In this new art installment, Museum Siam encourages society to see beyond the gender binary system that classifies things as either masculine or feminine. Evidences of gender diversity and sexuality have been seen throughout Thai history since the Ayutthaya era, and Gender Illumination proves it by leading us through the “Gender Maze,” a labyrinth that meanders through the gender landscape of Thai culture.
The exhibition hits a nerve as it pointedly questions gender discrimination in the Thai Sangha Council, and then moves into a more global scale by positioning if separating public restrooms by gender prompted the beginnings of sexual segregation.
One part of the exhibit highlights 107 objects that hint of stories of personal gender expression. There are wreaths, graduation certificates, photographs, dolls, and correspondences between family members regarding sexual preferences.
You’ll even see the penis-shaped lipstick that caused Thammasat university lecturer Kath Khangpiboon to be fired from her position. Because of this controversy involving a phallic item, one Instagram post and a dragged-out court case between Kath and the university, we were exposed to a larger conversation on gender and the social constructs we place upon it.
Translated by Siripannee Supratya