Squilla to Introduce Mandatory Gender Neutral Restroom Bill

Via Shutterstock

Via Shutterstock

According to the Philadelphia’s Director of LGBT Affairs Nellie Fitzpatrick, Councilman Mark Squilla will be introducing an Administration bill for Mayor Nutter tomorrow that will require all single-occupancy public bathrooms to be marked with gender neutral signage.

“I am pleased to introduce legislation that will reinforce Philadelphia’s earned reputation for being the most LGBTQ-friendly city in the nation,” Councilman Squilla said. “All people, regardless of gender identification, deserve to be able to meet their basic needs with dignity and safety. As Philadelphia prepares for the World Meeting of Families and the 2016 Democratic National Convention, both of which will be watched by the world, we should send a message declaring that all people, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, are welcome.”

The bill will read:

“Amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled ‘Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions,’ by amending Chapter 9-600, entitled ‘Service and Other Businesses,’ to add a new Section 9-636, to require that certain establishments and City-owned buildings open to the public, with single-occupancy bathroom facilities, use gender-neutral signage for such facilities, under certain terms and conditions.”

“Any entity that owns or leases a structure open to the general public, including but not limited to Retail Establishments and City-owned buildings, that currently has or at any time establishes one or more single-occupancy bathroom facilities for public use, shall provide Gender-neutral Signage for such facilities. An entity that has bathroom facilities with gender usage indicated by art work or design may, if such designs predate the effective date of this ordinance, retain such designs, provided that they use signage that clearly indicates that the bathroom may be used by any person or persons, regardless of gender identity.”

The Squilla bill is a much more aggressive version of a 2013 bill introduced by Jim Kenney that required all newly built or renovated City owned buildings provide a gender neutral bathroom.

“The problem is that there are simply not that many City owned spaces that are newly built or newly renovated so the impact is actually fairly low, leaving a great need for those who need access,” said Fitzpatrick. “This bill is a culmination of work by the Office of LGBT Affairs to ensure that all Philadelphians have safe access to restrooms throughout the entire City. Historically, this is just a another step in the very right direction.”

Fitzpatrick will be also be “handling incoming complaints and reporting them to 311 after trying to facilitate compliance by the offending business,” she said.

Additionally, Philadelphians are encourage to use hashtag #freetoPHL on social media to raise awareness over the new bill.