General Assembly OKs bill that would require single-user toilets in public places to be non-gender specific


STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today approved legislation introduced by Majority Floor Manager John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth) and Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) that would make single-user restrooms in public places non-gender specific.

The bill (2021-H 5741, 2021-S 0755) would amend the state building code to require that any single-user toilet facility in a public building or place of public accommodation be available for use by persons of any gender by Jan. 1, 2022.

“Gender-specific restrooms can cause a great deal of anxiety for members of the transgender community,” said Representative Edwards. “The reason for that anxiety is the verbal — and sometimes physical — harassment that many of them have experienced. This bill would simply strip single-user bathrooms of any gender designation, which will go a long way toward improving the mental health of members of the transgender and non-binary community. This is an important step for the state to take in providing for the inclusion of all its residents.”

This act would also require that all new construction of state and municipal buildings opened to the public after July 1, 2021, would provide for a single-user toilet facility for use by persons of any gender.

“This bill ensures safe and inclusive access to restroom facilities in public places for all people,” said Senator Murray. “It’s not just beneficial for the safety of transgender and non-binary people, it also helps people with a variety of medical conditions. This is a very simple effort that will make things fair and equitable for all people.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.



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