Activists react to Illinois bill allowing gender-neutral multi-sale bathrooms – NBC Chicago
A bill passed at the Illinois House that would allow businesses, universities and other building owners to have neutral multi-stall restrooms has sparked debate.
The bill that would allow restrooms with two or more toilets to be gender neutral narrowly passed the state House floor on Thursday.
It allows any entity, both public and private, to be able to implement it.
“We are so thrilled that the inclusive restroom bill passed yesterday,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.
Johnson said the bill brings us closer to equality for all people.
“It’s more assertive for everyone, that no matter who you are, you should be able to access public spaces that make you feel assertive and safe,” Johnson said.
However, not everyone feels this.
“I’m all for inclusiveness and diversity, but not at the expense of decency and not at the expense of the safety of older women or women and even young children in their development,” said Steve Boulton, President of the Chicago GOP party.
Boulton said the bill is a danger to women who may be at risk for sex crimes.
“I think there’s a reason why since the dawn of mankind, men and women have been separated in certain functions, and the reason for that should be obvious given the sexual nature of men that they’re more predatory,” Boulton said.
Johnson disagrees with Boulton and thinks this bill will be an advantage, citing reasons.
“[It will help] parents of opposite-sex children, seniors who have opposite-sex caregivers, LGBTQ+ people, and businesses that want to reduce regulations and red tape,” he said.
Johnson added that this bill is not mandatory, but optional.
“I just want to make sure they give business owners another tool to better serve their customers,” Johnson said.
“The Legislature can get away with it, we don’t impose anything, but they allow it,” Boulton said. “I think we’re drawing the line at the decency and dignity of women.”
The bill still needs to pass the Senate and get the governor’s signature before it becomes law.