WATCH: Gender-Neutral Bathroom Signs Focus on What's Inside — The Toilet
Businesses looking to be trans-affirming have something to learn from MyDoorSign, a Brooklyn-based sign company who recently affirmed their allyship in a video posted on Mashable.
Their story starts in April 2014, when members of the company started trying to tackle the issue of trans people feeling overly scrutinized or in danger in public restrooms. Concluding that changing a bathroom's signage can help before anyone ever steps into the restroom, they released an alternate "gender neutral" bathroom sign that they hoped could help.
Trans rights advocates immediately pushed back on their design, most prominently cisgender ally and comedian Sam Killermann of It's Pronounced Metrosexual.
MyDoorSign's first attempt, which featured the traditional symbols of both a "man" in pants and a "woman" in a dress alongside a "third gender" figure with one leg in pants and one in a dress was "confusing" or even "problematic" to many, Mashable reported in January. Activists argued that bathrooms aren't really about gender, but rather about meeting a basic need, and traditional male/female sybmology increases danger for trans people by sending the message to occupants that others' genitalia is something they should care about.
In the video below, watch how MyDoorSign jettisoned their first design leading to a new, clearer design they worked with Killermann and The Good Men Project to produce: an image of a toilet. The sign's wording has been changed from "gender neutral restroom" to "all gender restroom."
"Really the purpose of a restroom is to use the toilet. So rather than focusing on who's inside, it's focusing on the purpose," a MyDoorSign nonprofit manager Katelyn Gray explains in the video below.
"There are many cases of trans people being assaulted in bathrooms or gender-policed, or harassed, and so this is one way of marking out a safe space," added marketing director Conrad Lumm. "We agree that 'all gender' is preferable [language] because it simply states that anyone can use the restroom."
In July, GLAAD announced that the company has gone a step further to show their commitment to making bathrooms safer for everyone: They began offering their new signs for free to college campuses and LGBT groups.