Queer Bathroom Monologues

Funder: SSHRC
Project Dates: 2012-2014
Principal Investigator: Sheila Cavanagh (York University)
Project Participants: Dr. Laura Levin and Dr. Judith Rudakoff in the Department of Theatre at York University
Community Partners: Brendan Healy, the artistic director at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre; Helen Kennedy, the executive director of Egale; Katina Watson, the Director of Programs and Services at YouthLink; Dr. Debra Pepler, the director of the LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth Research; and the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University.

This Public Outreach SSHRC Dissemination grant project is based on the PI's performance ethnography the "Queer Bathroom Monologues" (QBM). The QBM is based on fictionalized monologues inspired by interviews with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) folks published in Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality and the Hygienic Imagination (2010). The interviewees describe homophobic and transphobic experiences in the binary gendered toilet and how this room conditions hegemonic ideas about the body, sex and gender. A myriad of stories are told spanning from the devastating, to the sublime; the traumatic, to the passionate; the mundane, to the curious; the comic and everything in between. The QBM enacts how the rigidly gendered space of the toilet is both an opportunity for same-sex encounters but also an arena where gender binaries are strictly enforced. The play premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival in July, 2011, and won the Audience Pick Award. It will now be developed as a professional production at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre for a larger, community based audience in the greater Toronto area.