Two top Democratic lawmakers are getting behind a staff-led effort to add more gender-neutral bathrooms throughout Capitol Hill.
The move, supported by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), and first reported by The Hill, seeks to create a more inclusive and comfortable environment for individuals throughout the halls of Congress and beyond, including transgender and other traditionally underrepresented communities.
“All employees, interns, and visitors should have access to safe and comfortable restrooms. For members of the transgender, gender nonconforming and disability communities, that often means the availability of single stall or single- occupancy restrooms,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who chairs the House administration committee.
“As lawmakers, we can more effectively represent our constituents when our staff and interns reflect the diversity of the American people,” the pair wrote on Wednesday afternoon.
Clark, the assistant Speaker, and Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, are asking for enhanced modifications to better serve employees and their diverse constituencies and offer a safe place for people to gather, work and tour Washington landmarks without restrictions.
The push comes during LGBTQ Pride Month.
“Absent improvements,” they write, “we in Congress are limiting our ability to hire and retain individuals who belong to these communities.”
“Concern over the lack of appropriate facilities is shared by our staff and visitors who have relayed to us their stories and experiences, including Members of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association.”
The members outline an example where they say a change can be easily completed.
They note that there is just one “single use” restroom in the Longworth building on the House side of Capitol Hill, which is in the basement. For staffers and other people who are working and gathering in the nearby Cannon and Rayburn buildings, there’s no convenient option available.
“Implementing single-use restrooms will make a visible difference in the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, as well as other marginalized communities, including people with disabilities, older adults, and parents of small children,” they write.
“As such, we ask for further examination of this issue and for your facilitation in installing additional restroom facilities to better accommodate those who work or seek to work in the House of Representatives.”
Original story HERE.