Monday, April 25, 2016

All Gender Restrooms Part II

A Sign Of Confusion

As Sign Makers we have never given a lot of thought to the signs that we make. We want to please our customers & provide them with the best version of their sign desires. Most the the signs we make are custom. That is, they are not signs that someone can go purchase off of the shelf at a big box store.
Sign images featured in the Nov.15, 2015  New York Times Article

Things Change

Along with the rest of the world, we have watched the metamorphosis of simple bathroom signs used to label the basic use of a public space turn into emotionally charged legal battles in many places. Thinking (at the time) that we were making the most acceptable version of the widely desired gender-neutral bathroom signs, last year we made the wheelchair, female, male pictorial signs with another figure wearing a divided skirt and pants for one of our customers.

Gender Neutral Signs

We have now come to learn (and let me stress the word learn) that those who identify as gender non-conforming, don't appreciate the reference to them as "half of a gender". I can understand that and it never would have occurred to me to think about the image in that way. I don't know who came up with that version of a gender-neutral restroom sign. It seems to change so quickly that it is hard to keep up. Especially, since there is no universally accepted version.

In an excellent article by Aimee Lee Ball in The New York Times, Aimee noted "that even when the intention is inclusivity, the reality is complicated. Strict plumbing codes or landmark status mean that businesses can't just change the signage and then be in compliance. Multiple codes regulate the requirements depending upon the type of building, the year it was built and occupancy." It also never occurred to me that code compliance would enter into this seemingly simple signage issue.

The Bottom Line

I know that many people have passionate opinions about how bathroom signs should stay the same or change to reflect the changes in our culture. I have always thought that it is hard to totally understand someone's position (no matter what the topic may be), unless you walk in their shoes and their experience. When needing the use of a restroom, I don't think that anyone should be forced to hold their bladder until they risk an infection, and I believe that everyone deserves to be safe..that hasn't changed for me.

So Which Image & Text Do We Put On The Sign?

All Gender?

We have now seen the text of Gender Neutral, Gender Inclusive, Gender Open, Unisex and All Gender. We have seen various pictorial images, the latest being a simple toilet. We have seen only text and text paired with image(s). 

We don't know the answer, nor do we wish to debate the argument, just know that Vital Signs is happy to provide you with whichever custom sign you need with any design that you want. All of our customers are important to us, no matter who you are.

Call Vital Signs Today For Your Sign & Graphics Needs!

(412) 494-3308

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