DENVER (KDVR) — A new measure at the state Capitol that went before a committee Monday evening looks to make the state more inclusive by requiring gender-neutral bathrooms.
It would only apply to some buildings in the state, but the idea is already gaining support and opposition.
Going to a public restroom should not be a difficult task, but some Coloradans said it is not a simple process for them.
“Oftentimes, going to public restrooms can be a difficult part in our day-to-day lives,” said Ruby Lopez, with Out Boulder. “It’s something that a lot of people don’t really think about, but people who don’t really fit into cisgender male or cisgender female boxes, we often have to plan our day around: How do we use the public bathroom and where?”
Lopez identifies as transgender. She said for the trans community, using public restrooms can be challenging physically and emotionally.
“It tends to be very uncomfortable because a lot of us do face harassment, physically or verbally, in bathrooms. And I think a lot of places in Colorado are getting a little bit more progressive. I’m seeing more inclusive bathroom spaces, but we can do better, we can do so much better,” Lopez said.
Gender-neutral bathroom bill would apply in 2024
The bill calls for new public state, county and city buildings built in Colorado after Jan. 1, 2024, to have non-gendered restrooms built in. The law would also apply to existing public buildings that are undergoing restroom renovations of $10,000 or more. Some lawmakers are trying to make progress on this.
The bill will face some opposition. but LGBTQ advocate Rev. Nicole Garcia, faith work director with the National LGBTQ Task Force, said the state should move forward on it now.
“I am so proud of the fact that the state of Colorado is considering a bill that will consider that trans people are human beings that simply need to use the restroom,” Garcia said.
“There have been many advancements for the trans community and the LGBTQ+ community in general, but we are also seeing a big backlash in many states that are anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ bills that are being introduced throughout the country. Colorado really has the opportunity to be a groundbreaker,” Garcia said.
This year’s LGBTQ+ caucus is the largest in state history. The measure passed the House State, Civic, Military and Veteran Affairs committee on Monday along party lines by a vote of 8-3. Community members said they are confident the caucus and allies can get this passed out of the Capitol this session.