Made from the same black impact-resistant ABS plastic as the Degenderator, for a perfect match that will resist decades of cleaning.
Standard US door sign dimensions of 6”in(152mm) wide and 8.75”(222mm) tall, should fit perfectly over most old, gendered signs. Specification Sheet
Mountable with included high-strength mounting tape, silicone adhesive, or both for ease of installation. Simply mount with inaccurate side facing the wall!
Why are we doing this?
The real world consequences of segregated restrooms:
60% of transgender Americans have avoided using public restrooms for fear of confrontation Source
30% of transgender and GNC people have eaten or drunk less to prevent the need to use the bathroom. Source
Rates of urinary tract infections and kidney damage are very high in these marginalized communities as a consequence of restroom avoidance. Source
Transphobic bathroom bills (now defeated) contributed to a 2x increase in calls to TransLifeline, a suicide prevention hotline. Source
All gender bathrooms benefit everyone, resulting in shorter lines, and better access for families and people with attendants.
Single-User vs Multi-User Restrooms
Single-User restrooms have one toilet, one sink, and a locking door. Most coffee shops, all airplanes, and your house have this type of bathroom.
Multi-User Restrooms (airport, office, school, etc) many flimsy stalls with huge gaps around the doors, often urinals without any kind of partition, and shared sinks.
To de-segregate existing single-user restrooms all it takes a new sign and the installation of menstrual supplies and a small wastebasket in both newly-desegregated rooms.
Everyone benefits from all restrooms being gender neutral, but multi-user bathrooms have architectural problems that make de-gendering very complex. Enhancing stall privacy and enclosing any urinals are the minimum improvements required for most of such bathrooms. Simply changing a sign is not enough to make multi-user facilities safe and comfortable for all users. More information here.
All-Gender Signage is required in much of the US.
While all restrooms should be gender neutral, increasing numbers of US states and cities have mandated that all public single-occupant restrooms be all-gender facilities. California, New Mexico, Vermont, Illinois, Washington DC, New York City, Denver,Seattle, Philadelphia, and Austin have laws now, and more laws are passing every month. Thanks to plumbing code changes, 39 additional states will require such signs starting in 2021. Based on some rough math, 10 million+ businesses must de-gender their facilities—but most have no idea. Compliance with these laws is very low, this project strives to spread awareness to business owners that they are out of compliance, and make it easy for them to fix the issue by getting new signage.
I started “work” on this project when I was 8, when after playing with a corkscrew I became convinced both bathroom icons were in fact the same person. I finally tried to build it in 2012 when I was studying electrical/kinetic art at Carnegie Mellon. Other projects got in the way, and I set it aside many times, finally making a working model in 2017. Realizing motors were a bad choice, I strived for a simple, silent, fast mechanism. I finally found it in the form of those waving cat figures that run for years on a battery. A few years, 25 designs, and a trip to China later and I am ready to get these things made.
Recent Historical Precedent:
In 2014 Sam Killermann drew a toilet and declared the toilet iconography debate over, having managed to clearly communicate what lies behind the doors of western restrooms.
Later in 2014, it took off and a manufacturer began producing the signs, offering them free of charge to qualifying organizations/campuses
In 2016, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to produce similar signs to engage in de-gendering of public restrooms. While the Degenderator team admires their campaign, no affiliation or endorsement exists between the Degenderator and the Degenderettes, just very similar names.
2018, the Stalled! project combines critical design and critical theory where academics (Including architect Joel Sanders, law professor Terry Kogan, and trans historian/activist Susan Stryker) try to design the ideal restroom to suit the needs of as many people as possible.
Just like the waving Maneki-Neko cats all around the world, the Degenderator uses small pushes to keep a pendulum going for years on the included batteries. See video for more info:
The process of designing the Degenderator consisted of taking many, many toys apart to see what kind of movements and linkages are suitable for this type of mechanism. I learned enough to design my own versions in 3D design and simulation software, Fusion 360. After printing 25 different versions, i finally had one that was good enough to manufacture.
Where does the money go?
Manufacturing is expensive, nothing can be manufactured at scale without making expensive tooling. In our case, this means the 3D milling of intricate aluminum molds for the injection molding process.
Huge thanks to the engineers and artists who helped overcome technical obstacles, including Maria Yablonina and Josh Levine.
Bode Riis, whose videography made this video possible.
The team at Constellation who hosted me in Shenzhen and helped me find manufacturers.
Everyone who took time to give me advice and who has shared this campaign!
Risks and challenges
The logistical risks are being lessened considerably by using dedicated services for fulfillment and logistics. BackerKit and ShipBob are renowned for their efficiency and ease of use, which will get you your rewards faster. I am working with manufacturing professionals, accountants, and others to ensure everything is accounted for.
The technical challenges of this project have been overcome through iteration and confirmation with 4 separate kinetic toy manufacturers. The 3D printed prototype has been confirmed to work with 4 different brands of waving-toy-specifiic microchips, as well as 3 different coils, and 3 different kinds of AA batteries. 15% of the proceeds are being held as a safety measure in order to account for any new tariffs, sales taxes, duties, or unforeseeable costs. If these costs don’t materialize, the proceeds will be donated to trans advocacy non-profits.