A few months ago I [sarcastically] threw my hat into the Gender Neutral Bathroom Signage ring. I called that article a coping mechanism to help me deal with a current frustration. But thanks to you, the magic of the internet, and the fine folks at My Door Sign, it became a thing.
Obviously, I’m thrilled. But my favorite part is all the little steps it took for this to happen. So let’s recap:
- First, I wrote an incredibly snarky article from a coffee shop in Philly, where I was visiting to speak at a conference. My actual primary argument in my article wasn’t that my sign was the best, but a satire of how not-difficult it is to solve this “problem.”
- I shared it with the wonderful group of people who I’ve rounded up on Facebook via my IPM Page, and they loved it. And while the snark was appreciated, more people were onboard with the actual sign than I would have ever guessed.
- Then someone said something super important:
“You joke, but I’ve read dozens of articles on this subject, and you are the first to propose that the sign on the door (uniformly identified as the primary problem with gender-neutral bathrooms) be a picture of what’s on the other side of the door. Like all problems, the answer is obvious only after someone like yourself comes up with it.”
- So I took it to the streets with this guerilla activism project asking people to print the signs and post them up on single-stall restrooms. A lot of folks sent me photos and stories and the general sentiment was “It actually didn’t upset people as much as we thought it would. It made sense.”
- Meanwhile, The Good Men Project reposted my first article, as they are wont to do. Folks there connected with it.
- Then I was sitting in my living room with my roommate who happened to be browsing Fast Company, one of my favorite sites, and lo’ and behold, it popped up there (and it cracked me up reading their post, because I couldn’t tell if the author got that I was mostly kidding).
- In the midst of all of this gender neutral hullabaloo, I got an email from a person named Conrad at a company called Smart Sign (“You’ll never guess what we sell…” he quipped). They produced signs like the ones I criticized, and wanted to chat about my design.
- We chatted, hit it off, and they decided to see if they could make my design work. I turned down any compensation, but instead asked that if they decide to sell my design they make a donation to the Transgender Law Center, an organization I adore. They were awesomely onboard with that idea.
- They did company/businessy stuff for a few weeks and worked through the details, as company/businessy entities are wont to do. And I went to the middle east to interview revolutionaries for a book I’m writing, as I’m, well, you know.
- Fox news freaked out, but that really doesn’t have anything to do with anything. I just wanted to share because I found it amusing.
- And then, today, seemingly out of the blue (because I’m not good at reading my email), I read this super nice press release.
- AND THEN GLAAD published a blog post highlighting this super-awesome-one-upping-what-I-already-thought-was-awesome-about-them campaign that they are donating the signs to college campuses that request them.
- Then I peed.
How cool is that, folks? I would say this is a pretty great example of conscious capitalism, and I’m happy to have been part of it. In an email exchange today with two of the folks from Smart Sign, Conrad and Carrie, Carrie said this, which I think wraps this whole adventure up in a warm, fuzzy bow:
“This campaign has been one of the best and brightest we’ve ever done. It’s really inspiring connecting with so many college-aged advocates. Their passion is something I truly admire!”
Help spread the word to college campuses, and let’s see how many gender neutral bathrooms we can get up in this piece!
Oh, and I totally forgot one absolutely integral, kind of terrifying piece of this whole puzzle: The Nic Cage