Know Your Rights

Bathrooms and Locker Rooms

Understanding your rights

If you're transgender or gender-nonconforming (TGNC), just walking through the door of a public bathroom or locker-room can be a stressful, scary experience. Bathrooms and locker rooms can invite extra scrutiny of your appearance based on gender stereotypes, whether at school, a gym or a public place.

  • The bottom line is that you should be allowed to use the restroom or locker room that matches your gender identity, regardless of whether you're making a gender transition or appear gender-nonconforming.
  • There is no rule that you must look a certain way to use a certain restroom. That’s “gender policing” and it’s harmful to anyone dressed or groomed in a way that doesn’t conform to someone else’s idea of gender.
  • “Holding it in” comes with health risks, including infection.
  • If you’re stopped or harassed, make sure you’re safe and then report the incident to police, school administrators or other authorities.

You do have the law on your side: Courts have increasingly found that discrimination against transgender people is sex discrimination, so it’s not acceptable to institute different kinds of bathroom rules for transgender and non-transgender people.

To read more, read Lambda Legal’s fact sheet on bathroom use. For further information, contact Lambda Legal at 866-542-8336 or visit www.lambdalegal.org/help.