Asda has been commended for updating its disabled toilet signs with something far more inclusive.
The supermarket chain’s new and improved sign reads, “not every disability is visible” and shows an icon of a man, a woman and a person in a wheelchair.
The sign was spotted by Emiley Slater at the Asda Superstore on Monks Cross Shopping Park, York.
It was later shared on the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Facebook page, where it has garnered almost 10,000 reactions and over 2,000 shares.
Nicky Painting commented on the post: “Finally some recognition for those [with] hidden disabilities. Crohn’s has been my nemesis for years yet I always feel judged for using disabled facilities. Well done Asda.”
Zoe Sleigh, who has Crohn’s disease, said the new toilet sign is a “great idea”.
The 25-year-old from Telford told The Huffington Post UK: “I have a special key for the disabled toilets but I still get strange looks from people and feel uncomfortable using them.”
Sleigh said that disabled toilets allow her to preserve her dignity, by giving her more privacy to deal with her colostomy bag than a public toilet would.
She added: “I think the whole ‘disabled’ toilet situation needs a rethink.
“Going to the toilet is a personal issue as it is, let alone if you have constant bowel problems.”
She said that it would be good to see public toilets catering for those with invisible illnesses like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
“Instead of having 20 toilet cubicles in a restroom, maybe make them slightly bigger with walls that go from floor to ceiling, or at least all the way to the floor, so it offers more privacy.”
She concluded that Asda changing its disabled toilet sign is a start, though.
“Hopefully it will serve as an eye-opener to others who are oblivious to other people’s needs,” she said.
“It’s one of those situations where, unless you’re in it or know of someone going through it, people turn a blind eye. But I don’t think that it’s their fault, there’s a huge lack of awareness surrounding it.”
For years, people with invisible illnesses have been tutted at and challenged for using disabled toilets – because they don’t necessarily “look” disabled.
Last year, 24-year-old Crohn’s sufferer Ste Walker penned an incredibly brave and personal post explaining why people should think before they judge him for using disabled facilities.
He wrote: “People are too quick to judge these days, just because I look normal and speak normal, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a major disability.”
Samantha Cleasby, who has inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), penned a similar open letter to the public after a woman tutted at her when she went to use the disabled toilet.
“I know you saw me running in, with my able bodied legs and all,” she wrote. “You saw me opening the door with my two working arms. You saw me without a wheelchair. Without any visible sign of disability.
“You tutted loudly as I rattled the handle with my hands that work perfectly and my able voice call to my kids that I’d be out in just a minute.”
She asked people to have more empathy for people in her position.
“Take a moment,” she wrote. “Remember that not all people who have the right to use disabled toilets are in a wheelchair.
“Some of us have a jpouch, a lot of us have an Ostomy bag that needs emptying and changing with the use of space, a sink and a bin. And even more of us just don’t want to shit our pants in public.”