Activists Respond to Illinois Bill Allowing Multi-Stall Gender Neutral Bathrooms – NBC Chicago

A bill passed in the Illinois House that would allow businesses, universities and other building owners to have multiple-stall gender neutral restrooms has sparked debate.

The bill that would allow restrooms with two or more toilets to be gender neutral narrowly passed on the state’s House floor Thursday.

It allows for any entity, both public and private, to be able to implement this.

“We are really excited that the inclusive restroom bill passed the House floor yesterday,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO for Equality Illinois.

Johnson said the bill is bringing us closer to equality for all persons.

“This is more affirming of all people, that no matter who you are, you should be able to access public spaces that make you feel affirmed and safe,” said Johnson.

However, not everyone feels that way.

“I am all for inclusivity and diversity but not at the expense and decency and not at the expense of risking the safety of older women or any women and even young children in their development,” said Steve Boulton, chairman of the Chicago GOP party.

Boulton said the bill is a danger to women that might be at risk for sex crimes.

“I think there is a reason that since the dawn of humanity men and women have been segregated in certain functions, and the reason for that should be obvious given the sexual nature of men that they are more predatory,” said Boulton.

Johnson disagrees with Boulton and believes this bill will be a benefit, citing the reasons why.

“[It will help] parents of children of opposite genders, seniors who have caregivers of opposite genders, LGBTQ+ people and businesses who want to cut back on regulations and red tape,” he said.

Johnson added that this bill is not mandatory, but optional.

“Just want to make sure they are giving business owners another tool to be able to serve their customers better,” Johnson said.

“The legislature may walk away with, we are not mandating anything, but they are allowing it,” said Boulton. “I think that we draw the line at decency and dignity of women.”

The bill still needs to be passed in the Senate and get the governor’s signature before it becomes law.

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