Places of Public Accommodation and Public Buildings – Single-Occupancy Public Restrooms – Availability (The Accessible to All Act)

Bill Title: Places of Public Accommodation and Public Buildings – Single-Occupancy Public Restrooms – Availability (The Accessible to All Act)

Bill Number(s): SB0401

Bill Sponsor(s): Senator Cheryl C. Kagan (D-17, Montgomery County)

Position: Support

Legislative History: Referral to Judicial Proceedings Committee

What will this bill do? 

The bill requires that a single-occupancy public restroom be marked with gender-inclusive signage. The signage will contain descriptive language such as “restroom” or “bathroom”
and will have inclusive pictorial representation.

Why is this important? 

All people deserve privacy and peace of mind when using a public bathroom. Gender neutral bathrooms provide a safe and welcoming space for individuals with disabilities and caregivers, nursing mothers, members of the LGBTQ community, and parents of young children. Bathrooms that are accessible to all allow caregivers easy access to those they support, including senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, protect our gender neutral and trans citizens from harassment, and allow parents the freedom to nurse and care for the toileting needs of their small children.

Maryland expanded protections for transgender individuals under the 2014 Fairness for All Marylanders Act, including the use of locker rooms and other public accommodations. While the intent was to prohibit gender-based discrimination in public accommodations, it did not require changes to restroom signage. This bill will bring restroom signage into line with the intent of FAMA. In keeping with the intent of the 2014 Act, the Signage bill seeks to reduce the stigma and violence experienced by the transgender community in the public accommodations.