In support of gender-neutral bathrooms for Montclair (Letter)
We are writing in strong support of the ordinance requiring single-occupancy restrooms in Montclair to be accessible to all genders. Actions such as this are an essential step in making our community a more welcoming, inclusive place for everyone.
Many transgender, non-binary and gender-non-conforming individuals are subjected to harassment and threats of violence when restrooms are labeled “men” and “women.” They are often forced to avoid public restrooms to protect their well-being. This is a damaging, unfair, and unnecessary burden that can be alleviated in a very straightforward way.
When an establishment has one single-occupancy restroom, it is already all-gender. If they have two single-occupancy restrooms, they will both be all-gender. If they have three single-occupancy restrooms, there will be three all-gender restrooms — and fewer lines! This policy will also allow families and caregivers to comfortably use any restroom, no matter their genders. Fortunately, few added costs are necessary beyond changing signs to be all-gender inclusive.
All-gender restroom ordinances like this have already been successfully instituted in several New Jersey towns, including Maplewood, Princeton and Hoboken. It is now Montclair’s time to extend the policies already in place in our schools and municipal buildings. We should continue to normalize all-gender restrooms because they are an important way to respect the dignity and humanity of all of our neighbors and friends. As a community, we should look to replace harmful, discriminatory practices and policies with more inclusive ones whenever we can, and we firmly support the Montclair Town Council in this effort.
Members of our Social Justice Coordinating Team are available to assist establishments in updating their restroom signage to be gender-neutral, and would be happy to join a community-wide effort in this regard.
Social Justice Coordinating Team of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair
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