(Sacramento, CA)—California Governor Jerry Brown today signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1732, authored by Asm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California National Organization of Women (NOW). AB 1732 establishes the nation’s most progressive restroom access law, requiring that single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and places of public accommodation be universally accessible to all genders.
“California is charting a new course for equality,” said Ting. “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. Bathroom access is a biological need. This law will ensure more safety, fairness, and convenience access for everyone.”
“For my whole life, public restrooms have been places of fear, anxiety, and danger for me – just because I don’t fit people’s expectations of what a woman should look like,” said Sara Rosenfeld, a 44-year-old woman from Berkeley who spoke earlier this month at a press conference in support of the law. “As a queer, black, more masculine-looking woman, I am constantly questioned and harassed when I use the bathroom. AB 1732 is a simple but important law that would help cut down on the fear and harassment I face every day.”
AB 1732 stands in stark contrast to a wave of more than 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation introduced in legislatures across the country since last year. This week, a group of 60 investors representing some $2.1 trillion in managed assets called on North Carolina to repeal its discriminatory HB 2, which, among other things, limits the access of transgender people to public restrooms. Earlier this month, the NCAA pulled seven previously scheduled championship games from the state, joining the NBA, performers including Bruce Springsteen, and scores of business leaders in cancelling events in the state.
“This law is a simple measure that will make everyone’s lives easier,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center. “Having restrooms open to all genders will mean less hassle for everyone going about their day, and will allow people who don’t fit neatly into expectations of what it looks like to be male or female to use the restroom without fear of harassment.”
“North Carolina finds itself increasingly isolated, with its economy losing up to billions of dollars in cancelled conferences, sports events and concerts,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “Meanwhile, California has, with a minimum of controversy, moved in a different direction. We now have a policy that gives everyone greater privacy and safety in public restrooms. It, and not hateful laws in North Carolina, Mississippi and elsewhere, should be the model for the nation.”
“California NOW is very excited that Governor Brown has signed AB 1732 into law,” said Jerilyn Stapleton, president of California NOW. “This will provide much needed access to facilities in public buildings.”
California’s AB 1732 takes effect March 1, 2017.
Transgender Law Center is the largest national organization dedicated to advancing justice for transgender and gender nonconforming people through litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. Transgender Law Center envisions a future where all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. www.TransgenderLawCenter.org.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org