The Importance of All-Gender Restrooms

Have you ever accidentally walked into the men or women’s restroom and automatically felt embarrassed because you’re told to keep out of that space? Well, imagine how people who identify as transgender or queer must feel when they walk into such “designated” space and can feel someone’s eyes prying on them, inadvertently saying “you don’t belong here.”

In 2014, after receiving criticism for old graphics in the all-gender sign collection, MyDoorSign redesigned the collection. changed its signs to reflect its goal of inclusiveness to “all-gender.”

MyDoorSign is a company of the Brooklyn-based company SmartSign. One of America’s fastest growing e-commerce companies, SmartSign’s mission is to provide high quality door, restroom, office, and braille signs.  

Izzy Rode of Slate writes, “Why is the bathroom seen as an untouchable, unchangeable safe space? Naturally, everyone wants to be comfortable when taking care of bathroom business, but how is a restroom different than other public spaces in which people want to be left alone? Is it simply a social construction? If comfort is the main concern, why is the comfort of some people privileged over that of others? And are we comfortable with that?”

Photo Courtesy of: Carrie Winans, Public Relations Officer at SmartSign

Ultimately, the use of the toilet is simply to use the toilet. There shouldn’t be a worry of who is going to use it. Anyone should be able to. The term ‘All-Gender Restroom’ symbolizes restrooms that everyone is able to use. An ‘All-Gender Restroom’ does not exclude individuals due to their gender identity. 

In an article, The Huffington Post reported, "The number of gender-neutral bathrooms has grown in just the past few years, in city-run facilitiesworkplaces and, most commonly, college campuses. There are more than 150 schools across the U.S. that have gender-neutral bathrooms, according to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's LGBTQ organization The Stonewall Center."

Photo Courtesy of: Carrie Winans, Public Relations Officer at SmartSign

Spaces such as these are especially significant for transgender individuals who may experience discrimination and discerning looks on a daily basis, due to their gender identity. Trans individuals continue to face not only the threat but also the reality of violence when entering public restrooms.

The Cantú Queer Center at UC Santa Cruz has also worked with students and campus staff in creating safer and more accessible restrooms for transgender and gender queer students, staff, faculty, alumni, and UCSC visitors.