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Trans Folks Can Now Pee Safely in All Federal Buildings

Trans Folks Can Now Pee Safely in All Federal Buildings


The General Services Administation issued a new rule today that will ensure transgender employees and visitors have access to public restrooms in all federal buildings. 


Even as clashes continue at the state level over trans bathroom rights, the federal government is marching forward to protect transgender people.

The General Services Administration today issued a new bulletin that protects the rights of trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity in all federal buildings.

The policy will cover more than 4 million federal employees and any visitors to the nearly 10,000 buildings under the control of the federal agency, including federal courthouses, Social Security offices, and more.

The bulletin cites recent decisions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which clarified that "discrimination based on transgender status is sex discrimination" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also builds on federal policy guidance on transgender employees issued by the Office of Personnel Management in 2015, and guidance from Department of Justice and Department of Education.

The new policy is unambiguously supportive and affirming of the identities of trans people, reading:

"Federal agencies occupying space under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of GSA must allow individuals to use restroom facilities and related areas consistent with their gender identity. ... The self-identification of gender identity by any individual is sufficient to establish which restroom or other single-sex facilities should be used. ... Transgender individuals do not have to be undergoing or have completed any medical procedure, nor can they be required to show proof of surgery to be treated in accordance with their gender identity and obtain access to the restroom corresponding with their gender identity. Further, Federal agencies may not restrict only transgender individuals to only use single-occupancy restrooms."

In an interview with BuzzFeed, General Services Administration spokeswoman Ashley Nash-Hahn said "This [policy] includes all kinds of Americans. We wanted to make clear that a person can use facilities that match their gender identity, and we think that's a good thing."

The new policy comes as trans rights are facing a multifaceted showdown in the federal court system. Twenty states are suing the Obama administration over recently issued guidelines that would allow transgender students at public schools to access bathrooms and locker rooms concordant with their gender identities. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court recently issued a stay of a lower court order that would have allowed a trans high school student in Virginia to use the boys' bathroom when classes begin later this month. And the Department of Justice continues in its suit to overturn the controversial anti-LGBT law in North Carolina known as House Bill 2, which bans transgender residents from using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

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