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Chicago Restroom Access Project seeks input on designs
2016-01-18

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CHICAGO — For trans* and gender non-conforming people, using public restrooms can be a source of stress and anxiety because of very real psychological and physical safety concerns. The Chicago Restroom Access Project ( CRAP ), a working group of the Pride Action Tank ( A project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ), is working to address this issue. As such, they are seeking input from a wide range of people on proposed designs for renewed signage on single-stall restrooms in the city.

The design would then be offered to businesses, schools, nonprofits and government offices to be used to create a more welcoming environment for trans* and gender non-conforming individuals using single-stall restrooms.

The surveys will be available at the 4,000-person Creating Change conference at Chicago's Hilton Hotel, which will take place on Jan. 20-24, 2016, hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force. Conference attendees can fill out and turn the survey in at the University of Illinois at Chicago's booth in the exhibition hall.

Additionally, restroom access will be the topic of at least one workshop at Creating Change: Caucus 2, "Increasing Access to Gender Neutral Bathrooms: Policy and Institutional Change," on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Presenters include Phoenix Matthews, University of Illinois at Chicago; Mickey Mahoney, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Megan Carney, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Individuals can also indicate their favorite design at the Pride Action Tank Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PrideActionTank. The survey will be open from Friday, Jan. 15 — Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

Surveys can also be mailed to: Pride Action Tank, c/o AIDS Foundation of Chicago, 200 W. Jackson Blvd., #2100, Chicago, IL 60606.

For more information, contact Kim L. Hunt at khunt@aidschicago.org or Jackie Thaney at JThaney@aidschicago.org .

Additional background information:

For trans* and gender-nonconforming people, using public restrooms can be a source of stress and anxiety because of very real psychological and physical safety concerns. People whose appearances do not fit common notions of masculinity and femininity experience stares, questions, comments, verbal harassment, and, potentially, physical violence when they try to use public restrooms. Due to these possibilities, trans* and gender-nonconforming people sometimes avoid using public restrooms altogether, which has the potential for health complications, such as dehydration, urinary tract infections, kidney infections and other kidney problems. Opening existing single-occupancy restrooms to people of all gender expressions, as was recently done in New York City, will diminish gender-based discrimination in Chicago public accommodations and will have a low impact on the use of facilities by people used to using gendered single-stalled bathrooms.

More than two dozen individuals have been meeting since last fall to discuss increasing restroom access in public and private facilities. Advocates are also working to address gaps in existing laws that cover access to all bathrooms for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.

Those on the Access Project include: Kim L. Hunt, Dr. Phoenix Matthews, Mickey Mahoney, Megan Carney, Laura Stempel, Michelle Manno, Tracy Baim, Gina Olson, Brian Richardson, Karriem Watson, Chris Smith, Joe Betancourt, Nat Duran, Jessica Celimene-Rowell, Sharmili Majmudar, Francesca Gaiba, and Owen Daniel-McCarter.

Printable image at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/BATHROOMFLIER.pdf .


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