‘What­ever. Just wash your hands’

B.C. school uses hu­mour with gen­der-neu­tral bath­room sign


MAPLE RIDGE, B.C.— A gen­der-neu­tral bath­room in a Bri­tish Columbia high school is pro­vid­ing some chuck­les with a les­son in hy­giene.

A large, blue sticker on the wash­room door has an im­age of a per­son wear­ing both pants and a dress stand­ing next to a per­son in a wheel­chair.

Un­derneath it reads: “What­ever. Just wash your hands.”

Some stu­dents at Sa­muel Robert­son Tech­ni­cal Sec­ondary School in Maple Ridge, east of Van­cou­ver, came up with the idea and the sign was made as part of an art project.

It was re­cently put up on a for­mer staff-only, sin­gle-use wash­room.

A spokesper­son with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Mead­ows School Dis­trict says many of its schools have added gen­der-neu­tral or all-gen­der wash­rooms, but this one is unique.

The other bath­rooms all have the same dis­trict-ap­proved sign — an im­age of a toi­let and a hand­i­capped sym­bol, says Irena Po­chop.

That sign went up be­side the gen­der-neu­tral bath­room at Sa­muel Robert­son school last year and a small rain­bow sticker was put in the cor­ner of its door. But not many peo­ple no­ticed.

“We needed to pro­mote that it was there,” says Aaron, a mem­ber of the school’s gay-straight al­liance group, who asked that his last name not be pub­lished be­cause he is still com­ing out as trans­gen­der to peo­ple in his life.

Dif­fer­ent gen­der-neu­tral signs have been pop­ping up on bath­rooms around the world in re­sponse to trans­gen­der rights.

Aaron says the new sign in his school in­jects some hu­mour while con­vey­ing the bath­room is for ev­ery­one.

And, maybe in the end, it’s keep­ing ev­ery­one a bit cleaner too.

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