"The Bathroom Problem"
Tunnel book: inkjet print on paper, bookboard. Edition of 30 books.
"The Bathroom Problem" was created for The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History's "Queer Book Dioramas" exhibit, an exhibition on books that have been meaningful or that have contributed to the formation of the exhibitors' queer identities. Peer through the glasses and share a first-person vantage point in my reading of Jack Halberstam's Female Masculinity. This book, among others that I read when I came out in 2000 / 2001, helped bring the words "queer," "lesbian" and the phrase "gender deviant" to my awareness in a way that I felt I personally identified with. I wonder how many others might have recognized themselves for the first time while reading this book. The excerpt on the "Bathroom Problem" that you see in this diorama describes an all too familiar scenario for those who present as gender non-conforming or masculine: entering a women's bathroom only to be informed that you are in the "wrong bathroom" or that "this is the women's bathroom." This interaction is unnecessarily awkward, embarrassing and sometimes intentionally hostile, punishing those who don't present within a rigid gender binary system.