Post submitted by David Contreras Turley, HRC Senior Regional Field Organizer, and Hyacinth Alvaran, Diversity Program Manager
Yesterday, the Office of Human Rights for the District of Columbia launched its Safe Bathrooms DC campaign that aims to rapidly increase the number of single-occupancy gender-neutral public bathrooms in DC currently required by law. In DC, single-occupancy bathrooms at restaurants, businesses or other public places must be gender-neutral – not labeled “male” or “female.” The issue is important, given the harassment and violence many transgender and gender non-conforming people often face when trying to access gender-specific public bathrooms today.
HRC staff Lisbeth Melendez Rivera (Director of Latino & Catholic Initiatives) and Hyacinth Alvaran (Diversity Program Manager) and steering committee leaders Amanda Hackett (Political & Community Outreach Co-Chair) and CD Hastings (Transgender Outreach Lead for Political & Community Outreach) attended last night’s campaign launch at Casa Ruby, which was a well-attended community meeting organized by the Office of Human Rights to engage the public.
HRC is excited to participate in the city’s public education campaign that will help businesses business comply with the 2006 law.
During this campaign, HRC members and supporters can inform the Office of Human Rights of single-occupancy bathrooms that are not gender-neutral by tweeting the business name, location, and photo of the bathroom using the hashtag #safebathroomsDC The office will then follow up and work with the business owner to make sure their bathrooms are in compliance. People can also notify the City by visiting ohr.dc.gov/bathrooms to complete an easy online form.
With the campaign launch, the Office of Human Rights also released a series of advertisements that feature familiar challenges with public bathrooms, and that use the tagline: “Public bathrooms are challenging enough. Help make them a bit easier for our transgender community.” The ads and additional information can be found at ohr.dc.gov/bathrooms.