March 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. launches ‘all gender’ bathroom pilot program
all gender restroom, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

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.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • >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.

    This is true and no one was having a problem a few years ago.

    >But Alexander-Reid said many gender nonconforming people still feel uncomfortable using a “men’s” or “women’s” restroom

    Well get a grip on your transition and presentation and learn that life is not always perfect. No one is going to mess with you in a bathroom in DC!

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