Places of vulnerability: an investigation of restroom symbols, labels, and gender neutrality
There are few places left in United States society that represent gender segregation. Restroom spaces are one such place. They represent the false dichotomy that gender is only male and female, leaving out other possibilities. Separating restroom spaces by gender also negates user needs, particularly among the disabled and families. By symbolically renegotiating the restroom so that it is gender neutral, this space will be more open to the needs of users regardless of gender, age and ability.;Gender neutral restrooms allow free movement of all people and gives recognition to the needs of transsexuals, intersexuals, cross-dressers, gender ambiguous persons, parents with small children, persons with disabilities, and persons requiring and giving assistance to utilize the facilities.;This thesis is an examination of the literature that surrounds the issues of gender in terms of medicine and biology, historical perspectives of gender and dichotomies, and current societal attitudes towards gender division. This thesis also tests symbols that represent gender neutral restrooms and analyzes user reactions to the symbols.