Transgender access to public restrooms and inclusive design

If you live in North Carolina, and you haven’t been under a rock this past year, you should know at least something about the controversy surrounding House Bill 2. This law has sparked a series of conversations about public bathrooms, transgender North Carolinians, sexual assault, and signage.
All graduate students take a seminar class, and this semester’s focus has been research methods. Utilizing a variety of tools we applied research methods to a topic or question with the end goal of preparing a research proposal. HB2 influenced me greatly this past year so I took this opportunity to start researching and learning more about the experiences of transgender persons, gender inclusive bathrooms, and signage on college campuses.  enhanced-17079-1424986296-10            Through research, reading, interviews, and observations I learned a great deal of what it means to be transgender today, and how something as simple as using a bathroom can become a source of anxiety. I also learned how deeply signage is engrained in each of us, and how we react to gendered spaces. If you are cisgender chances are you think nothing of the standard male/female symbols you see every day on bathroom doors. But for someone who has trans, this bathroom sign can have a serious effect on their daily lives, and can even send aggressive and uncomfortable messages. Most of my research findings were anecdotal and subjective, but the project had a lasting impact. Let me know if you want to learn more, or if you’d like to talk. It’s been a fascinating topic.