The New York City Council passed a bill Tuesday stating that single stall bathrooms must become “gender neutral” and can no longer carry the label “male” or “female.”
The legislation mandates that all single stall bathrooms must be without “gendered” signs and be made “gender neutral” reports The Wall Street Journal. The bill passed in a 47-2 vote. Only two Republicans — Councilmen Steven Matteo and Joe Borelli — voted against the bill.
If Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the bill as expected, all relevant bathroom signs will have to be changed by Jan 2017. If businesses do not comply, they could potentially face a $500 fine.
“Most New Yorkers take their unfettered access to bathrooms for granted, yet every single day transgender and gender non-conforming individuals must grapple with the fact that their choices may lead to harassment or worse,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, a Democrat from Queens. Supporters of the bill echoed Dromm, saying that the bill would stop discrimination.
Opponents of the bill say that it is “anti business” and further demonstrates “political correctness,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Most businesses are on board with single stall bathroom, but resent the city’s intrusion. The bill would force restaurants and businesses to change their single stall bathrooms to adhere to the bill’s new regulations.
“While most employers would be fine on a gender-neutral approach to their bathrooms, having the City Council add this to dozens of other interventions in the last three years has a cumulative negative impact on the perceived business climate in New York,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City to The Wall Street Journal.
A spokeswoman for the mayor, Monica Klein, told The Wall Street Journal that the de Blasio’s administration helped the New York City council create the bathroom bill: “Every New Yorker deserves to feel safe and protected in our city, including having equal access to bathrooms.
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