The federal government is reportedly preparing to unveil new guidelines mandating bathroom access for transgender people according to their gender identity in thousands of facilities across the country.
BuzzFeed obtained a draft on Monday of a policy document being circulated throughout various federal agencies before it is posted to the Federal Register later this week. The new policy will reportedly affect the 9,200 federal sites overseen by the General Service Administration, and the estimated million employees working in them. What's more, the new policy will also apply to non-employees visiting these facilities. On its website, the GSA says that its managed properties include courthouses, post offices, laboratories, and general federal office buildings.
The revised policy comes during a year when bathroom access for trans people has become a major issue in a number of states—most notably in North Carolina, where the Republican-led legislature passed the nation's strictest "bathroom bill" in the spring of 2016. Since then, the Obama administration has found itself increasingly embroiled in efforts to block its ongoing push toward transgender equality—particularly as it pertains to access to restrooms in public schools.
Following a directive in 2016 from the White House to allow access to high school bathrooms according to a student's gender identity, a number of states sued the Obama administration, arguing, among other things, that the federal government has overreached in its interpretation of sex discrimination laws.
In North Carolina, where the anti-trans "bathroom bill" remains in effect, the GSA lists 12 federal buildings which, presumably, will now be subject to the new policy. But this new rule reportedly won't apply to all federal buildings—just ones managed by the GSA, spokeswoman Ashley Nash-Hahn explained to BuzzFeed. That means the Capitol Building, National Park facilities, and the White House itself are outside the scope of the revamped policy.
The White House already practices what it's mandating, though. In April of 2015, it announced the creation of an on-site gender neutral bathroom.