“I really wanted restrooms to be named after me,” said John Waters at the Baltimore Museum of Art, at an October 27 reception commemorating new gender-neutral bathrooms bearing his name. “Why? Public restrooms make ALL people nervous! Sometimes they attract perverts. And they’re fueled by accidents, just like my favorite contemporary art.”
In an official statement, the BMA said it is “proud to name its new gender-neutral restrooms for the incomparable artist/author/actor/filmmaker—and now BMA Trustee—John Waters.” The celebratory event for Waters and friends marks the completion of the restrooms and their official naming before he embarks on a national tour of spoken-word performances.
Waters gave a speech in the BMA’s Fox Court under the twinkling lights of Spencer Finch’s “Moondust” installation to an adoring audience. “When I heard the new restrooms could be remodeled for all genders I was even more excited,” he said. “I could be part of a much needed public elimination upgrade. Finally we can all go to the bathroom together in full privacy. That’s what I call progress!”
His announcement was met with applause and cheers and, although he peppered his remarks with his trademark humor, his message was serious: transgender people should to be able to use the restroom and we all deserve privacy and respect in such an essential personal space. According to the museum, the idea for naming a gallery and the restrooms came as a request from Waters when he decided to bequeath his fine art collection to the BMA. The museum hosted a dedication for the John Waters Rotunda gallery in May 2021.
Waters presented Elizabeth Coffey as his special guest that night, describing her as a “brave, talented underground actress and a gender-fluid body stuntwoman.” Waters introduced her as his friend for over forty years and said that her scene in Pink Flamingos was perhaps the “second most notorious” scene he ever filmed. The transgender actress is part of the Dreamlanders, an ensemble of actors and characters from various Waters films. “I owe her bigtime for helping me make that film so successful,” he said.