For some reason this bathroom thing is still an issue at the library.
For some reason, this bathroom thing is still an issue at the library. Kelly O

If you want to make it easier for trans people to use the bathroom at the library, stop by the Central Library (Level 4, Room 1) today at 5 p.m. At that time and place, board members of the Seattle Public Library will be holding a public hearing on a draft of their new restroom policy.

Right now, the library encourages patrons to use the multi-stall bathrooms that align with their gender identity, but only "caregivers with children, disabled patrons with their assistants, and breastfeeding mothers" are allowed to enter its "family" restrooms, which are located in the children's areas of the library's many branches. The new policy, which was specifically developed "to ensure a safer restroom environment for transgender and gender-nonconforming patrons," according to the language in the draft, now allows anyone to request the use of any single-stall restroom regardless of its location.

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This hearing comes a year after two Central Library employees denied trans man Ryan Alley use of the library's "family" restroom, despite the fact that Seattle's all-gender restroom ordinance ensures access to "single occupant restrooms by any person, regardless of sex or gender identity."

One of the lessons we learn from Alley's story is that some library staffers care so much about where trans people take a leak that they're unwilling to bend the library's dumb, regressive rules about family restroom access. Those people may show up at the hearing and voice their "concerns" about the dangers of trans people holding their bladders and bowels in the children's sections, and those voices must be overwhelmed by much more reasonable ones. Yes, yes, loyal Slog readers. Though we're almost two decades into the 21st century, we still need to gather in large numbers and stand strong against those people who won't let trans people go where they need to go when they need to go.

So take off work a little early (or use part of "your Saturday"), and head down to the Central Library this evening. Raise your voice (and your hand) in support of the change in policy, and congratulate SPL for changing rules that made trans people feel unsafe and unwelcome at the library, which should always be a place of discovery and opportunity for all. Duh.

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