BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A bill that would require all single-occupancy restrooms in the City of Baltimore to be gender-inclusive is the focus of an Education and Youth Committee hearing with the Baltimore City Council on Thursday.
“This is about creating a more welcoming, inclusive city in our public accommodations, particularly for our trans community, our gender non-binary community—folks who would not feel welcome in a restroom labeled either ‘male’ or ‘female,'” said Councilmember Cohen (District 1), who sponsored the bill.
The Fairness for All Marylanders Act, passed in 2014, already prohibits gender-based discrimination in public accommodations statewide, including single occupancy restrooms regardless of posted signage.
This new bill, Bill 19-0385, would require clear, gender-inclusive signage for all publicly accessible, single occupancy restrooms in Baltimore.
Some examples of the signage include: “All Gender,” “Gender Inclusive,” “Gender Neutral,” or simply, “Restroom.”
The bill would apply to publicly and privately-owned establishments.
“Everyone — whether you’re a woman, whether you pass, or whether you fit into the male/female binary — deserves equal access to public accommodation. As a trans woman in this city, I believe Baltimore can be inclusive for all,” said Alaine Jolicoeur, co-chair of the LGBTQ Commission’s education and advocacy committee.
The committee will hear testimony from the public, who can sign up to speak at the hearing. Baltimore City Schools students and city agencies involved in the bill will also provide their input.
If the bill is voted favorably by the committee Thursday, it will then go back to the Baltimore City Council for consideration at second reader.
The full bill can be found here.