The D.C. government on March 16 opened its first two “all gender” bathrooms in the Reeves Center municipal building as part of a pilot program to assess the usefulness of such bathrooms in city government buildings.
According to Sheila Alexander-Reid, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, her office along with the D.C. Department of General Services, and the D.C. Office of Human Rights plan to arrange for additional all gender bathrooms in other city buildings. The Department of General Services manages and maintains D.C. government buildings.
“This is a step toward making sure that all transgender and gender nonconforming people have access to a restroom of their choice,” Alexander-Reid said.
She said the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, which is located in the Reeves Center at 14th and U Street, N.W., informed her office that some transgender and gender nonconforming people who visit the D.C. Center were uncomfortable using the existing bathrooms at the Reeves Center.
“It is our hope that every D.C. government building with six or more public restrooms will go ahead and designate at least one restroom an all-gender restroom,” said D.C. Center Executive Director David Mariner in a statement on the Center’s website.
The D.C. Center’s first floor suite of offices doesn’t have its own restroom and its employees and visitors must use the public restrooms in the Reeves Center building.
Monica Palacio, director of the Office of Human Rights, has said that under the D.C. Human Rights Act, transgender people are free to use the public restroom of their choice. But Alexander-Reid said many gender nonconforming people still feel uncomfortable using a “men’s” or “women’s” restroom and prefer an all gender facility or a gender neutral, single occupancy restroom.