Pride at Work Celebrates New Bathroom Access Regulation

The Obama Administration continues to make good on its promise to enact sensible policies that will move the LGBTQ community down the path toward equality with the announcement of a new General Services Administration (GSA) regulation that affirms the right of transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity in GSA owned, leased, or manages facilities.

This change comes from recent decisions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Justice, and other agencies that discrimination based on gender identity is sex discrimination and, therefore, illegal.

The EEOC, OSHA, and other agencies have interpreted various laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, to protect transgender people, which led GSA to make the same determination.

A key provision of this new regulation stipulates that transgender folks also cannot be restricted to using a single-user restroom. Separate but equal is anything but, which is why this is such an important specification.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the leadership and support of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Their National officers, led by President J. David Cox, are steadfast supporters of LGBTQ working people and AFGE has backed every effort to extend protections to LGBTQ federal employees, including one of the EEOC cases cited in the GSA’s decision.

While this regulation is an important win for so many transgender Americans working and living in states with no anti-discrimination protections, there is much work to be done. More than half of all LGBTQ people in the US live in a state that doesn’t protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Until we have a federal law, there will still be LGBTQ people left out of these vital protections.

We reiterate our call for Congress to swiftly pass the Equality Act, which will finally establish that LGBTQ discrimination won’t be tolerated anywhere in our great nation.