Hoboken, NJ - Wednesday, April 25th, 2018
Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla will introduce an ordinance at a press conference in City Hall on Wednesday, April 25 at 11 a.m., requiring all public and private single-occupancy restrooms in the City of Hoboken to be gender-neutral, expanding on a similar executive order he will issue at the same time.
If passed by the City Council on May 2, Hoboken will be the first city in the state of New Jersey, and one of few cities nationally, to pass such a law.
“This is a chance for Hoboken to lead the state and the country in affirming the civil rights and dignity of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Bhalla. “Frankly, this is a no-brainer, and I hope the Council will do the right thing and pass this ordinance unanimously. From here, let’s continue to identify ways in which our community can be more supportive of our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors.”
Bhalla will be joined at the conference by other elected officials as well as Pastor Peter Beeson from St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church and representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, Hudson Pride Center, and other advocacy groups.
“Hudson Pride Center is proud to represent and serve a county that is revolutionizing the fight for gender identity and expression,” said Hudson Pride Center CEO Michael Billy. “The actions taken today by Mayor Bhalla strengthen the ongoing resistance to discriminatory policies and practices against LGBTQ people across the country. Now, more than ever, it is important that our cities take inclusive strides in policy that embrace our diversity.”
Bhalla’s executive order will take effect immediately at the time of signing. The City of Hoboken has committed to changing all affected restroom signs by May 31, 2018, in time for the start of June, which is LGBT Pride Month.
“All Hoboken residents, workers and visitors deserve access to safe and inclusive public spaces no matter their gender identity,” said Xavier Persad, Legislative Counsel at the Human Rights Campaign. “This new policy and the proposed ordinance reflect best practices being adopted in a growing number of municipalities across the country and send a clear message that Hoboken is open for all. We thank Mayor Bhalla for his leadership in updating city policies and for his support of the proposed ordinance.”
“While New Jersey state law is clear that transgender people must have access to sex-segregated facilities matching their gender identity, Hoboken is taking an important, common sense step forward in making sure that single occupancy restrooms are gender-neutral” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “We applaud Mayor Ravi Bhalla and are thankful for his partnership in making Hoboken more accepting and welcoming of its LGBTQ residents”.
“We commend Mayor Bhalla and the City of Hoboken for sending a strong message of inclusivity, non-discrimination, and that all people are valued,” said Joshua Cohen, Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New Jersey Regional Office. “It is essential that we push ourselves and our communities to enact policies and practices like these which protect and affirm the rights and safety of all.”
Upon passage of the city-wide ordinance, existing businesses and other affected entities will have 60 days from the effective date to comply by replacing existing gender-specific signage with gender-neutral signage. New businesses and establishments must comply immediately upon opening to the public.