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Wesleyan University | Center for the Humanities



Bathroom Publics: Debilitation, Belonging, and the Limits of Inclusion

Victoria Pitts-Taylor • Wesleyan University 

April 15th @ 6pm • Daniel Family Commons 

For more than six years, a white trans teenager from Gloucester County, Virginia fought to be allowed to use the boys’ restroom. The legal fight, headed by the ACLU, inspired a host of public attention that positioned him as the face of trans youth and as representing civil rights for the 21stcentury. This talk will discuss how the case was advanced in the courts and in the public sphere through ‘constitutive exclusions’ that enfold some into fuller citizenship while excluding others. It considers how identitarian discourses articulated trans rights as racially unmarked, even while drawing from analogies with racial segregation, and produced neoliberal imaginaries of individual overcoming through visibility and recognition. It includes discussions of bathroom histories, legal debates, media activism, and a documentary film, and takes bathrooms seriously as sites of recognition, debilitation, and disposability.

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Center for the Humanities · 95 Pearl Street, Middletown, CT 06459

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