A new law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania requires that all city-owned buildings must have gender-neutral toilets.
The bill, signed into law on Thursday (24 October) which affords equal rights to Philadelphia’s LGBT population, requires that new or renovated city-owned buildings must include gender-neutral bathrooms alongside male and female ones.
Mayor Michael Nutter said: ‘My goal is for Philadelphia to be one of, if not the most, LGBT-friendly cities in the world and a leader on equality issues.’
The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Jim Kenny, has called it ‘the next iteration of civil rights and freedom in the United States.’
He said: ‘It can be an awkward and embarrassing situation [for anyone who may] feel more like a woman, but can’t use the woman’s room.’
In addition to the gender-neutral bathrooms, the legislation signed in on Thursday also offers tax credits to companies which offer the same health care to LGBT employees and their families families as heterosexuals.
For trans employees, the new legislation now means they have access to health benefits which include psychotherapy, hormone treatment, hair removal and gender reassignment surgery.
The legislation also revises Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people, and offers options on city forms and websites for LGBT people to include information on their sexuality or gender identity.
Decision-making rights to life partners on medical and other issues to same-sex couples were also included in the legislation.
Despite the advancements in Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania does not offer statewide protection for LGBT people.
It is the only Northeastern US state which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages or partnerships in law.