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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
28th January 2021


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I’m always on the lookout when visiting ‘away from home’ loos, for products made by my KBB industry friends, since it’s lovely to see things I’ve written about, in situ, as opposed to looking at a photograph.

While most of the public washroom news I receive, concerns facilities being closed down because it’s more lucrative for 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 headlines in private sector and overseas news.

A press release from US company Impact Products 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.

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 ‘all-gender’ or ‘gender-neutral’ - some creative organisations have decided to add humour to their signs, aware that this is something of a contentious issue.

Impact says the top five gender-neutral signs uncovered so far are:

  • Lou or Lulu? Any loo will do (Goddess and the Baker Restaurant, Chicago)
  • Blokes or Birds Restroom (Virgin Hotel, Chicago)
  • We Don't Care (San Francisco office building)
  • Whichever! (Several US locations)
  • Pointers and Setters (Roadside restaurant stop, Illinois)

“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? And what about you men?



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Jan Hobbs



21st October 2016

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