April 18, 2005

Bathroom Talk

Bathroom Talk

As any educated member of society must know, the modern world is fraught with all kinds of problems: Terrorism; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; Kid Rock. Yet, of all the globe’s sundry problems, surely the most vexing—nay, the most oppressive—is the hegemony of the same-sex bathroom.

What’s that you say, dear reader? You don’t agree? Surely, then, you have not taken a gander at “Toilet Training,” a film by Tara Mateik and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

Thankfully, dear reader, there is an easy way to remedy this serious lapse. For a piddling $195, your university or institution can get its hands on a pristine VHS copy of “Toilet Training.” (Apparently, the movie’s not yet out on Beta.)

Sounds good, you say, but can you offer me a summary of the movie’s contents? Naturally, we could, but we think that we can scarcely do a better job than our friends at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Below you’ll find portions of their description of “Toilet Training” (which for some reason is momentarily unavailable on the World-Wide Web), to which we have affixed our own humble commentary.

Toilet Training

Toilet Training is a documentary video and collaboration between transgender videomaker Tara Mateik and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization dedicated to ending poverty and gender identity discrimination.

Very interesting. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” simply love Mr./Ms. Mateik’s videos. Especially the early work: As far as we’re concerned, nothing beats “Dances with Hermaphrodites.”

The video addresses the persistent discrimination, harassment, and violence that people who transgress gender norms face in gender segregated bathrooms.

Ah, the evil specter of segregation is again rearing its ugly head in American life. In American bathrooms, in fact. Perhaps the video will also address the damage gender integrated bathrooms pose to psyche of young males. As far as the male members of the crack young staff are concerned, there’s nothing quite as disturbing as witnessing the fact that young women are equally mephitic. In fact, that seems to trouble the female crack young staffers, too.

Includes discussion of legal questions of equal access; the health effects associated with “holding it”; and the social consequences of experiencing pervasive discrimination in bathrooms and other gendered spaces.

We hope that our friends at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project intend readers to interpret “holding it” metaphorically. We can imagine that there are many risks associated with holding a handful of urine. But we don’t think we want to hear about it.

This race, age, ability and gender diverse video is a great activist tool for those who want to struggle for self-determination and bathroom liberation for all people starting with local communities and institutions.

Let us overlook this last sentence’s clunky prose. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are delighted that the video is “ability diverse.” It seems as if the Sylvia Rivera project doesn’t discriminate against dullards. Actually, it might discriminate against those who aren’t certifiably insane.

But that’s neither here nor there. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have long been eager to join the “struggle for gender self-determination and bathroom liberation.”

Defecators of the world, unite!

Posted at April 18, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack