This is an important petition that benefits multiple groups of people. It needs 100,000 signatures by April 20 and currently, as queuing this post, has only 3,587. Please sign and share widely.
1. restroom access is a basic human right;
2. people with disabilities may have caretakers of a different gender, or may have to travel further to a correctly gendered restroom;
3. parents may have children of a different gender;
4. transgender and gender non-conforming people frequently face outing, harassment, violence, policing and anxiety when forced to pick a gendered restroom, and may suffer health complications due to avoiding gendered restrooms;
5. “family” restrooms are not always available;
6. databases and apps such as “Safe to Pee” are inadequate; and that
7. similar policies have already been adopted by institutions such as UC Davis;
We hereby petition the White House to federally decree all existing and future single-stall restrooms be designated unisex.
The title is a link to the petition.
Ok, I’ve seen this going across my dash several times this week, and let me explain you a thing about US bathroom laws and why this petition will never work so stop spreading it because you’re not going to change anything this way.
The petition asks that: “all single stall restrooms (present and future) be made unisex.”
I’m going to take a moment of your time to explain why this petition won’t work, no matter how many signatures it gets.
- The federal government cannot regulate the sex-availability of bathrooms except in federally-managed buildings (like national park visitors’ centers, army recruitment centers, some school district offices, and most government buildints.) Such a law would be under the jurisdiction of the states.
- But there are no laws on the books of either state legislatures or federal legislatures requiring that buildings (whether public or private) even have restrooms available. Wait, what?Have you ever passed by a restaurant/drug store/whatever and you see that it says “restrooms for customers only” or “sorry, restrooms for employees only”? Yeah. Both of those are perfectly legal.
- Federal law doesn’t even require that private businesses have restrooms available to customers, and not all states even require that businesses provide employees with properly plumbed restrooms, though they must provide both sexes with some form of toilet, usually but not always required to be separate (that’s why you see construction workers using portable toilets all the time.)
- What about people with disabilities? Some state laws (but not all, and the reach of said laws differ by state) require that a business that HAS a restroom must allow individuals with bowel diseases (ei Crohn’s disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome) to use them even if the restrooms are designated as “employees only.” This has nothing to do with gender and is almost always enforced under some sort of health code rather than ADA-type-thing.
- So yeah, while governments can regulate the size of your front door, you’re not even required to have a restroom at all.
- So whenever you go the subway station/restaurant/etc you might see that the women’s or men’s restrooms (or both) are both closed due to an overflowing toilet/whatever. These places aren’t required to let you use a restroom, let alone one of your choice. Yeah. Restaurants like McDonalds may always have a mens’ and women’s room available, but that’s because their chain requires it, not because of any law.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (abrreviated “ADA”) requires that there be accessable restrooms in public buildings like libraries, meaning that the door be large enough/mirrors be lowered/etc. so that people who use wheelchairs can use them. This is also responsible for (nearly) all doors in the US having to be the same size. However, this is an issue of safety rather than of gender security.
TL;DR: Except for some federally or state-owned buildings, most places aren’t even required to have restrooms available to the public, and it would be perfectly legal for many places to only have a restroom for men or only have one for women. Most places like restaurants only have both restrooms/baby changing tables/etc. out of convenience. Even in the cases that certain buildings are required to allow certain members of the public access to a toilet, that is under the jurisdiction of the states, and not of the federal government. The law which you are petitioning is already legal in the District of Columbia (because it CAN be put into law, that’s not what I’m trying to disprove,) but you cannot force such laws through the federal government.