Time is running out for this US gender-free bathroom bill

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An American state pushing to take gendered signs off single-occupancy toilets could run out of time to pass the bill this year.

Campaigners in Vermont proposed that all self-contained toilets should be open to people of any gender, but the lead sponsor of the bill is unsure if it will make this year’s guillotine.

Progressive Representative Selene Colburn said she hadn’t faced any opposition to the bill, but with just three weeks left of lawmaking season, she is unsure if it will pass.

The proposed law is still yet to be considered by the state’s full House or Senate, however, is expected to pass a vote on the House Committee on General Housing and Military Affairs.

Other representatives have also backed the bill, with Democrat Bill Lippert claiming taking gender labels off single-occupancy bathrooms can be a practical step, as well being inclusive, highlighting how everyone could experience lower waiting times.

There has been one dissenting voice though, with Republican Vicki Strong stating it is not an area “which should be coming down through law”, as schools and businesses should have their own policies.

Business groups, however, are also said to support the move, with costs to the state estimated at just $2,000 to change bathroom signs in state buildings.

Time is running out for this US gender-free bathroom bill

The move towards genderless bathrooms is a stark contrast to proposals in other parts of the country, such as North Carolina’s hugely controversial bathroom bill, also known as HB2.

The law, which was passed in 2016, bans trans people from using gender-appropriate bathrooms, as well as rolling back on LGBT+ laws.

The state has since lost a string of big investments, and could face losing out on more than 100 champion level sporting events.

Similarly, the Texas senate passed a bill which bans gender neutral bathrooms and forces trans people to use toilets of their ‘biological sex’.

It has yet to be debated in the house, however, the senate is set to debate further proposals to cut back on LGBT rights.

More than 55 athletes have since signed an open letter in opposition to the Texas bathroom bill, saying they were “committed to upholding the very values that sport instils in each of us.”

“Values like fair play, equality, inclusion and respect.”

It continues: “We believe that everyone should be afforded the same access, opportunity, and experience both in sport and under the law.

In total, 13 states were considering laws by late March that limit access to bathrooms in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.