Progress! New Federal Guidelines Address Transgender Bathroom Access
According to new guidance issued by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Monday — the same day Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover was revealed — transgender employees should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. And no employee should be asked to use a transgender-only bathroom facility.
To be clear, the report states, "a person who identifies as a man should be permitted to use men’s restrooms, and a person who identifies as a woman should be permitted to use women's restrooms."
“Gender identity is an intrinsic part of each person's identity and everyday life," it continues. "Accordingly ... it is essential for employees to be able to work in a manner consistent with how they live the rest of their daily lives."
Unfortunately, though, the guidelines are not going to be enforced by law. But employers shouldn't take the release lightly: Not only does it emphasize existing laws that protect the rights of transgender employees, it shows how the agency will handle such matters in the future.
Hopefully, OSHA will eventually issue new, clearer-cut regulations rather than guidelines. No one should ever, ever be afraid to do something as basic as using the restroom.
To learn more about issues affecting the trans community, the ACLU has an informative blog post on their site today.