Archives for posts with tag: FTM

I signed on to direct a workshop of a wonderful play by my friend Tobias K. Davis: The Naked I: Monologues from Beyond the Binary.  It was a really hard decision because I’m a) already directing the queer musical that is making me tear my hair out and b) not really interested in directing much anymore. It’s hard for me to muster the enthusiasm. Ever since I went to ensemble theater school (read: clown school), working live performance in a traditional way is a bit boring to me. But this play needs exposure, and I need  desperately to connect with queer community, so I agreed.

Also, when the play was first written, Toby asked me to play one of the seminal characters, and because I was scared of my life and my gender identity and my butchness being all exposed on stage (not to mention actually nude), I turned it down.

Here’s a little promo from a colleague’s Minneapolis production a few years ago:
In February 2009, 20% Theatre Company took the Twin Cities by storm with its production of The Naked I: Monologues From Beyond the Binary by award-winning, transgender playwright, Tobias K. Davis. Often compared to the Vagina Monologues, The Naked I was made up of monologues and short scenes in which transgender, transsexual, intersex, and a variety of other gender-variant individuals explored their bodies and dissected society’s assumptions. This play was based on interviews conducted in New England by the playwright. Our production sold-out all five performances at Bedlam Theater, and involved over 25 members of the local queer community.

LA really needs this. The college where we’re mounting it really needs this. I’m glad to finally be a part of it.

Location: the Silverlake Reservoir, Sunday strolling

Look: super confident transman, strutting his stuff with a pretty blonde at his side and a pretty pooch on the line.

This guy shared an amazing smile with me and the PGF. Love that.

 

I have to just come out and say it: I’m weirded out that the other FTM character in the play I’m performing in this week is being played by a genetic guy. A guy who is a working, handsome, white, probably straight, and yes -talented- actor in LA. A guy who I’m guessing has never been an outsider, unless it was because he was an actor, which is pretty far from being an outsider because you feel like you’re living in the wrong body. He’s doing a fine job – but in the scenes where his character is talking to his girlfriend, he’s just… a man. A cis-man. A man who is used to being a man, with all the privileges (and stress, and difficulties) that come with that. He’s not a man who chose to be a man. Who used to be a woman. And it bugs me.

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I went off to the play audition for the FTM character last Thursday dressed in my college-years best: baggy khakis, full binding, gray t shirt with blue plaid button down and a black skater jacket. Incidentally, my college gf was in town visiting – her comment when I came out to leave for the audition was: “Whoa, does somebody have a cappella rehearsal or what?”  because I had basically regressed ten years. (Not that I consider keeping in touch with my trans identity regressing, it’s simply a style thing. I don’t wear a lot of khaki these days, much less full binding.)

I was, as is usual when I go out for LGBT parts, worried that I didn’t look butch or trans (or old or young) enough.  I needn’t have worried.

How do I say this? Friends, I was the ONLY women they saw for the part. Everyone else there was a cis-man. Straight up Male. And unless the two guys who came in right as I was leaving were fully transitioned FTMs who passed so well I couldn’t read them at all, there were no other queer or otherwise trans identified folks there, save for one excellent and flamboyant drag queen (isn’t there always one excellent and flamboyant drag queen?). I was the only butch in a button down.

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I just received notice of an audition I have on Thursday for a quick little show with a successful director/producer team across both film and theater. Whenever I hear I have an audition, my first reaction is always instantaneous, unbridled fear, and after I get that out of the way, I start looking at the notice, figuring out what I need to prepare and how to dress and all of that. All the real work.

This audition is a bit different. The role I’m reading for is FTM trans, so there’s a part of me that knows it well. The part that lived and breathed trans culture and my own trans identity, when I was 21 and 22. Then there’s the 30 year old, mostly comfortable butch part of me that says, wait – did I “take” this opportunity from a trans actor?

I’ve been in LA long enough now to know that there are very, very few (if any) out, FTM trans actors here. I know my tagline jokingly states that I’m the only butch actress in LA, but that’s not my own arrogance. It’s the fact that after growing up here for 17 years and returning here for the past three, I’ve only had one audition where there was another butch woman in my age range called. And she got the part. 🙂  – So really I should say that I’m the “only other butch in LA except for that one who booked that music video last year.” (And, of course, the women playing at a more established level – the Ellens, the Julie Goldmans, etc.)

I must point out that I have had the pleasure of meeting several MTF lady actresses out here, one of whom was signed by my former agent while I was still with him. And, of course, LA is fairly drenched with drag queens and gay men.

The point I’m getting to is that while I’m excited for the opportunity to audition for an interesting role that directly means something to me, my life, and the audiences I care most about, I also hope that they found a good handful of talented FTMs to see as well. The sad thing is, from my experience here, I doubt it. We’ll see – I would love to meet them.

**(A side note – I’m signing up for something called the SAG Conservatory, which is a series of workshops for Screen Actors Guild members. Conservatory members also get preferential casting for AFI student films, and on the application you check all the boxes you want to be considered for – M, F, FTM trans, and MTF trans. I was pleasantly surprised at these options. If they add Intersex, Genderqueer, Other, and None, I think we’ll be good to go.)

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