Gender-neutral bathroom

A sign posted outside a bathroom in Washington, D.C. — AP Photo

City Councilwoman Helen Gym has introduced two bills that would advance gender-neutral accommodations in Philadelphia schools and City Hall itself.

“We have had a lot of experiences where young people in schools or after-school programs or residential treatment facilities, if they are gender non-conforming do not feel welcome,” Gym said.

One of Gym’s bills seeks to require “institutes serving youth” to establish rules of conduct to recognize and protect transgender and gender non-confirming youth that match those already adopted by the School District of Philadelphia.

The legislation would cover all charter schools in the city, each of which sets its own policies, including in regard to transgender accommodations. It would require them to update their standards if the district makes substantial alterations to their policy.

“We are not aware of any [such policies] that are in place across charters, although maybe individual charter schools might have them,” Gym said. “We want to see charters in particular having accommodations for trans and gender non-conforming youth.”

David Hardy of the charter advocacy group Excellent Schools PA said City Council shouldn’t dictate policy to charter schools. He also questioned whether Gym had done a survey of charter schools to see if any of them weren’t already meeting school district standards.

“The whole idea that it’s for organizations across the city is a ruse. This is Helen Gym finding another regulation to place on charters,” Hardy said. Gym is a longtime advocate of traditional public schools.

The bill would cover any organization that services youth, from recovery centers to after-school programs.

Gym’s proposed legislation would require educational institutions outside the school district to give their staff training on the school district’s transgender and gender non-confirming policies. Written versions of the policy would have to be placed prominently in a public place.

The other bill is more narrowly targeted.

“We want to make sure there is at least one gender-neutral bathroom on every floor of City Hall,” Gym said. “There’s only one in a remote area of the seventh floor. I dare you to find it.”

Former Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration already secured passage of a law requiring gender-neutral bathrooms in new buildings constructed or renovated by the city.

Gym’s bill would amend that legislation to require that City Hall have a gender-neutral bathroom on every floor. The legislation would also force the Department of Public Property to file an annual report with City Council listing all new gender-neutral bathrooms installed in city buildings over the course of the previous years.

There is only one more City Council session left before the summer recess, which does not leave enough time to pass these bills. They will be taken up during the autumn session.

This article originally appeared on WHYY.org.

(2) comments

voyagernx1

It's very simple: whatever gender you are biologically is the gender you are. Embrace it. Be what you are. Why is City Council pandering to this mental illness?

voyagernx1

A couple of things here. Gym's children don't attend a run down public school that lacks resources. Her adversarial position against charters is political due to her support from the PFT. Next, she is working very hard to make herself a champion of liberal and so-called social justice causes, positioning herself for a run to become a member of congress, the senate or possible governor. Next, the gender neutral nonsense is a pain in the neck. If a person can't accept what they are biologically, they've got mental issues and we shouldn't encourage them, we need to help them accept what they are. It doesn't surprise me she would jump on this bandwagon.

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