Tag Archives: office of human rights

Press Release Announcing “Pee in Peace” Campaign

For Immediate Release

July 10th, 2009

Contact: Rhodes Perry

(202) 403-7000

DC Trans Coalition and Office of Human Rights Launch Bathroom Access and Safety Campaign
Groups Mobilizing Community to Ensure Enforcement of the Human Rights Act

Washington, DC – On Friday, July 3rd, the DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) along with the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) launched the Bathroom Access and Safety Campaign, otherwise known as the Pee in Peace Campaign – a community mobilization project designed to ensure bathroom access and safety for all residents, including transgender, transsexual and gender non-conforming individuals, in the District.

Even with the District’s comprehensive Human Rights Act, which includes protections for gender identity or expression, trans and gender non-conforming people continue to experience verbal and physical harassment ranging from being attacked and thrown out to even being arrested for simply trying to use the bathroom in the District.  In fact, according to a recent citywide survey for transgender and gender non-conforming people, 70 percent of respondents indicated that they had experienced problems accessing or using gender segregated bathrooms.

Since its founding in 2005, the DCTC has organized community members to fight for the human rights of and equal access for trans and gender non-conforming people living in the District of Columbia. The Bathroom Access and Safety Campaign carries on this commitment, ensuring that the District’s laws are appropriately enforced, making certain that trans and gender non-conforming residents have equal access and appropriate safety when using restroom facilities along with other public accommodations,” said Sadie Baker, a member of the DCTC.

Regulations accompanying the Human Rights Act clarify that all residents have the right to use a bathroom consistent with their gender identity or expression, regardless of real or perceived assigned sex or gender expression. The regulations also specify that all single occupancy restrooms (i.e., any restroom intended for use by one person at a time) in any public or commercial space, like a restaurant, should use gender neutral signage only. For example, signs reading “Men” and “Women” must be replaced with signs that read “Restroom,” or another non-gendered label.

“Despite these regulations, many businesses all over DC are not in compliance with the law, which is why we created this campaign. We are developing a list of all non-compliant businesses throughout DC so that we can inform the Office of Human Rights. OHR Director Velasquez has agreed to help by sending all the businesses we identify a letter informing them of the Human Rights Act and what they need to do in order to be compliant. The businesses will then have 30 days to change their signs, at which point we will check back. It is our hope that all business will comply with OHR’s request. If they do not, we will report them to city officials who will initiate a discrimination complaint,” said Jody Herman, a member of the DCTC.

The DCTC and OHR have asked that community members help by identifying restaurants, cafes or any other public or commercial spaces that are not in compliance with the law. Residents should send the name of the business, the address and the date they noticed the establishment violating the law to DCTCBathrooms@gmail.com, or call (202) 557-1951.  On Saturday, July 25th, the group will host a rally in support of bathroom safety and access at 2 pm in Adams Morgan (18th Street and Columbia). All concerned residents are urged to join in this effort to ensure appropriate enforcement of the law. For more information about the Bathroom Access and Safety Campaign, check out the DCTC website at www.dctranscoalition.org under the heading “Campaigns.”

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The DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) is a grassroots community-based organization dedicated to fighting for the human rights of and equal access for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the District of Columbia.

[UPDATE] The Office of Human Rights now has a web form for reporting establishments not complying with this law, or you can tweet the name and address of the establishment, and whether or not their bathrooms are in compliance (ideally with a photo) with the hashtag #safebathroomsDC. Please do NOT use the email address above!!!

DC Commission on Human Rights Meeting TONIGHT, 6:30pm

The DC Commission on Human Rights, the group responsible for proposing to gut important parts of the Human Rights Code, are having their regular meeting TONIGHT, September 10th, at 6:30pm.

All supporters of the Coalition and the effort to oppose these changes are encouraged to attend!

The meeting will be at 441 4th Street, Suite 570 North, Room 1117

Washington, DC — this is right at the Judiciary Square Metro.

Call the Human Rights Commission’s office at (202) 727-0656 for additional information.

See you there!

Petitions delivered to OHR, stay tuned!

Activists from the DC Trans Coalition hand-delivered over 200 petition signatures and comments from the online petition, in addition to formal commentary from the Coalition and comments from the Silvia Rivera Law Project in New York.

Many organizations and individuals made powerful statements to demand that the Office of Human Rights drop their proposed changes.

What’s next?

The DC Commission on Human Rights meets Thursday, September 11 at 6pm.

The meeting will be held at 441 4th Street, Suite 570 North, Washington, DC.

Call the Human Rights Commission’s office at (202) 727-0656 for room location and additional information.
These meetings are open to the public, and it would be a good time to let the Commission know your thoughts about their proposed changes to the Human Rights Act!

Take Action to Defeat OHR’s Attack on Our Rights

When we first learned about the Office of Human Right’s proposed attack on our rights under the Human Rights Code, we sent an action alert right away with some action steps. NOW, we’re asking you to take an important action to make sure all f your voices are heard and we fight back this attempt to roll back the protections we’ve won in DC.

Take action! SIGN the petition by clicking the link below, and SEND it to all of your friends!


It’s critical that we get your testimony and stories in this petition. The ONLY comments the Office of Human Rights will accept are ones that are printed and mailed or delivered to them. The DC Trans Coalition will print your responses to the petition and make sure the Office of Human Rights gets a copy before their deadline, Friday, August 8th.

Sign the petition today, even if you’ve sent an email to the Office of Human Rights already:


If you want to take even more action, come to the next DC Trans Coalition meeting this Tuesday, July 29th from 7:20-9pm to find out how you can get involved.

Together, we can defeat this attack on our rights and support the campaign to correct the Department of Corrections.

ALERT: Office of Human Rights threatening our Rights! Take Action!

URGENT ALERT: We just discovered that last Friday, July 11th, an announcement of the OHR’s intent to undermine parts of the Human Rights Act that the Coalition won was entered into the DC Register. You can read the proposal here.Why are the Office of Human Rights and the Commission on Human Rights trying to REPEAL our Human Rights instead of defending them? This is outrageous!

Contact the DC Office of Human Rights to demand that they uphold our rights, not gut them. Email ohr@dc.gov or call (202) 727-0656 to ask why this proposed rulemaking has been entered.

Formal responses: To comment on the subject matter of this proposed rulemaking, submit comments in writing to Alexis Taylor, General Counsel at the DC Office of Human Rights 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 570 North, Washington, DC 20001 . The DCTC will also be collecting people’s comments and submitting them to the General Counsel. DEADLINE for this submission is August 11, 2008. If you do write the OHR, cc us at dctranscoalition@gmail.com so we can follow up on your comments during the public hearing.

Stay tuned for more events and actions as we work to defend our rights…

About the OHR’s Proposed Changes

What is the Office of Human Rights Proposing? On July 11, 2008 the Commission of Human Rights voted to enter a proposed notice of rulemaking. Some of them are just clarifications and don’t hurt our existing rights. But TWO of them seriously threaten both our rights as they exist now AND undermine key demands DC Trans Coalition’s campaign to make DC Jails safer and less abusive to trans inmates. Continue reading About the OHR’s Proposed Changes