Catherine Sullivan (she/her)
This summer, a pillar of queer culture on campus was tragically vandalized: the Sapphic Stall in the first-floor Mason Hall women's restroom.
The Sapphic Stall in the first-floor Mason Hall women’s restroom had long served as a pillar of queer culture on campus. For years, sapphics (women-loving-women) wrote cute notes on a small painted-over section of the inside-stall door. The occasional homophobic message appeared on the door, but each was quickly covered by marker, then by more messages celebrating sapphic life. Several of the messages are memorialized here:
The anonymity and perseverance associated with the positive messages has always prompted a smile as well as reassurance that there are fellow LGBTQ+ people and our allies wherever we go. When I was a freshman moving to Ann Arbor from a less accepting area, discovering the Sapphic Stall was a special kind of wordless welcome. It was just Sharpie on a wall, but it meant that this was somewhere different. Somewhere queer people are everywhere and queerness is as much a fact of life as the very walls of the bathroom.
Unfortunately, the Sapphic Stall was tragically vandalized this summer. Someone scratched off the paint making up the years of messages, erasing the years of community represented on the door. Few of the original messages show through and none remain readable. A passing observer would have no way of distinguishing the once-proud history exemplified on the stall door from the average message scrawled on the wall. I hate to think that today’s freshmen won’t have the same welcome I was so lucky to have. Faced with a likely irreparable loss to the University of Michigan’s queer culture, all we can do is record the history of the Sapphic Stall here and remember what it has represented to us.