The Mayor of New York City has issued an executive order giving transsexual people access to public bathrooms which correspond to their chosen identity.
Under the order, city-owned buildings such as schools, offices and leisure centres will be forced to allow transsexuals to use the bathroom or changing room of their choice.
Critics have warned that the move could put women and young girls at risk.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued the order earlier this month, saying it is about “affirming the right of someone to follow through on their own identity”.
Describing New York’s prominence in the gay rights movement, he said that people who live there have an “obligation” to endorse transsexual rights.
De Blasio said: “New York City is the birthplace of the fight for LGBT rights, and we continue to lead in that fight”.
Responding to the move Joseph Backholm, Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute, said that the mayor has failed to consider the rights of others using public bathrooms.
He noted that everyone in the state of New York has “legal rights to privacy” and said the problem is that transsexual people’s rights are being elevated over the rights of others.
Following the executive order in New York, the Mayor of Seattle issued similar legislation.