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While most of the public washroom news I receive, concerns facilities being closed down because it’s more lucrative for the local authorities to sell them off to housing developers than it is to keep them open, stocked and cleaned; it’s the gender designation or mixed washrooms that are making the headlines in private sector and overseas news.
I’ve just received a press release from US company Impact Products that’s made me chuckle. It talks about how, if they have not already, patrons in all types of commercial facilities will soon discover that signs indicating separate men's and women's washrooms are being replaced with ‘gender-neutral’ signs.
Impact reveals that Refuge Restrooms, a site that lists every public, all-gender washroom in the US, says there are now 4,500 such public facilities in the country and that the number is growing fast.
While many of these all-gender signs will say just that – ‘all-gender’ or ‘gender-neutral’ - some creative organisations have decided to add a little humour to their signs, aware that this is something of a contentious issue.
Impact Products, which has a new Personal Care Division manufacturing products specifically for washrooms, says the top five gender-neutral signs uncovered so far are:
“Whatever the sign, humorous or not, we believe restroom users should always have a positive restroom experience," says Impact’s Amy Severtsky. "Clean restrooms, well stocked, including feminine hygiene products and dispensers, are always needed and will always be wanted no matter who uses the restroom or what the sign says on the door.”
While I agree with Amy’s sentiment, I abhor the idea of mixed washrooms and hope they don’t catch on. Meeting a colleague or customer of the opposite sex while touching up one’s lipstick or adjusting a hem or something is bad enough as it is, but being sat next to a man using a cubicle, with just a thin sheet of something between us, fills me with dread. These things are private, after all! And then there’s the safety aspect to consider…
Am I a prude or do you women agree with me?
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20th October 2016