Montpelier City Council to Consider Gender Neutral Bathroom Policy

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Montpelier City Council is taking on a topic that made national headlines last year: bathroom access.

"I think it's just a sign of the times. It's been an issue nationally. And one of the Council members said you know, I think we ought to have a policy on gender neutral bathrooms. It's time," said City Manager Bill Fraser.

A gender neutral bathroom policy was specifically included in the goals of City Council to develop a healthy and welcoming community.

"Every spring, the Council will have a series of meetings where we set goals and priorities, some of them are really large, some of them aren't. This was seen as one thing we could do that could be more welcoming," said Fraser.

Rosie Krueger was the city councilwoman who proposed the policy.

She says after seeing numerous state governments consider laws to make life harder for transgender people, and "this policy is one thing that Montpelier can do to make life a little easier for people who are transgender, and it sends an affirmative message that we welcome everyone."

She adds "this is one small action that Montpelier can take."

So what would it mean exactly?

"It's basically saying if we have a single bathroom, it will be labeled gender neutral. As we create new buildings or new City owned buildings, they will have a gender neutral bathrooms. And if we are renovating bathrooms we will evaluate to see whether it makes sense for them to become gender neutral," said Fraser.

The choice of which bathroom to use would still be up to the individual.

The policy would only apply to city owned and operated buildings, like City Hall, the Senior Center, Police and Fire Stations, Public Works and rec facilities. The State House bathrooms would be exempt.

Earlier this year, the Vermont House passed a bill to make all single-stall bathrooms in public buildings gender-free. The Senate didn't take that bill up for consideration this session.

The topic is up for discussion at Montpelier's City Council meeting Wednesday night.

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