Although the image has been used countless times due to its powerful message, many people don’t know the illustrator. Jason Gross is a 22-year-old writer and artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2012, Gross drew an image that summed up the frustration and experience he felt over using the bathroom at his high school. Gross told Buzzfeed that his high school’s policy was for him to use the nurse’s bathroom—located on the other side of the school.
“I also hated going out in public because unless I was extremely lucky there wouldn’t be a gender neutral or single stall bathroom anywhere,” he said. “It was a constant source of anxiety for me knowing that if I pass I’ll look like a boy in the girls’ room, if I don’t pass I’ll look like a girl in the boys’ room, and either way this is inviting confrontation. I didn’t want confrontation. I just wanted to pee.”
He posted the image on his Tumblr artdweeb, and the powerful image went unnoticed at first, but started to become the de facto image when writing about bathroom policies. It showed up on blogs, websites, and social media.
When Gross’s illustration is used, it often receives thousands of likes and hundreds of reposts. The drawing has resurfaced after the Trump administration rescinded former President Obama’s guidelines that transgender children may use the bathroom in accordance to their gender identity.
Had he known that the image would be used to frequently, Gross says he would have added a signature, but he’s glad it has become so significant.
“It’s good to know that this isn’t just me being a baby and actually resonates with others,” he said. “So if it can help further the movement the way it seems to be doing I’m happy to let it go.” Gross said. [BF]