The Equitable Restrooms Act was passed earlier this year and will go into effect in 2020.
Gov J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law earlier this year that requires all single-stall restrooms to be relabeled as gender-neutral starting Jan 1. This is a huge win for transgender and gender non-conforming people in Illinois.
The new law will only apply to public buildings and businesses that have single-stall restrooms; those in which there is only one toilet, sink, and a lockable door. Multi-stall restrooms will not require new signage. The Equitable Restrooms act won’t just help transgender people feel safer in public spaces; it also benefits families with young children and those who need assistance when using the restroom.
This legislation stands in opposition to other states’ exclusionary “bathroom bills”, such as North Carolina’s 2016 bill which banned transgender people from using public facilities that didn’t match the gender marker on their birth certificate. The topic has become one of contention in the US, one that transgender activists are still fighting against. North Carolina’s bathroom legislation was overturned just earlier this year after a three-year battle by transgender rights activists in the state.
Illinois isn’t the first to pass legislation protecting transgender people from persecution in public bathrooms. Cities like Santa Fe, Seattle, West Hollywood, and Philadelphia have also passed similar ordinances. The law will go into affect Jan 1, 2020 and will be enforceable by public health inspectors.
Feature photo by @counseling4allseasons