PROUD, a LGBT-related group that aims to achieve a better life environment for LGBT individuals in Takamatsu City in Kagawa Prefecture, announced the winners of Neutral Toilet Sign Award on December 24th. 2 designs were selected by vote among112 designs. The group will ask public entities and companies to display the signs in multipurpose toilets in Kagawa Prefecture.
Restroom access issues frequently bother transgender people. (Sometimes, they meet with severe criticisms when they enter a restroom based on their sex identity.) Even though they try to use a multipurpose restroom, there are no signs for them so they say it is very inconvenient.
PROUD organized a design contest for a design to allow transgender people to use multipurpose restrooms as well as pregnant women and people with disabilities. They asked people to send their proposals last June and 112 designs were submitted as of last September. Last October, 12 judges, consisting of member of PROUD and designers, selected 11 designs. After that, the judges let people choose the best design by vote online. Finally, two designers were selected as winners.
One of the two received 488 votes and is designed by CONNECT, an adult entertaining information distributor in Tokyo. The designer commented “I made this design not only for LGBT people, but also for anyone who needs to use this restroom. It is important to achieve better understanding of LGBT people, but better understanding of all kinds people is important,too.”
The other one received 279 votes and is designed by Tadashi Naito. The designer commented “I divided my design into 4 sections. Each of the section represents people living with disabilities, elderly people, pregnant women. And the last one represents every one regardless of age and sex. I tried not to make my design too much LGBT because multipurpose restrooms are there for everybody. Nothing else matters.”
The leader of PROUD, Hiromi Fujita said that those designers who tried to avoid “limited representations’ such as rainbow colors of LGBT people and focused its message that multipurpose restrooms are for everybody” received more votes than the others.
She also said that she is now considering allowing people to use the two designs freely. “Any public entity and business can create their own design. I just want more people to know about this restroom issue facing many transgender people.”