Social inclusion, toilet rights, and legal protection for transgender Americans


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Social inclusion, toilet rights, and legal protection for transgender Americans

Public toilets have long been at the forefront of human rights advocacy in the United States. During the past year, the transgender community and parents of young children who identify with a gender other than their birth sex have successfully advocated for laws requiring gender-neutral toilet rooms to ensure greater privacy. This expansion of the human right to use a toilet has been met with counter measures in a number of states and local jurisdictions. Currently on the books or in the courts are a number of discriminatory “bathroom bills” that require people to use the men’s or women’s according to the sex stated on their birth certificates. In turn, the Obama administration, supported by civil rights organizations, has taken measures to block these discriminatory measures and uphold the equal rights guaranteed by federal legislation.

Several weeks ago Elisabeth von Muench requested a post elucidating the current controversy regarding the rights of transgender Americans to legally and safely use a public toilet. My colleagues and I appreciate this request because human rights are central to our mission at PHLUSH. This rapidly-developing American story, however, is difficult to follow, especially for many living outside the United States. There is no quick and easy overview of the issue. It's necessary to look at the historical background.

To introduce the current situation, we’ve created a simple timeline covering 120 years of legal measures and political advocacy related to toilet access. These include actions by federal, state, and local governments and by citizen groups. As the wheels of justice turn, we'll update the timeline with new laws and court decisions. We welcome questions and comments from Forum users as we further investigate these important issues.

The timeline of slowly evolving toilet rights in the USA is here: Please note that the information at this link is regularly updated.
The last change was made on December 11, 2016.

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

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