New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order requiring all city agencies to ensure that everyone in NYC has access to bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity or expression. The executive order stipulates that no one will be required to show identification, medical documents, or any other documentation to verify their gender in order to use the facilities.
City agencies have three months to post this new policy, and will be required to provide training for city agency managers and front line staff who interface with the public.
As a transgender athlete who was denied access to a locker room in a public facility, I appreciate Mayor de Blasio’s effort to protect LGBTQ people in New York City. This policy will protect not only LGBTQ New Yorkers, but also all of the guests we have in our city. This makes NYC one of the most inclusive places for transgender athletes.
The key piece of this is the educational component. By requiring training for both supervisors and front line workers, we will ensure this will not be another posted policy that people ignore or forget. This will change the culture of our city services, including NYC Parks and Recreation facilities, which operates more than 800 athletic fields and nearly 1,000 playgrounds, 550 tennis courts, 66 public pools, 48 recreational facilities, 17 nature centers, 13 golf courses, and 14 miles of beaches in the five boroughs.
In the past six months, I have presented on LGBTQ Inclusion in NYC Recreation Spaces twice, to over 100 front line workers and managers. I applaud NYC Parks and Recreation for their proactive approach to incorporating this training in their inclusion summits and ongoing education, and look forward to seeing other city agencies get trained as well. Using the bathroom is a basic human need, and all people should be allowed to do so without jumping through hoops.
New York City’s public schools already has a policy that students must be allowed to use locker rooms or restrooms consistent with their gender identity.