In a historic effort to make people of all genders feel less nervous about entering public toilets in China, Beijing has initiated a campaign to promote gender-neutral bathrooms starting at the city’s bars.
The Beijing Gender Health Education Institute (BGHEI) launched the campaign in May by urging private organizations to put up “All Gender Toilet” signs on their restrooms. With help from the UN Women and UN Development Program the campaign has so far been a success, with more than 30 non-governmental offices, bars and coffee shops taking part, Women of China reports. In order to further spread the campaign, BGHEI plans to create a map of all the gender-neutral bathrooms in the city.
The signs are featured at several bars in downtown Beijing, as well as in Hebei province and Chongqing. They feature three figures: one in a dress, one in pants and one that is dressed in half-dress and half-pants, indicating that the toilets are open to everyone, regardless of their sex. Yang Gang, chief of the campaign, said that these “gender-friendly toilets” will be a great help to transgender parents with children.
Beijing isn’t exactly ground zero for LGBT tolerance (check out this lovely video from 2014, for example), but thus far, the initiative has sparked no significant condemnation or outrage online. Essentially, the whole thing is the exact opposite of the backlash that followed a controversial law passed in North Carolina in March that required individuals use public restroom facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate.
So, if you are keeping track at home. In LGBT rights: Beijing 1; NC 0.
By Katie Ngai
[Images via People’s Daily]