Self-Description of a University-Community Partnership to Advocate for Restroom Access Policy Change in Chicago

Online Publication Date:
March 14, 2022
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
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**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) volume 16.4. All rights reserved.** ABSTRACT Background: Transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming individuals face significant obstacles accessing public restrooms, resulting in negative mental and physical health consequences. Objectives: We describe the Chicago Restroom Access Project, a university and community partnership aimed at reforming restroom laws in Chicago and the state of Illinois. Methods: A range of community-engagement approaches were used, including recruiting, mobilizing, and partnering with diverse stakeholders, amplifying the voices of underrepresented members of the impacted community, collecting data for evidence-based decision making, fluid membership, and diffuse leadership. Results: Outcomes included developing resources for public education, changing the City of Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, changing Illinois state law on single-occupancy restrooms, and implementing restroom reform at an educational institution. Lessons learned are also described. Conclusions: The methods and principles of this partnership provide approaches that can be used to advocate for reform and policy change for restroom access throughout the country.