Councilman and mayor push for access to gender-neutral bathrooms

 A sign marks the entrance to a gender-neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, file)

A sign marks the entrance to a gender-neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, file)

Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a bill on Thursday that would provide access to gender-neutral bathrooms across the city. The bill would require private businesses to make single-stall bathrooms accessible to everyone regardless of gender identification. It would not apply to multi-stall facilities.

“This doesn’t mandate a creation of separate bathrooms,” Squilla said. “This doesn’t make somebody have to put additional bathrooms in their establishments. All this does is say that if you have these single-use bathrooms, they can be used by either gender.”

Former Councilman Jim Kenney sponsored a bill two years ago requiring single-stall bathrooms in city facilities to be gender-neutral. Kenney is now the Democratic nominee for mayor in the November election.

The bill was introduced for Mayor Michael Nutter.

“This bill, which expands and strengthens gender-identity protections, is an important step in support of our LGBT community and reinforces Philadelphia’s role as a leader on LGBT issues across the country,” Nutter said in a statement. “I am proud that Philadelphia is one of the largest cities in the nation to introduce this kind of legislation and I want to thank Councilman Squilla for introducing this bill on our administration’s behalf.”

If Council approves the bill, it will take effect 90 days after being signed by the mayor.

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