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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 14, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 33
All-gender restrooms are on the way
Mayor to sign bill August 14
Section One
ALL STORIES
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All-gender restrooms are on the way
Mayor to sign bill August 14

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced he would sign a new all-gender restroom ordinance on August 14. The legislation was passed unanimously by the City Council on August 10.

The new ordinance applies both to City-owned buildings and parks, and to privately-owned businesses that provide 'public accommodation' - hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores, for example.

The measure requires existing and future single-stall restrooms to be designated as all-gender facilities. The facilities must have signage making it clear that they are not gender exclusive and allow use by any person regardless of sex or gender identity, rather than just 'men' or 'women.'

The new rules will be enforced by the Seattle Office of Civil Rights.

'The action taken today by the City Council will make Seattle a more welcoming place for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation,' Murray said in a statement.

'No one should live in fear when they use basic accommodations most of us take for granted. That's why we sent this legislation to the Seattle City Council. I applaud the Council for taking this important step to provide respect and safety for members of the transgender community.'

The all-gender restroom legislation was one of the measures recommended by the Mayor's LGBT Hate Crimes Task Force.

'Enacting this civil rights legislation that requires all single-stall restrooms as all-gender restrooms should not be understated,' said City Council member Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee.

'This is an inclusive and progressive measure that ensures all individuals have equal access to take care of their health needs. Let's be defined by our compassion and inclusiveness.'

Soon-to-be-retired City Council member Jean Godden was also a strong supporter of the legislation.

'Everyone, regardless of gender, deserves the ability to meet their most basic needs. All-gender single occupancy bathrooms are practical and help ensure everyone has equal access to a quality life,' Godden said.

'This small step represents acceptance and freedom for many. I'm proud Seattleites are as dedicated as I am to pursuing equality and eliminating inequity wherever it exists.'

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