Legislative Spotlight: Gender Inclusive Restrooms Legislation Introduced (MoCo Council)
This week Councilmembers Katz and Glass introduced Bill 4-22, which would require, if enacted, single-user public restrooms or restrooms in County-owned buildings to either identify or display signs indicating that it is an all-gender restroom. Bill-4-22 follows similar legislation passed in Howard County in 2021 and Baltimore City in 2019, requiring single-use bathrooms to be gender-inclusive. This legislation also builds on a law passed by the Montgomery County Council in 2007 prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, cable television, and taxicab service based on gender identity, which is defined in the County Code as:
"An individual's actual or perceived gender, including a person's gender-related appearance, expression, image, identity, or behavior, whether or not those gender-related characteristics differ from the characteristics customarily associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."
Bill-4-22 defines single-user public restroom as “a single-occupancy restroom for public use with at least one water closet and an entry door that can be locked from the inside by the occupant." It should be noted that if there is not an existing bathroom that is reserved for a single user, the law does not mandate that a gender-neutral bathroom be created, however, the bill would require that buildings with a single user bathroom not be reserved for a single-gender person. Multi-stall restrooms with locks on each individual stall door are allowed to have one stall reserved for a single-gender person, the other stalls must be open for everyone.
The legislation states that the Department of Health and Human Services, Director of the Department of Permitting Services, or any other agency the Chief Administrative Officer deems essential would be responsible for the enforcement of this law, should it go into effect. Failure to comply with this law would be a Class A Felony. For future reference, the penalties for a Class A, B, or C violation can be found below.
The public hearing for this bill will be on March 8th at 1:30 pm. For more information about this bill, contact Bill 4-22's primary sponsors Councilmember Katz and Council Vice President Glass, or its co-sponsors Councilmembers Jawando and Friedson.