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

Alicia K. Matthews, Ruth Blatt, Cherdsak Duangchan, Kim L. Hunt, Francesca Gaiba, Avery Matthew, Mona Noriega, Elizabeth Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Transgender, nonbinary, and gender-non-conforming 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 under-represented 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-572
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Johns Hopkins University Press.


  • activism
  • advocacy
  • allyship
  • community engagement
  • public policy
  • restrooms
  • Transgender


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