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In Search of a Gender Neutral Icon

Our UX team set out to develop a transgender icon. Have a look at what we came up with. We'd love your feedback.

Article Mar 08, 2018

Carrie Nickels

Do you know someone who is transgender? Transgender is an umbrella term for people with gender identity or expression that is different from their assigned sex or gender, including people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine.

Facebook provides 58 different gender options (so far) for people to choose from. The Williams Institute at UCLA estimates 0.6% of adults identify as transgender — someone who does not identify solely as Male or Female. That comes out to about 1.4 million people in the United States alone.

That’s 1.4 million people whose gender identity differs in part or totally from the socially constructed norms of Male or Female.

That’s 1.4 million people who don’t identify with the gender icons and signage that permeate the systems we use, the internet we surf, and public spaces we live in.

That’s a lot of people.

Designing a gender neutral icon

Our UX team began to research transgender concerns while designing an insurance sign-up portal and determined we wanted to use a gender neutral icon to graphically represent members. A strong driver for our decision is based on some of the statistics you see above — in the client’s target market share of 1.4 million transgender people comes to about 92,000.

Again, that’s a lot of people.

So out with the “restroom people”, our next step was to search for a good gender neutral icon. However, most of the ones we found from icon warehouses still leaned toward one gender or the other, frequently trying to combine pants and skirts in the same graphic. A quick search on a creative site like dribbble.com for “gender icon(s)” returned more than 40 results. Search again for “genderless icon” or “gender neutral” and you get nothing — 0 results.

Our goal was to create a perfect-good-looking-genderless icon. Designing our own gender neutral icon solves two problems for us: 1) we can begin to consider the 1.4 million people with gender identity issues, and 2) one gender neutral graphic can represent everyone, regardless of their gender or identity.

Sharing our work. Feedback welcome.

Below are the gender neutral icons we plan to evaluate with our target users. You are welcome to use any of the icons for your own work but please credit Pomiet. If you would like to have the .svg file please contact us directly and we will send you the file.

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