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LA Considering Gender Neutral Park Bathrooms

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Just in time for LA Pride

The city of Los Angeles might be catching up to West Hollywood, and just in time for LA Pride: It's looking to allow transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identities, starting with city-owned parks.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion this week that calls for a review of any city regulations that, "may explicitly or inadvertently dissuade a transgendered person from using the public bathroom of their gender identity."

"It doesn’t get more basic than you just need to go and use the restroom, and why should you live in fear or shame just to do that?" said O’Farrell.

Right now, according to the motion, city code says: "No person over eight years of age shall enter or use any restroom in a park designated for persons of the other sex."

The motion coincides with LA Pride this weekend and LGBT Heritage Month.

In West Hollywood, where Pride is held, there’s already a similar, and more expansive, law on the books. Last year, that city required businesses and restaurants and every other public place--not just city-owned property—to make separate men and women restaurants accessible to everyone.

"It’s a pretty simple fix. It’s just a plastic sign that we can take down and put back up," Maggie Crifasi of Pizza Rustica told CBS Los Angeles. "Everybody here is so gay-friendly."

Last month, the California Assembly passed legislation requiring all single-stall bathrooms in public places, businesses and government agencies to be open to people of any gender, according to the Sacramento Bee. That bill still has to pass the Senate before it can head to the governor’s desk.

Though O’Farrell’s motion targets city code for park restrooms, a spokeswoman said it would be the first step toward addressing all city-owned facilities.

It calls on the city attorney to report back in 60 days with any needed recommendations to "modernize" its laws and to extend "protections of gender identity and gender expression laws to public bathroom use."