Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Board Approves Ungendered Bathrooms

And LGBTQ inclusion initiative. 'Access to safe restrooms should be a basic right for every person.'

By - Sep 27th, 2022 04:21 pm

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia (GFDL) or (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

The Milwaukee County Board approved two resolutions this month related to diversity and inclusion for transgender and nonbinary people and LGBTQ-identifying employees at its most recent meetings.

The two pieces of legislation will, respectively, set the county on a path to rebranding single-person restrooms as gender inclusive or ungendered restrooms and it will direct the Department of Human Resources to begin tracking the voluntary identification of LGBTQ and non-binary-gender employees, among other things.

The resolution relating to ungendered bathrooms was sponsored by Supervisors Ryan Clancy, Shawn Rolland, Juan Miguel Martinez and Peter Burgelis. It directs the Department of Administrative Services to “study the costs involved and how Milwaukee County may modify the restrooms in its facilities to be inclusive restrooms with inclusive signage.”

The legislation explains that the signage should “not indicate any specific sex and/or gender, must include the word ‘restroom’ in braille, may include icons indicating the presence of a toilet, sink, baby changing facility, and if the restroom is universally accessible.”

“Access to safe restrooms should be a basic right for every person,” Clancy told the board’s Committee on Community, Environment and Economic Development in September. “Gender inclusive and ungendered are critical for people with children who may be a different gender from the adults, people who live with disabilities and have care providers or family members that assist them. and for trans and non-binary people who may not be able to safely access gendered restrooms.”

Burgelis explained that the resolution would have DAS count the number of single-user restrooms in county buildings “so we can then come up with a plan for rebranding single-user restrooms to non-gender specific restrooms, with inclusive restroom signage.”

As the father of a trans child, the father of a non-binary child and a father of three other kids that, when they were younger, sometimes needed to use bathrooms assigned to genders different from their parents, I can speak to the struggles of both identity and convenience which this resolution can address in some small way,” Clancy said. He also said, “Many trans people avoid gendered bathrooms for fear of abuse, discrimination and assault.”

A second resolution, sponsored by Supervisors Burgelis, Martinez, Rolland, Dyango Zerpa and Willie Johnson, Jr., directs the county’s Department of Human Resources to implement a number of new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices that include support for pronoun identification, collecting voluntary self identification of non-binary and LGBTQ employees, collaboration of HR with local DEI affinity groups and associations, and continued development of network resource groups and the Milwaukee County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.

“This resolution addresses a gap in our vision statement for diversity, equity and inclusion,” Burgelis said.

Dan Terrio, HR Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager for the county, told the board’s Personnel Committee in September that his department had been working with Burgelis on the resolution and that it had their full support. “Intersectionality is really a centerpiece of our work here in Milwaukee County,” Terrio said. “Especially when we think about diversity, equity and inclusion, we recognize that there are many different diversities that encompass our employees.”

Terrio explained that he knows, for example, how many Native Americans work for Milwaukee County, adding, “But we do not keep track of voluntary LGBTQ+ status… Are we truly being equitable if we do not know how many LGBTQ+ employees work for us?”

Categories: MKE County, Politics, Weekly

2 thoughts on “MKE County: Board Approves Ungendered Bathrooms”

  1. GodzillakingMKE says:

    Dim Tim add in a few minutes.

  2. RetiredResident says:

    As long as you’re not peeking through the crack into the stall in self-righteous indignation, what does it matter?

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