NEW YORK — The Democratic mayor of New York City has signed an executive order that allows those of the opposite sex to use city-owned restroom facilities and locker rooms in accordance with their “gender identity.”
The order applies to parks, pool areas, playgrounds, recreation centers, office buildings and other city-owned facilities, and allows persons to use the desired restrooms without having to first show identification or any medical documentation.
“Today’s order makes it clear that New York City fully supports the right of every New Yorker to use the single-sex facility consistent with their gender identity,” Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “New York City is the birthplace of the fight for LGBT rights, and we continue to lead in that fight so every New Yorker can live with dignity.”
The order applies to both transgender and “gender non-conforming” persons, the latter of whom are defined as those “who do not follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth.”
There are an estimated 25,000 residents who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming in New York City.
“Every day, no matter where they go, transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers are burdened with worry, that when they need the certainty of privacy for personal needs, it won’t be there for them,” said de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray. “Today, we take a step towards equity for those New Yorkers.”
The order comes just months after the New York City Commission on Human Rights announced new guidelines under the city’s Human Rights Law that may impose fines on employers who use masculine pronouns for male workers who wish to identify as women and vice versa.
As previously reported, the Commission released its interpretive guide in December, which includes a prohibition on “[i]ntentionally failing to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title,” such as “repeatedly calling a transgender woman ‘him’ or ‘Mr.’ when she has made it clear that she prefers female pronouns and a female title.”
The guidelines further state that employers “should not limit the options for identification to male and female only,” as “[s]ome transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir.”
Employers are also banned from having dress codes that would require men to dress as men and women to dress as women or to require workers to use the restroom that correlates with their birth gender. Businesses are likewise required to offer health benefits for employees seeking to obtain sex change treatments.
Violations could result in penalties up to $125,000 and up to $250,000 for transgressions of the law that are considered to be “willful, wanton or malicious conduct.”
World War T marches on…