroom or a garbage receptacle, it's because the bacteria are airborne."

7 people like this
Posted by lms
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2016 at 12:37 pm

1. I will use whatever toilette facility is open and unoccupied, regardless of the sign. Having had prostate cancer and treatment for it, the alternative of pissing on myself at my age is less important than the sign on the door.

2. I been to a concert where the lines for the "women" was long and non-existent for the "men" (I'm talking Royce Hall @ UCLA). In the basement is another set of rest rooms (for men and women). The women still had a long line. And, low-and-behold! Women were in the multi-stall men's toilette facility. They used the stalls. Me and the other guy used the urinal. Nobody went to jail. Nobody said anything, except the guy next to me: "They take care of their business, I'll take care of mine. Period." We left. I'm assuming all went down OK.

Grow up!

1 person likes this
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm

Wow. Those are some really uninformed reactions.

I think those espousing these NIMBY-esque opinions where they just don't care about others shows an unpalatable degree of selfishness. Next, to follow the analogy, we'll have men claiming that women shouldn't vote because of some inane selfish reason.

You want equality? Then at least attempt to treat people equally.

3 people like this
Posted by Woman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2016 at 3:02 am

Those who think that we should be happy to share a restroom made dirty and unhygienic by someone who stands to pee without lifting the seat is downright wrong.

I will happily share a restroom with anyone who keeps it clean enough for the next user. I will happily do my part to keep the restroom clean. I will happily stand in line to use a clean restroom rather than one that is smelly and unhygienic.

Please can we have some manners and understand that a smelly restroom is unpleasant for any of us to use and get some positive suggestions of how a restroom used by everyone can be kept in a clean, pleasant condition for us all. This is not too much to expect in a civilized society.

Perhaps more than just soap and toilet paper, these restrooms should be stocked with chlorine wipes and sanitizing spray so that those who have accidentally made a mess can clean up after themselves before washing hands and exiting.

Like this comment
Posted by BrianR
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

I was a janitor for several years at a church. The women's restrooms were just as messy as the men's restrooms!

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

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