This letter was submitted to the Seattle City Council on August 10. The bill passed unanimously.
On behalf of the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), we are writing to express our strong support for CB 118455. This important legislation will help ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming people have safe and equal access to restroom facilities in City buildings and other places of public accommodation in Seattle.
CB 118455 will advance this goal in a cost-effective manner by:
- Providing that single-occupant restrooms in City buildings and places of public accommodation may not be restricted to a specific sex or gender identity, and must use appropriate signage to indicate that such facilities are designated for use by any person.
- Explicitly specifying that when places of public accommodation have gender-specific restrooms or other gender-specific facilities, individuals have the right to use the facilities that are consistent with their gender identity or expression
- Updating and clarifying the definition of the term “gender identity” in the Seattle Municipal Code.
As the nation’s largest LGBT and allied chamber of commerce, GSBA strongly supports this effort to protect the civil rights of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. These protections are also good for Seattle businesses. They will help ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming people – a large and growing community in the Seattle area – will be able to patronize Seattle businesses without fear that they will be denied access to appropriate restroom facilities. As a result, we would expect this ordinance will promote increased patronage of Seattle businesses by transgender and gender nonconforming customers.
Thank you for your consideration of our views and for the Council’s leadership on this important issue.
Jay Petterson, Public Policy Chair, GSBA Board of Directors
David Ward, Chair, Public Policy Task Force