Until recently, using the public bathrooms only catered to two genders, ignoring the transgender community. Now some cities are making a big change, as Philadelphia joins the company of a number of cities that require protection for the transgender community.
On Sept. 10, a bill that amends Title IX of the Philadelphia Code was introduced. It requires some city-owned buildings and establishments open to the public with single-occupancy toilets to use gender-neutral signs. According to the City of Philadelphia website, the implementation of the law was on Oct. 8. The site also added that businesses have 90 days to adhere to the law and violators will have to pay a fine.
Philadelphia stands as the only city in Pennsylvania that requires the change by law as of this writing, it joins other cities in the country like Austin and Seattle.
State College is currently not examining any arrangements that require gender-neutral toilets, according to an email by Denise Trostle, administration clerk to Mayor Elizabeth Goreham.
However, Penn State is considering the changes, as the university is currently determining the cost to construct gender-neutral bathrooms in all buildings at University Park, according to an email by Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers.
University Park currently has approximately 300 unisex single-stall toilets, according to the data provided by Powers.
“We have just chosen a consultant to perform a study at University Park and we plan to use the data gathered as a model for the different campuses, “ Powers said. “The study is to assist us in determining general needs restrooms in our major general and academic buildings – either by converting existing restrooms or by adding additional restrooms that provide for ADA accessibility, gender neutral, assisted or family use, or otherwise private restroom uses.”
However, the president of Penn State’s Out and Allies in Business, Tyler Drago, states that he feels cities like Philadelphia must provide establishments more time to implement changes.
Despite the call for more time, Drago (senior-finance and economics) stated that he supports the construction and addition of gender-neutral toilets and feels that it is important for social change and progress.
Drago addressed the difference between unisex and gender-neutral toilets and stated that including the wording, “gender-neutral”, makes a difference in assisting the transgender community determine safe places in the city.
“It’s a matter of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” Drago stated. “Think if you were a transgender woman or man wanting to use the bathroom.”