Arşiv - 2015 - 17 Mayıs 2015

Room for a new thought: Queering bathrooms against trans erasure

 

Sheila L. Cavanagh at the Kaos GL’s Anti-Homophobia Meeting: “Trauma is being thrust into a transitional space where one’s possibilities as a subject collapse. My intention was to highlight the experiences of trans people excommunicated from the public space.”

 

Associate Professor in Sociology at York University Sheila L. Cavanagh discussed the relationship between queer theory, LGBT activism, theatre and politics at the 10th International Anti-Homophobia Meeting in Ankara.

 

Cavanagh is the writer of a pedagogical play about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) experiences in Canada’s gendered public facilities called Queer Bathroom Stories. She investigated how sex segregated designs function to discipline ways of being gendered at odds with cis-gender body politics.

 

Cavanagh said she was interested in questions of representation and audience reception, specifically how people engage, refuse and contest trans-specific parts in her play.

 

Give the research a human face

 

“Performance ethnography involves dramatic staging of one’s research or ethnographic notes. But it seeks to dramatize the complexities of a research question, a political issue or a topic of investigation,” Cavanagh said, stressing that theater is an under-used media as a catalyst to enhance education and discussion.

 

Cavanagh told research suggests many trans people experience forceful removal from bathrooms and said:

 

“My intention was to highlight the experiences of trans people excommunicated from the public space.”

 

Providing counter-discourses against trans erasure

 

She mentioned there are three characters in the play; Female, played by a white lesbian, Male, played by a queer black man and Trans, played by a multiracial gay man.  

 

Cavanagh showed some clips of her play by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and explained how she tried to show social exclusion, erasure and invisibility of trans people in gendered facilities such as a change room of a swimming pool.

 

“Trauma is being thrust into a transitional space where one’s possibilities as a subject collapse,” said Cavanagh, emphasizing that trauma goes in parallel with trans erasure and silence surrounding around toilets is mirrored in academic circles, as well.

 

The 10th International Anti-Homophobia Meeting is supported by the Embassy of Canada, the Embassy of Germany, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the SIDA.