Bathrooms Without Binaries

May 14th, 2013

Bathroom sign

Our single-stall restrooms have always been gender-neutral, but this week we added custom signage that more clearly communicates our desire to make Firestorm Cafe & Books safe for gender nonconforming members of our collective and community.

Gender segregation of restrooms is symptomatic of society's commitment to gender as a social institution, but for trans and gender nonconforming individuals this seemingly inconsequential convention can have very serious implications. Restrooms are often spaces for intimidation, harassment and violence. As a collective committed to challenging social institutions and supporting those historically marginalized by them, we feel that it is important to provide safe restrooms. We hope that other organizations in our community will convert gender segregated restrooms and identify trans-friendly restrooms, where they already exist, with explicit signage.

Our new signs, as seen above, state simply “This restroom may be used by any person regardless of their gender identity or expression.” They include an internationally recognized transgender symbol, which combines the widely used female cross and male arrow. This symbol was first drawn by Holly Boswell, a local trans activist. We felt that this connection to Asheville's LGBTQ community made the symbol all the more powerful! Learn more at http://www.gendertalk.com/info/tgsymbol.shtml

Special thanks goes to the folks at Reed College for sharing their experience and providing us with an ADA compliant technical drawing.