Supe seeks gender-neutral SRO restrooms

Building on legislation approved last year that required many businesses in San Francisco to make single-stall restrooms gender-neutral, Supervisor Hillary Ronen Tuesday moved to expand that requirement to hotels and SROs.

Single Room Occupancy hotels provide mostly low-income housing to around 5 percent of the city’s population, or around 30,000 people, and often provide shared toilet and bathing facilities.

Ronen said transgender residents of SROs asked her to amend the law because going to the restroom can be a stressful and even dangerous experience for them.

Jordan Davis, an SRO resident and member of the San Francisco SRO Task Force, said in a statement:

“As a transgender woman, I was so excited when the all gender restroom bill passed in San Francisco, but was disappointed to realize it did not apply to where I live, where I routinely experience harassment. … A lot of transgender people live in SRO hotels — this will make a big difference in my life and in the lives of many others.”

The Board of Supervisors voted last year to approve legislation by Supervisor David Campos requiring all public single-occupant restrooms to be designated as gender-neutral. Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, then introduced and passed similar legislation at the state level.

All-gender restrooms are helpful for people with disabilities who are accompanied by attendants, parents with children, and women who have to wait in long restroom lines, as well as transgender and gender nonconforming people, Ronen said:

“People of all genders deserve to feel safe using the restrooms where they live.”