A campaign has been initiated in Beijing to promote gender-neutral bathrooms, starting with the city’s bars.
The campaign was launched in May by the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute (BGHEI), urging private organizations to put up “All Gender Toilet” signs on their restrooms. The campaign, which has received help from the UN Women and UN Development Program, has so far been a success, with more than 30 non-governmental offices, bars and coffee shops taking part, Women of China reports. BGHEI also plans to create a map of all the gender-neutral bathrooms in the city.
The signs feature three figures: one in a dress, one in trousers and one with a dress on one side and trousers on the other, indicating that the toilets are open to everyone, regardless of their sex.
The issue of choosing bathrooms according to gender has been much discussed. In China, as a new concept, gender-neutral bathrooms are more valuable as something which can create debate than for their practical use. “We are not aiming to transform all bathrooms into gender-neutral ones, we are providing a possibility rather than a final plan” says Yang Gang, chief of the campaign. “Gender is not discussed extensively like air quality is, and gender-friendly toilets may become an opportunity.”