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Bathrooms Are Now Safer for Transgender New Yorkers

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Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order requiring city agencies to ensure individuals access to single-sex facilities (such as bathrooms and locker rooms) consistent with their gender identity. This executive order will allow the 25,000 transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers to access the bathroom that corresponds with their gender, no questions asked.

“Access to bathrooms and other single-sex facilities is a fundamental human right that should not be restricted or denied to any individual,” de Blasio said. “Every New Yorker should feel safe in our city — and this starts with our city’s buildings.”

Bianey Garcia, of Make the Road New York, described an instance in which she was denied restroom use due to her gender identity – an experience many transgender folks know too well.

“That day I felt humiliated, but like so many others I didn’t think of making a complaint or telling anyone because of fear, frustration and disbelief. Access to the ladies bathroom is my right as a transgender woman, as a human being,” Garcia said.

Today’s executive order applies to all city-owned buildings, including city offices, public parks and playgrounds, pools, recreation centers, and public museums. The order does not apply to New York City public schools, as there is already a policy protecting students’ rights to use facilities consistent with their gender identity. Furthermore, the order requires City agencies to:

  • Post the new single-sex facility policy in conspicuous locations for employees and members of the public to see within three months
  • Train managers on the policy within one year and frontline staff within two years
  • Update agency Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) plans to incorporate training requirements within three months
  • Report steps taken to comply with today’s executive order to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services pursuant to EEO reporting requirements

As Mayor de Blasio said, “The work to ensure equality does not have an end point.” The True Colors Fund is so proud of the example New York City set today to protect its transgender and gender nonconforming citizens.

Sources: CBS New York, Office of the Mayor

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