Signage Companies Expect Boom in Business of Gender-Neutral Bathroom Signs

Architecture firms and sign makers say there's been an uptick in bathroom signs.

— -- Gender neutral bathroom signs are slowly growing in popularity, and signage designers and architects expect a boom in the business of making them.

"I fully expect to see a significant number of orders for such signs in the future," said Ken Ethridge, business development manager with ASI Signage Innovations, which describes itself as the largest architectural signage company in the U.S.

In her 15 years with ASI Signage Innovations, Lauren Corrigan, operations manager in New York City, never sold any transgender bathroom signs. But this year, the firm's educational clients have spent about $1,000 for signs, Corrigan said. And recently, a large local college recently requested 152 of the signs that cost about $8,000, she said. Ethridge adds that the company typically works on larger projects that take a while for designers to assemble and put into production.

"It’s a free-for-all now -- until there’s some kind of consensus on how to express this contentious issue," he said.

He said anyone can go to Home Depot or Lowe's today and buy a mass-produced sign saying 'Restroom,' 'Men' or 'Women.'

"You won’t find one that says, 'Transgender Restroom' — yet," he said.

"As a result we’ve been doing these kinds of facilities for quite some time," Kocher said.

His clients are still willing to spend the extra cost for additional single bathrooms instead of multiple stalls in one bathroom. One university in the Midwest recently asked him for 18 single-user restrooms for a three-story building.

Most U.S. states adopt building codes created by the International Codes Council, which will require individual-user public toilets to be gender neutral in 2018, Bloomberg reported, but it's not clear if the council will address the multiple-user question for its next rules for 2021.