January 18, 2018 - In 2014, Reliance Health began an initiative to be more trauma-informed and gender-sensitive. Our goal was to improve the experience of members, from the moment they walked through our doors. Part of this initiative encouraged us to review our practices, policies, and physical layout to ensure a trauma and gender informed and responsive environment for all.
One of the first areas that was addressed in this process was our bathrooms. At our 40 Broadway and 2 Cliff Street sites we noticed that we had gender assigned, single-stall bathrooms. We discussed how this may alienate individuals who did not identify as male or female, or who may be experiencing gender confusion. We immediately realized that we had an opportunity to make a change to be more gender-sensitive. We decided to transition our 10 bathrooms from gender-assigned to gender-neutral spaces, promoting choice, respect, and dignity.
While we could have easily remove the signs from the doors and declared our efforts a success, we wanted to ensure that the shift from gender-assigned bathrooms to gender-neutral bathrooms was clear for both our staff and members. A quick internet search provided us with signage that would promote the gender-neutrality, however, the cost of replacing the 10 signs was more than our budget would allow. Enter SmartSign.
SmartSign is a signage company based out of Brooklyn, NY. They are “committed to making signs that ensure the protection, respect & safety of others”. We reached out to SmartSignand were thrilled with their offer to donate the 10 “All-Gender Bathroom” signs. Within a week we had new signage to promote our shift to gender-neutral bathrooms.
We recently requested that SmartSign provide us with 8 more “All-Gender Bathroom” signs for the new bathrooms that we acquired with the purchase of the Cliff Street property. Without hesitation, SmartSign sent us 8 more signs, free of charge! We are incredibly grateful to SmartSign for supporting our initiative to be gender-sensitive, in turn supporting the people we serve, our agency, and our community.