Gender is a galaxy

«Gender is a Galaxy» by Helvetiarockt shows the diversity of genders. The first action of «Gender is a Galaxy» took place in the toilets of the venues Schiffbau and Exil as part of m4music 2022 in Zurich. The aim is to raise awareness about gender diversity for visitors. The toilet as a space that is visited daily is suitable as an example, because: Not all people can freely choose their toilets, not all feel safe in toilets, not all find the infrastructure they need.

Gender-binary toilets exclude

Gender-binary toilets differentiate between men and women and reproduce stereotypes and norms of bodies and gender (for example with signage, spatial design). People who conform to this gender norm do not have to worry about their belonging in public toilets. People who do not conform to this norm because of their gender identity, their gender expression or their physical gender characteristics cannot do so and experience insults, expulsions and threats of violence. In addition, gender-binary toilets do not provide an option for non-binary people and people who resist categorisation.

Access for all regardless of gender

  • The debate on gender-neutral toilets is a debate on the social participation of all people. This concerns not only the category of gender, but also, for example, the categories of disability and age (children, older people). Accessibility and the possibility to accompany people to the toilet should be included in this discussion.

  • We are aware that the gender identity, gender expression and physical gender characteristics of each person cannot be judged or attributed based on a person’s appearance. All users should be free to choose their toilet.

  • We communicate our attitude that all people are welcome in the toilets. We also accompany the process of the switch to «All Gender Toilets» with the public and the team with appropriate means (for example with a notice).

  • We do not tolerate discrimination and violence of any kind. We can be contacted by those affected or have appropriate reporting channels and an awareness concept. We can take action if necessary.

  • We are aware that toilets are also used as shelters and places of retreat. We can meet this need with additional measures in the area of awareness (create safer spaces, on-site support).

  • We refrain from stereotypical labelling. Often it is sufficient to indicate the number of toilets, urinals and accessibility. This information can be supplemented with a caption such as «All Gender Toilet».

  • We add handrails to the toilets to increase accessibility. We can also meet further needs with different heights for the sink and mirror fittings. Good illumination and high-contrast colours of the fittings and holders make them easier to use.

  • We provide hygiene products (e.g. pads, tampons, wet wipes) and hygiene containers in all toilets.

  • Baby changing tables should be accessible to all, which is why we provide access in all toilets.

  • In the best case, we set up several barrier-free individual cubicles with a washbasin and with sufficient storage space, space and light.

  • We seek exchange with experts and professional networks such as Transgender Network Switzerland (TGNS) and Kulturinklusiv, especially in the case of new buildings.

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