Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles City Council moved Wednesday to identify and rescind city ordinances regulating public bathrooms, with the goal of preventing discrimination against transgender people.

The council approved a motion asking the City Attorney to align city ordinances with existing state laws that protect the rights of transgender people. Council members said a city law now on the books that makes it unlawful for someone over the age of 8 to use or enter a bathroom designated for a different sex.

“Our federal and state leaders have acted to create a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for our transgender community,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “With this motion, we will continue on Los Angeles’ progressive path of protecting those who are historically among the most marginalized in society.”

O’Farrell co-authored the motion with council colleagues Mike Bonin and Nury Martinez. It was seconded by Councilman Paul Koretz and Council President Herb Wesson.

The motion states that “laws that are unclear can compromise robust enforcement by our prosecutors when violations occur,” and that without “clarity, we risk the detrimental effect of sending mixed messages to the transgender and non-gender-conforming community.”

The motion comes as a bill is pending in the state legislature that would require that single-person bathrooms in a business, public place or government facility be designated for all genders.

At least 21 single-occupancy bathrooms at City Hall and other buildings around the Civic Center that had been labeled male or female were recently converted to “gender-neutral” bathrooms, at the direction of the mayor’s office.

–City News Service

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