Canada's largest national fair is taking a stand against gender-segregated bathrooms by featuring new, gender-inclusive bathroom signs.
As well as the usual rides, food, shopping and exciting guests, this year, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) has a strong message to send to attendees: "We Don't Care" which bathroom you use.
The ADA-compliant bathroom signs, designed by Kansas city artist Peregrine Honig, have received a great deal of praise during the week-long fair, according to General Manager of CNE Virginia Ludy.
While looking for something that was reflective of the CNE's new restrooms, Ludy discovered Honig's signs online which feature the words "We Don't Care" written under a half-male and half-female figure.
"We thought it said exactly what we wanted to say. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, you can use this washroom," Ludy told Mashable.
Though the half-male and half-female figure on the signs does present gender in binary terms, the signs give those who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming or non-binary more space to be themselves.
How the #CNE and #Toronto deals with the bathroom NON-issue. #TheWorldNeedsMoreCanada pic.twitter.com/G1mU0u09pv— WheezySmurf (@snoopmary) August 24, 2016
Ludy explained to Mashable that many times at special events, there ends up being a long line for the women's restrooms and a short line for the men's restrooms. "We really wanted to design washrooms that could be used by anybody at any time," she said.Kudos to @LetsGoToTheEX for their bathroom signage #WeDontCare #CNE2016 #CNE pic.twitter.com/n0NiLxIrt6— Joshua Ostroff (@joshuaostroff) August 22, 2016
The opportunity to get creative with the toilet signs was due to the festival installing new toilets. "We have old bathroom trailers that are actually going to be retired after this fair so we had designed new portable bathroom units," Ludy said. Each new unit includes its own entrance, a toilet, a urinal and a sink.
While no one really anticipated that people would pay much attention to the signs, Ludy said once the photographs hit social media everyone began to take notice and share extremely positive feedback.
"I think that we, as an event, want to be fair to everybody and so if we can design washrooms that are a little bit more private and accommodating for our customers, that don’t make them uncomfortable because of the facilities they think they should be using or not using, or how the public will react, then that’s a good thing," she said.
Ludy said that she believed progress was well overdue. "We need to have facilities that reflect the makeup of the community today," she said.
This is awesome #CNE RT @joshuaostroff: Kudos to @LetsGoToTheEX for their bathroom signage #WeDontCare #CNE2016 #CNE pic.twitter.com/Ds2gsU0NlS— Kevin Carvalho (@Kevin_Carvalho) August 24, 2016
Though the gender inclusive signs are new to Toronto, several trans-friendly business owners in the state of North Carolina adopted them after the enactment of the House Bill 2, which legally restricted bathroom usage for transgender and gender-nonconforming people.LOVE THIS. Spotted on a bathroom door at the CNE. -@CarlinIndie88— INDIE88 (@Indie88Toronto) August 23, 2016
Photo cred: bennythebassman pic.twitter.com/i7xQicA1EX
According to The Kansas City Star, Honig collaborated with Dennis Baughman at Midtown Signs to create the acrylic signs, and after posting a photo of the sign to her Facebook page on Friday, Honig received more than 1,000 shares within 24 hours. The signs can be purchased on her website and cost $125 each.
Mashable reached out to Honig for comment and are awaiting a reply.