There’s a new trend taking hold on campuses nationwide. Just this past week, Northwestern University announced the addition of two new gender-neutral or “all-gender” restrooms to their campus, coming this fall. The school is the latest to join many other institutions, including Illinois State University, University of Massachusetts, Barnard and UC Davis, in advocating for an inclusive environment.
The move is in response to a student petition asking the University to provide comfortable and safe restroom spaces that accommodate everyone, regardless of gender expression or gender identity.
The petition stated “The total absence of gender neutral bathrooms in many major buildings on Northwestern’s main campus is a major issue for transgender individuals, who may be uncomfortable with using cisgender bathrooms. These concerns must be acknowledged.”
As our world continues to evolve, and becomes more inclusive, it also challenges the norm of what’s expected when it comes to the ever-so-present public restroom signs we’ve become so accustomed to seeing.
We took a look at how these new all-gender restrooms are depicting their neutrality. The new figurative symbol, meant to represent transgendered or gender-transient people, while a step in the right direction, leaves us feeling a bit confused. If you are trying to be gender-neutral, creating a third gender that’s not gender-neutral, but a mash-up of male/female seems to be a misstep to us. But, then again, we find the existing standard female symbol to also be exclusionary in so many ways.
Here are some of the new “all-gender” signs coming to a restroom near you .