Montgomery Co. bill would require gender-neutral designation on new single-occupancy restrooms

A bill has been introduced in the Montgomery County, Maryland, council that would expand the number of gender-neutral restrooms in places of public accommodation.

“This is very simple and straightforward legislation. Whenever a new single-occupancy bathroom is built, it needs to be gender-neutral,” County Council Vice President Evan Glass, who introduced the bill along with Council member Sidney Katz, said.

The requirement would cover county government buildings, restaurants and other businesses. Exempted would be private restrooms in residences, hospitals, hotels and motels.

“It is well-reasoned and will not be burdensome to implement and will help everyone feel more comfortable,” Katz said.

“This is only applying to new bathrooms and single-occupancy bathrooms,” Glass said.

The bill’s supporters say the measure’s benefits would go beyond nonbinary and transgender members of the community, but also to people with disabilities, who have caregivers of a different gender and to parents with children.

“How often is a father with a little girl waiting for the men’s room or do they go to the women’s room? And vice versa for moms and boys,” Glass said.

Howard County and the City of Baltimore already require new single-use bathrooms in places of public accommodation to be gender-neutral, and similar legislation is pending in the Maryland General Assembly.

The bill has broad support among members of the county council and a public hearing is scheduled for the measure March 8.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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