Philadelphia makes gender-neutral restrooms the law

| March 14, 2017

Most of us don’t think twice when pushing through bathroom doors marked “women” or “men,” “ladies” or “gents,” or any other iteration of those two genders. But for some, deciding which communal restroom to use isn’t so simple.

In Philadelphia, transgender people, who often have to weigh their gender preference against how they will be perceived by the public, now have a third option.

The Advocate reports that a new law mandates that all new, city-owned buildings provide gender-neutral restrooms in addition to single-gender restrooms. The legislation, signed by Mayor Michael Nutter last Thursday, also offers tax credits to businesses that offer LGBT-inclusive benefits.

This reform makes Philadelphia the first U.S. city to offer tax credits to businesses that support LGBT rights, putting the city on the path to becoming “one of, if not the most, LGBT-friendly cities in the world and a leader on equality issues,” as the mayor told NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate, WCAU.

In addition to the tax incentives, supported by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and LGBT advocacy groups, the legislation revises Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender individuals and grants life partners decision-making rights on medical and other issues. Plus, city forms and websites will now offer options for same-sex couples and transgender people.

gender-neutral restrooms

Signs available at MyDoorSign.

As the new law makes clear, bathrooms are just one part of the gender equality equation. This overt sign of acceptance (pun intended) holds the most weight when combined with the other benefits finally extended to LGBT Philadelphians.

While similar laws have been met with controversy as soon as they reach the public’s eyes and ears, the legislation in Philadelphia has, thus far, had a relatively easy go of it. We can only hope that the support the lawmakers gave the bill on paper is reflected by the public and businesses in practice.

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Category: Restrooms

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