With the U.S. abuzz about restroom access, another entity has opted for inclusiveness. According to a Public Relations Manager for Hersheypark, transgender guests to the theme park may use the restroom that matches their gender identity without fear of reprisal. With this statement, Hersheypark joins Target, and a number of smaller businesses, in choosing to make bathrooms accessible for all customers.
The question arose for Pennsylvania man Kris Kramer when he made plans to visit Hersheypark this summer. Kris is transgender, and he says he emailed the theme park and asked about access to restrooms in the 121-acre family theme park. A typical concern for transgender individuals is that, when accessing a restroom, they might be questioned or harassed by someone who argues that they are not the gender they identify with.
The email that he says he received in response was less than encouraging. He says it pointed him, and other transgender guests, to ‘family’ restrooms, which a staff member would have to unlock.
When I reached out to Kris for a statement about his concerns, he explained as follows.
“With all the bathroom laws and things going on I tend to avoid public bathrooms, which isn’t possible with an all day experience like Hersheypark.
“We need places to stand behind us and say, it is ok, you can pee here in the bathroom that you want to and we as a company will support that.”
The issue comes up as a concern for transgender individuals regularly, but with North Carolina’s HB2 (PDF), which requires trans people to use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate, the Justice Department’s response, and Target’s reiteration of their long-standing policy that transgender shoppers may use the restroom that matches their identity, the public discussion has reached a fever pitch.
The result is that many transgender individuals are more afraid than ever that they will be harassed, fired, kicked out of a store, or even arrested simply for using a restroom.
When the Inquisitr reached out to Hersheypark, asking specifically for information about transgender guests who might fear being accosted by those who question their gender, Public Relations Manager Kathy Burrows responded with a clarification, assuring that park restrooms would be safe and welcoming for all guests.
“For decades, Hersheypark has been dedicated to the safety and security of our guest and employees. It is foundational to our brand. Additionally, the Park has and will always strive to accommodate all guests and employees – including members of the LGBT community – to ensure those visiting or working at Hersheypark are comfortable and feel secure. To that end, the Park will continue its practice of treating all guests and employees the same no matter race, ethnicity, sexual identity, etc. Guests and employees may continue to use the restrooms with which they gender-identify, or are welcome to use the many family restrooms available across the destination.”
While Target has made waves with its public statement, many other venues have been reluctant to publicly declare their position on transgender safety. Hersheypark doing so announces to transgender vacationers that there is definitely at least one destination on their side this summer, and as summer holidays approach, it may prompt other tourism venues to do the same.
Though relatively few large corporations have spoken out with support for transgender customers so far, many smaller businesses have, and you can check your location at the Refugee Restrooms site to learn where you can find a trans-friendly restroom.
As for summer vacation, thanks to this assurance from Hersheypark, transgender travelers can now be assured of at least one fun stop where the restrooms are safe, too.
[Image via Hersheypark]