The Company Behind the “All-Gender” Bathroom Signs | Triangulator | Indy Week
Pin It

The Company Behind the “All-Gender” Bathroom Signs 

SmartSign, the largest sign retailer on the web, owns more than forty websites, on which it hawks messages that range from helpful notifications (OPEN HOUSE) to emergency instructions (IN CASE OF FIRE—USE THE STAIRS) to strict rules (NO CELL PHONES ALLOWED).

The company, based in Brooklyn, also sells bathroom signs. A few years ago, SmartSign began producing a gender-neutral image for bathroom doors—a human figure wearing pants on one side and a dress on the other (similar to the signs that have proliferated throughout the Triangle since HB 2 passed, and the image that adorns this week's INDY cover). Not long after, Sam Killermann, an LGBTQ activist, wrote a blog post criticizing the image, which he argued reinforced a duality that wasn't inclusive of fluid gender identities. And why was a human image necessary at all? Killermann wondered.

click to enlarge all-gender-restroom-braille-sign-se-6056_210.jpg

He proposed an alternative image: a toilet.

"For group restrooms, or if you're worried about folks not understanding the sign, put a short explanation below it," Killermann added.

SmartSign took Killermann's suggestions to heart and even asked him to design the new image. He did. It is a drawing of a toilet, with the words ALL-GENDER RESTROOM beneath it. The signs are available at mydoorsign.com, and they are moving fast.

"We've sold about twice as many all-gender signs in 2016 as we did in 2015," says Conrad Lumm, marketing director for SmartSign. "And sales keep going up every month."

Has HB 2 helped? "Yes and no," Lumm says. "I think that, generally, there's a broader recognition that not everybody fits into the easy gender categories we've inherited, and we're seeing that all across the country. Obviously, though, North Carolina has become a flashpoint for that cultural trend.

"Part of our gender-inclusive effort here also involves donating those signs to nonprofits and educational institutions that ask for them, because we don't think they should have to pay through the nose to update and implement that change," Lumm continues. "And we've been seeing more demand for that in North Carolina, as well as LGBT advocates there who are distributing our signs to private businesses. A lot of people are going out of their way to make this point. Or not necessarily make a point, really; they're simply being more welcoming to their clientele."

triangulator@indyweek.com

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Triangulator



Twitter Activity

Comments

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. ... They're sending people that have lots of problems, and …

by Tryan Banme on A History of Donald Trump’s Racism, Abridged (Triangulator)

"Computer-driven vehicles? Really? We've been saying that for the last 30 years."

?! The hardware for a fully autonomous …

by Mark Bahner on Environmentalists Aren’t Happy About the NCDOT’s Plan to Finish the I-540 Beltway (Triangulator)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. ... They're sending people that have lots of problems, and …

by Tryan Banme on A History of Donald Trump’s Racism, Abridged (Triangulator)

"Computer-driven vehicles? Really? We've been saying that for the last 30 years."

?! The hardware for a fully autonomous …

by Mark Bahner on Environmentalists Aren’t Happy About the NCDOT’s Plan to Finish the I-540 Beltway (Triangulator)

Computer-driven vehicles? Really? We've been saying that for the last 30 years.

And even if that managed to come …

by Mark Neill on Environmentalists Aren’t Happy About the NCDOT’s Plan to Finish the I-540 Beltway (Triangulator)

It's a very bad time to do any transportation project that is capital-intensive and long-term. The reason is that computer-driven …

by Mark Bahner on Environmentalists Aren’t Happy About the NCDOT’s Plan to Finish the I-540 Beltway (Triangulator)

Seriously? Time for opposers to get their heads out of the sand and see that Raleigh's growth is blowing up. …

by Granted on Environmentalists Aren’t Happy About the NCDOT’s Plan to Finish the I-540 Beltway (Triangulator)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation