California becomes first US state to introduce gender-neutral bathroom law

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California has become the first US state to adopt an all-gender bathroom law.

Assembly Bill 1732, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on 29 September, will require all single-occupancy bathrooms in businesses, government buildings, and public accommodation to be open to all genders.

Transgender Law Center, an organisation who aim to change laws, policies, and attitudes to allow trans people to live without discrimination, said the state will have “the nation’s most progressive restroom access law”.

The news follows an announcement from earlier this year that California would also become the first US state to teach LGBT history in schools, after the state’s Board of Education voted unanimously in favour.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, the progressive bathroom bill’s author, said: “California is charting a new course for equality.

“Restricting access to single-user restrooms by gender defies common sense and disproportionately burdens the LGBT community, women, and parents or caretakers of dependents of the opposite gender.

“Bathroom access is a biological need.  This law will ensure more safety, fairness, and convenience access for everyone.”

The law comes in stark contrast to North Carolina’s HB2, a discriminatory law passed in March which bans local anti-discrimination ordinances and stops trans people from using bathrooms which match their gender identity.

North Carolina has faced intense backlash over that law, including a drop in tourism and loss of business due to the law, with money giant PayPal scrapping plans to expand its business in the state costing hundreds of potential jobs.

Several high-profile names have also called out the law, including Hillary ClintonElton JohnBeyoncéNick Jonas, Duran Duran and even the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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