New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order today that will require city agencies like offices, pools, and recreation centers to ensure individuals have access to single-sex facilities (like restrooms and locker rooms) aligned with their gender identity. In addition, individuals are not required to show identification or any other proof of gender. De Blasio’s executive order went into effect immediately, and and he called NYC “the birthplace of the nation’s LGBT movement,” while emphasizing that this “work doesn’t have an end point.”
Access to bathrooms and other single-sex facilities is a fundamental human right that should not be restricted or denied to any individual. Every New Yorker should feel safe in our city — and this starts with our city’s buildings.
The executive order is particularly significant as we recently saw anti-transgender bills in Tennessee, Washington and South Dakota gain a disturbing amount of support. Though most of these legal efforts got outvoted or vetoed, the protections brought out reactions of violent transphobia, like the Facebook group “Keep Locker Rooms Safe,” which mobilized to encourage men to “occupy the female locker rooms.” Voices in government and the justice system enacting structural violence and discrimination towards the transgender community implicitly encourages groups like these, which makes legal action against gender discrimination all the more important. Hopefully, other cities will follow suit.
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