SF supervisor plans to propose gender-neutral bathroom law

(AP/Photo Mark Stahl)

Single-occupant restrooms in San Francisco businesses and city buildings will be required to be gender-neutral if a new proposed ordinance becomes law.

Supervisor David Campos announced on Monday he would introduce the legislation at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting. The proposed legislation would require all city businesses to change signage making all
single-occupant restrooms for neither men nor women exclusively.

The switch will benefit transgender and gender non-conforming people who might face harassment while trying to use the restroom as well as women who often face longer lines for public restrooms, parents taking their children to the restroom and disabled people with caretakers, according to Campos's office.

If it passes, San Francisco would join the cities of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, West Hollywood, Berkeley and New York in enacting such legislation, according to Campos.

Campos says his law will have better mechanisms for enforcement through the city Human Rights Commission and the Department of Building Inspections.

Campos consulted with the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center in drafting the legislation, which has garnered the support of San Francisco advocacy group Senior and Disability Action.

"This legislation, the most comprehensive of its kind in the country, will help ensure that all San Franciscans can use the bathroom without fear of harassment or discrimination," Transgender Law Center executive director Kris Hayashi said.

Senior and Disability Action director Jessica Lehman said, "People with disabilities and seniors sometimes need assistance from an attendant or family member to use a bathroom. If that person is of a different gender, it is complicated to decide whether to use the men's or women's bathroom, and people can be uncomfortable or unsafe going into a different bathroom."