#SafeBathroomsDC campaign using social media to increase the District's gender-neutral public bathrooms

The District of Columbia's Office of Human Rights (OHR) has launched its new Safe Bathrooms DC campaign, aimed at rapidly increasing the number of single-occupancy gender-neutral public bathrooms throughout the city. Washington DC is one of few cities with a law requiring that all single-occupancy restrooms at restaurants, businesses, and other public places are gender-neutral. The new campaign encourages people to report bathrooms that are not in compliance with the law by tweeting with the business name and location with the hashtag #safebathroomsdc, or by filling out a short form on the OHR's website.

Public bathrooms are often sites of violence, harassment and humiliation for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Recently, Andraya Williams, a trans woman of color and college student, was interrogated by a campus security guard after using the women's restroom. The risks of public bathroom use are worsened by anti-LGBT activists' sensational claims that attempt to distort that reality of discrimination targeting trans and gender non-conforming people.

An advertisement series released with the new OHR campaign shares the tagline: "Public bathrooms are challenging enough. Help make them a bit easier for our transgender community." While addressing the issues faced by transgender and gender non-conforming people, the campaign may also benefit people with personal attendants of a different gender and parents with children of a different gender.

"The District of Columbia is fortunate to have a progressive non-discrimination law that requires all single-occupancy public bathrooms to be gender-neutral, but many restaurants and businesses are unaware of it,” said Mónica Palacio, Director of the DC Office of Human Rights. “With the launch of the Safe Bathrooms DC campaign, people can now report non-compliant bathrooms to our office in just 30 seconds via Twitter or our website, and we’ll get them changed. With the community’s help, we can rapidly increase the number of single-occupancy gender-neutral bathrooms in DC, so transgender and gender non-conforming people, as well as others who prefer gender-neutral bathrooms, have more options when enjoying our great city.”

Find out more about the Safe Bathrooms DC campaign at http://ohr.dc.gov/bathrooms

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