Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Transgender icon and graphics

I have been watching along with the rest of the world as the issues faced by trans people receive an ever growing amount of attention, some good some not good but what is good is that trans people are no longer in the shadow, no longer marginalised as much as in the past and the furore over who gets to use which bathroom in state owned buildings in the USA has really shown how small minded  people can be when it comes to what they fear. It is sad that just because someone is a little different or does not fit with a very limited concept of what people are supposed to be that fear and not genuine curiosity should be the first thing to surface.

In 2007 I designed this graphic icon with the intention that it serve as an all purpose image for people who did not fit the gender binary, for intersex people if they wanted it, to illustrate androgyny,
 for bisexual people, gender non conforming folks of all stripes and of course primarily for trans people and to represent a duality of human nature. At the time I did not see anything visually representative other than the usual arrow logo and a flag, I thought it was high time we had a person icon so I designed one.

The icon on the Noun Project HERE   ... since removed due to licensing and trademark concerns

 I have seen it used and remixed in many ways and copied, emulated, used for bathroom signs by other designers and generally entered into the visual language of icon graphics. This is pretty cool.

The first time I  saw it used on a large scale was when I stumbled across this wonderful project, Lava Mae in San Fransisco who proudly use it on the side of their buses that travel around SF, a famouzly lgbt friendly city providing homeless people of every persuasion with the basic human dignity of a shower. What a wonderful project.

Lava Mae

Then more recently I was surprised to see the wonderful tv show Transparent using a version of it that features the pattern of an outfit worn by the lead character.

I had, a couple of years ago read two articles by people slagging off the design as offensive and at the time it bothered me but for some reason I did not get in touch to explain the reason for my design, I know that I should have but I was uninterested in getting into an argument on the internet. I can not find them now or remember exactly where I saw them.

I have seen clothing designer ALLISFAIR  gain a huge amount of good press lately with their design and I am happy to see this and to see how art and design really can get people thinking about important social issues. heir coverage has really opened things up beautifully.
See what Allisfair is up to and find out how you can get hold of their Trans inclusive toilet door/ bathroom signs as well as their fantastic range of clothes.

Why am I writing this post? Well, I have of course made the design available on a range of POD t-shirts and am currently working on securing funding to set up a screen printing operation where I can produce them myself on  fair trade shirts and other apparel, A percentage of  each of the sales will be donated to trans groups in my local area and further afield once it is up and running, these POD sales will ensure I can pay for the set up.
Also, I want to say my piece about the silly fears over who uses what bathroom in the USA.

one of the versions of the designs I have made available on t-shirts

If you fancy it, grab a shirt from Skreened

Or from here and on Redbubble

So whether you are using one of my original designs or a remixed version or someone else's version or interpretation it is an exciting thing that this little design has been picked up and is being used in so many positive ways and I am proud of this little piece of work I did nearly 10 years ago and have created a few different version of and designs with over the years.

here are a couple of my other versions ( just because) :
click to see larger

Here below is one of the very first original ( and very bad) versions of the design I did. I have refined it significantly since then.
 So it has gone through a few incarnations on my sketchpad as you can see and is something I am still playing with and including in new designs, seriously though what is important to me is that I am able to create revenue that I can share with people who need it. There are trans people who are homeless, have trouble supporting themselves, are abandoned by family and generally have a hard go in life so while I consider myself fortunate I am aware many are not, this is going to be a way for me to give some support to people who need it.

I feel I should add, for the record that the growing backlash among certain groups in the US against allowing trans people to use whichever bathroom they feel comfortable in has me worried, it has been shown time and again that the only people who face adversity and potentially dangerous encounters in these places are the trans people who seek only to relieve themselves like anyone else. It is unfathomable to me that there are such a high number of people who are taking up this "cause" and positing that trans people should be excluded from performing a necessary and basic human function.  It is a disgraceful thing but one I know people of concience and decency are not involved with.

No one should be at all interested in what another does in a bathroom or public toilet facility at all, it is not your business and let me be perfectly honest when I tell you that trans people have been doing the same thing you have in toilets across the globe for many years and no one was any the wiser, no one even thought about it. Why now are there so many people so consumed by this utterly ludricrous and wholely invented problem?

I challenge the peoplpe who wish to deny trans people this basic utility to provide actual evidence of the types of things they are afraid of, show us evidence of trans people "preying" on others, causing problems, anything.

I am 99 percent sure there will be nothing to show.

So stop it, just stop it.

Let us be, just as we have historically let you be. We want nothing special, just a normal life and to be able to do the same things everyone else does without the fear that we might be accosted for it, beaten for it, treated as subhuman and possibly murdered for it.

We are all human, we all exist at different point on the spectrum of human sexuality and gender identity.

If there are any LGBT and trans organisations who need graphics I will happily work with you free of charge as I know how hard it can be to fund these groups. Drop me a line.


Lets just live and let live, really and honestly.

November 2016

Twitter are running a hashtag campaign for the end of the year and are using the icon I designed, I was contacted by the ad agency responsible for putting it together and was told they had selected 20 images representative of issues currently at the forefront of conversation dutring the election and in the current news cycles, currently this image is in the in a subway station in lower Manhattan and I have to say, as I have had people opposite, like I said, something about it does the job and I suppose graphically this is the point, an image that can instantly tell you something.

A photo posted by #allisfair (@allisfairinloveandwear) on

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