New York Takes Sides in Bathroom Wars Passes Bill to Designate as Gender-Neutral Restrooms in State-Owned, Operated Facilities

June 20, 2017

New York, NY Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) today, during Pride Week, announced passage of her bill to designate as gender-neutral all restrooms in all state-owned and operated facilities.

"Across the country, states are moving to institutionalize discrimination against transgender individuals by blocking their access to restrooms conforming to their gender identity and expression. By passing this bill, New York sends a strong message that we will not tolerate that kind of hateful ignorance. Instead, we send a message that New Yorkers of all kinds are welcome and more importantly, respected," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

Once this bill becomes law, facilities like state schools, hospitals, parks, the legislature and similar state-owned and operated facilities will be required to make their single-stall restrooms gender neutral.

Sixteen states, most notably North Carolina, have introduced "bathroom bills," designed to block access to public restrooms based on gender identity or expression. Requiring transgender individuals to use restrooms that do not conform to their gender identity or expression is discriminatory, and has the potential to subject transgender people to unwanted public scrutiny and even violence. These policies are difficult to enforce and have had negative economic impacts on the states that have implemented them, with businesses threatening to and actually moving their business elsewhere as a result.

The bill is sponsored by Andrew J. Lanza in the New York State Senate. New York State has yet to pass GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would enshrine protections for transgender individuals in the law, making this legislation necessary to protect transgender people statewide.

Though New York State has, by executive order, included legal protections against discrimination for transgender individuals, the State Senate has failed to codify into statute the protections (GENDA) into law.