One of the most popular attractions at the annual Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto — an 18-day fair with rides, concerts and vendor booths — has been its restroom signs featuring a gender-fluid person above the words “WE DON’T CARE”.
Apparently, the CNE needed to purchase new signs anyway and told Buzzfeed News, “All-gender washrooms makes for better flow and greater capacity.”
The artist behind the signs is Peregrine Honig, a Kansas City lingerie shop owner. She created the trans-friendly signs as a way to protest North Carolina’s transphobic law requiring people to use restrooms that match their birth certificate, a law aimed at inconveniencing and keeping trans people out of the public eye.
Changing a birth certificate can be a long and bureaucratic process — North Carolina won’t legally change a person’s gender on one unless they have gender affirmation surgery, a procedure that can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $50,000. The cost is a lot to ask, especially considering the trans community’s higher rates of economic instability caused by legal discrimination and hostile environments.
Honig says she wishes that someone would covertly place her sign in the North Carolina statehouse. She also says that she added braille to the sign because, “It becomes very intimate, knowing a blind person would touch it and realize it says ‘We don’t care.’ I love the idea that a blind person can’t see anyway what sex someone is. It speaks very much to love is blind, and gender is blind.”
Before the transphobic bathroom bill was passed in North Carolina, some trans people protested bathroom bills by posting selfies of themselves with the hashtag #WeJustNeedToPee. North Carolina’s needless bill caused the National Basketball Association (NBA) to move their all-star game out of the state; some businesses cited the law as well in their decision not to invest in the state. Over half of North Carolinians don’t support the law and the governor’s disapproval rating has dropped to 49 percent, the lowest it has been since passing the law.