A theatre in Dunedin, a tiny city in the south of New Zealand with population of about 100,000 people, just became a world-leader in gender, ability and um… interplanetary inclusivity.
In March the city’s 1650 seat Regent Theatre installed a new sign outside its two unisex restrooms welcoming persons of different abilities, genders and even – tongue placed firmly in cheek – planet of origin. Below an image of an alien is the sentence “Whatever, just please wash your hands.”
The brainchild of theatre director Sarah Anderson, the sign “was created to help people feel much more cozy and safe.” Regent Theatre’s Marketing Manager Hannah Molloy said that “It’s a pleasure to see people feeling comfortable and relaxed and that is exactly the meaning of the sign.”
“People who perhaps feel uncomfortable by going into toilets identified for exact gender, may no longer worry about it.”
“Coming to see performing arts should be a fun, exciting, magical experience. It’s taking any pressure points off for people, making sure people have an enjoyable time,” she said.
Unlike other countries where the fight for trans people to use public bathrooms corresponding with their identified gender has become highly politicised, locals have congratulated the Regent for the move on social media.
“People were very pleased, we haven’t had any negative comments yet. This means that society is ready for changes,” Molloy said.