Archives for posts with tag: trans actors

I realized I never wrote about directing my  friend’s transgender-vagina-monologues-style play- “The Naked I: Monologues from Beyond the Binary” at a local college this past weekend.

I had said before that I wished I weren’t involved – and let me tell you I griped about it right up until I walked into the room with the actors on Friday. It was only a two-day commitment – one rehearsal, and then the reading itself. The cast consisted of three 18 and 19 year old cis-female actors and a 29-yr old actor friend of mine who was free and interested. We rehearsed for about one hour, tops. We didn’t even read the entire cut of the piece through.

But it was incredible. The hall was filled with interested, engaged college kids – male, female, queer, possibly trans – which alone was awesome since this campus is a fairly conservative private school. The audience was incredibly enthusiastic, and loving, even when there were glitches and missed lines. Afterwards folks said they wished this play was performed every year there. It might be, and all the better.

I was reminded of the importance of telling these stories. That there IS an audience for what we queer and trans and butch and other folks have to say, and that only by speaking up to we even hear each other. I was reminded of how I, at 19, was too scared to perform in the original cast of this piece and how now, at 30, I would do it anytime – yes, even in light of all my griping. If I can stop focusing on myself for one moment I might actually get out of my own way. 🙂

And it was amazing to see Toby again. He has become a good, lovely man – he brings all the best qualities of a man to the table, and his talkback was a highlight of the event.  We looked at each other with interest after our ten-year absence, and noted that we’re still living some alternate dimension of each other’s lives. He has his lovely old New England house and partner and dog and job at the Prestigious Women’s College, his church and his soon-to-be graduate degree, and his queer and trans activism changing the world for the better. I have my rented room, my partner, my odd jobs and artistic crises, my constant struggle with putting myself and my queerness out there, my commitment to performing in lieu of security, which has so strongly affected my own queer and butch identity. But we shared our support for each other in these transformations, the weird paths that lives take. It was like an extended hug.

I really needed that.

 

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.)

Bad Behavior has blocked 153 access attempts in the last 7 days.