Philadelphia, November 19, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed legislation requiring that privately-owned establishments that service the public, like restaurants, replace gender specific signage designating male or female on single-occupancy bathrooms with gender-neutral signage into law. The legislation, introduced by Councilman Mark Squilla on behalf of the Nutter Administration, expands inclusivity requirements on city-owned facilities with single-stall restrooms to privately-owned establishments and helps ensure that all Philadelphians have access to safe bathrooms.
“Philadelphia is a world-class, welcoming city that proudly celebrates the diversity of our residents and communities. Our inclusive practices and commitment to equality makes our city truly great and a leader on LGBT issues,” said Mayor Nutter. “This legislation expands and strengthens gender-identity protections and is an important step in support of our LGBT community, especially our transgender community members. I am proud that Philadelphia is one of the largest cities in the nation to implement this kind of policy and I want to thank Councilman Squilla for introducing this bill on our Administration’s behalf.”
All signage on applicable bathroom facilities must be changed by January 20, 2016, the legislation’s effective date. The Department of Licenses and Inspections will oversee enforcement of the law.
“I was happy to introduce this Bill of behalf of the Administration,” said Councilman Squilla. “It represents a minor change for most, but is a major step toward equality for all, especially those uncomfortable with having to choose which bathroom facility was best suited for them.”
Individuals who encounter a non-compliant establishment should report it to Philly311 or the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affairs. Individuals can also report it via Twitter by tweeting @Philly311 using the #freetoPHL. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding the legislation should contact Philly311 or the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.
“This simple bathroom sign change represents a larger moment and movement of education, understanding and cultural growth throughout Philadelphia. It is our goal to avoid issuing fines for violating this bill and instead seize the opportunity to work with noncompliant businesses to build understanding, awareness and allies for these historically underserved, unseen communities that face high rates of violence and discrimination,” said Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director, Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs. “The Office of LGBT Affairs is proud to lead the effort to educate business owners, managers and employees on ways to create safe, inclusive and affirming spaces for trans-identified people that go beyond bathrooms.”
Discriminatory practices should be reported to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.
“The Commission has been a strong supporter of this Bill since its inception,” said Rue Landau, Executive Director, Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. “Requiring that all single occupancy bathrooms be gender neutral creates a safer environment for the transgender community and reduces the opportunities for discrimination and unfair treatment.”
During the bill signing ceremony held at Fergie’s Pub, Fergus Carey, the proprietor, changed the signage on the establishment’s single occupant bathroom to reflect gender neutral use.
Transgender community member and advocate Dawn Munro said, “Philadelphia is one of the best, if not the best city in America for Trans people to live and work. The progress on the development of LGBT rights over the years has been amazing. This bill represents yet another step towards full equality for the Philadelphia transgender community.”
This legislation does not apply to multi-stall or multi-occupant bathrooms.
To find a gender neutral bathroom near you, visit: https://lgbtphilly.wordpress.com/gotta-go-guide/.