The city of Pennsylvania is taking steps to become the first in the country to allow transgender people to use the women’s restroom.
Transgender people in the city have long been able to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, but officials say the city is the first one in the nation to allow them to use one that matches their gender expression.
“We’re hoping that will be the first place in the United States to be able to do that,” said Andrea Miller, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene.
Miller said the city has made strides in improving its transgender policy in recent years, but has not yet reached a consensus on how best to move forward.
“In order to make sure that we are not making the same mistake as other cities and states, we have to have a really good conversation with our neighbors,” Miller said.
“We want to know what they want and we want to understand their perspective.”
The city is looking for feedback from residents about the bathroom plan and hopes to have more details ready for the public in the coming months.
In a letter to the public, the department said it would provide information about the proposal to residents on a “case-by-case basis” for up to two weeks.
It also said the department would provide a timeline for the implementation of the policy, including when it will be fully implemented.
Miller also said that in the next few months, the city will open a transgender support center for people who need assistance accessing the bathroom.
She said the center will be open from Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will have a designated staff member to assist residents.
The department is encouraging anyone who may be concerned about their privacy, safety, or other issues to contact the center’s office at 215-869-2570 or the public information hotline at 215.869.8785.
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