Montgomery Co. Council approves bill for all-gender, single-user restrooms

Montgomery County legislators have unanimously approved a measure establishing gender-inclusive, single-user restrooms in public and facilities run by the Maryland county.

Bill 4-22 requires for at least one single-user restroom, available regardless of a person’s gender identity, to be provided in places of public accommodation and county-owned buildings. The legislation also mandates signage be visible designating the restroom as gender-inclusive.

“This bill is supported by many advocacy groups including those representing the disability community and the LGBTQ+ community,” said Councilmember Sidney Katz, a lead sponsor of the bill along with the council’s vice president, Evan Glass.

“It is well reasoned, will not be burdensome to implement and will help everyone feel more comfortable,” Katz added in a news release following the bill’s approval on Tuesday.

Supporters of the bill said it also would benefit people with disabilities, and caregivers assisting others of a different gender.

“As a person with disabilities that sometimes needs assistance in the bathroom, gendered single occupancy stalls are stressful for both my spouse and I because we are perceived as differently gendered than one another,” activist Ezra Towne said during a public hearing on the measure.

The bill exempts some locations, including restrooms that are only accessible from a private room or office. It does not require businesses or county buildings without an existing single-user restroom to make a gender-inclusive restroom available.

Maryland’s Baltimore City and Howard County are among the local jurisdictions that have enacted similar legislation.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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