Single-user bathrooms in public buildings in California will soon become “gender neutral” so anyone can use any restroom, a result of legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said his bill moves California in the opposite direction of some states that restricted the ability of transgender people to choose which bathrooms to use.
“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.”
He noted that 19 states this year have considered restricting access to restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities based on the user’s biological sex.
The new law in California was championed by Equality California, a gay rights group that cited a 2013 study by the UCLA Williams Institute that found 70% of transgender and gender non-conforming people face serious threats, including verbal harassment, when using gender-specific restrooms.
“This law is a simple measure that will make everyone’s lives easier,” added Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center.
The law takes effect March 1, 2017, to allow businesses time to change restroom signs and otherwise comply.