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Published On: Mon, Apr 13th, 2015

White House adds first transgender bathroom

The Obama administration announced that it had opened a gender-neutral bathroom for staff and visitors within the White House complex, located specifically located in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where much of the White House staff works.

The restroom is the latest in a series of symbolic steps the to protect the rights of LGBT individuals, following an executive order that bans discrimination against LGBT employees of companies that contract with the federal government.

“The White House allows staff and guests to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity, which is in keeping with the administration’s existing legal guidance on this issue and consistent with what is required by the executive order that took effect today for federal contractors,” said White House spokesman Jeff Tiller. “In addition, an all-gender restroom is also available in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which provides guests and staff an additional option.”

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett lauded the president’s LGBT executive order in an op-ed for The Advocate.

photo Marcus Werthmann

photo Marcus Werthmann

“The president is determined to lead by example,” Ms. Jarrett wrote. “He has hired more openly LGBT Americans to serve in his administration than any other in history. And we have closely examined our internal policies on everything from benefits, to restroom access, to how we invite people to events, to ensure that everyone who enters this building feels safe and fully respected.”

Politco noted that in Florida, the “Single Sex Public Facilities” bill in the state House would prohibit “knowingly & willfully entering single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of other biological sex.”

The Kentucky Senate passed a similar bill that would apply to bathrooms in public schools, while Texas legislators have introduced a bill that would make transgender people liable for a lawsuit and compensation for “mental anguish” if they enter a restricted bathroom.

Transgender advocates have attacked the laws as discriminatory, and praised the White House for setting what they consider an important standard of openness.

“It is heartening to see that, even if legislators in some states are attacking the dignity and humanity of transgender and gender non-conforming people, at least the White House is still moving in the direction of dignity and common sense,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/white-house-gender-neutral-bathroom-116779.html#ixzz3XCJNhSrV

 

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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