gender neutral rr 031121SPRINGFIELD – A mother of three is out shopping when the inevitable happens: one of her young boys needs to use the restroom. It’s at that moment when she’s faced with the reality of having to choose between taking her sons into the women’s restroom or taking herself and her daughter into the men’s.

It’s this kind of everyday situation that led State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) to file a measure to allow a multiple-occupancy restroom to become an all-gender restroom.

“This proposal simply calls for the needed privacy safeguards to make these restrooms work for anyone,” Bush said.

In January 2020, it became law that all single occupancy public bathrooms in Illinois become gender neutral.

Senate Bill 457 simply expands on that law. However, the legislation is permissive – gender specific multiple-occupancy restrooms are still allowed. Moreover, multiple-occupancy all-gender restrooms will have to meet additional privacy safeguards. Any restroom designated for all genders must have specified signage and floor to ceiling stall dividers.

“People who have disabilities, older adults, or anyone else who needs the help of someone of another gender can receive the assistance they need without having to search for a single occupancy restroom,” Bush said. “Or, think about the moms accompanying young boys, dads with young girls and parents with multiple kids. It’s easy to be unsure which restroom they should use.”

The measure was filed last month and Bush hopes to present it in committee soon.