New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) wants to bring the call for potty parity into the political sphere. On April 17, Hoylman is introducing a new bill in the state Senate that would mandate equal access to diaper changing tables for both men and women.
The proposed bill is calls for the amendment to the New York State Civil Rights Law with the addition of a new section 79-o. If the bill passes, any public building or "place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement" that is constructed or undergoing "substantial renovation" after the passage must provide changing stations in men's bathrooms if it includes them in women's restrooms.
“It’s time for men to pick up the slack in raising our kids, and this is part of that responsibility," Hoylman told The Huffington Post.
The senator said his own personal experience as a gay dad inspired him to draft this bill. Hoylman and his husband David Sigal have a 4-year-old daughter named Silvia, and "on numerous occasions" when she was an infant, the parents were forced to change her diaper on bathroom floors, in hallways, and outside in parking lots due to the lack of changing tables in men's rooms.
Hoylman believes that this shortage of diaper stations in men's bathrooms is "an anachronism that reflects the bias toward women being the caregiver," he said, adding, "That’s simply not the case today. In addition to same sex couples of men and men in heterosexual couples, there are also a lot of single male parents out there too."
In addition to his experience as a father, Hoylman drew inspiration for his potty parity bill from Ashton Kutcher, who has been making headlines with his campaign for more changing facilities in men's rooms. Following his viral Facebook post about the issue, the actor created a Change.org petition to ask Target and Costco to "provide universally accessible changing tables in their stores."
"I’ve got to give credit to Ashton for raising awareness of this issue," the senator said. "I identified with his Change.org petition and thought, 'I’m in a good position to try to make a difference.'"
If Hoylman's bill passes, it will go into effect immediately.