gender warriors: something a little different, and utterly disarming.

last night we went to the Cabaret to see Justin Vivian Bond.

we know! so Christopher Isherwood and between-the-wars Berlin (many of those darling 30s haircuts in the audience in fact)! the experience was uplifting and unsettling and curiously exhilarating.

as an event, it was also a return to some of the more questioning periods of our life around Gender and Identity and Sexuality – yes, the big questions (we draw your attention for this one to Julie Andrews – no, not as the nun or the nanny but when she donned a dashing chap’s suit and then sequins and life was never the same again under the spotlight).

so – last night – with our friends HH (in from the Other Coast just for the evening – tres glam) and mC and koC (both native east coasters and also deeply experienced in the NYC cabaret scene) – we took our seats for a Most Enlivening evening’s entertainment.

waiting at Joe’s Pub (next to the famous Public Theater on Lafayette) for the night to start (we had just seen David Byrne in the lobby so life was already gleaming and starlike in a very chic way).

we couldn’t get any closer from our supper spot so here’s a better close-up shot of the lovely JVB by Amos Mac from the lovely blog fashion beyond fashion.

here’s how Justin would like to be addressed…..(from

Key Terms

prefix: mx

pronoun: V

gender: trans or T

full name: Mx Justin Vivian Bond

Many years ago while I was sitting at Cafe Flore in San Francisco, one of my favorite places on earth. I was approached by a transexual woman who engaged me in conversation and during our chat she said to me, “Justin, sooner or later you’re going to have to come down off the fence.”  I was quite taken aback by this statement as I hadn’t really thought of myself as being on a fence. But after some thought I realized what she was saying.  By saying I would have to come down “off the fence” she was saying that sooner or later I would have to make a choice and conform my identity to embrace the gender binary and validate her choice to climb over the fence to the “other side”.  Personally, for me, I have never believed there was another side for me to cross over to.  Sometimes I wish I did.  If I felt there was a clearly defined place for me to go, where I would be welcomed and at peace, I would surely have gone there many years ago.  At times I’ve almost been able to convince myself there was, but for me to claim to be “a woman” would feel just as false as the charade I’ve been asked to play for so much of my life of being “a man”.  Having said that, I will affirm that I do believe there is another side for others; for transexual men and women who fully embrace and are comfortable subscribing to the gender binary -to a polarized notion of gender. But please don’t assume that aspiring to pass is “realness”, because as far as I can see “realness” too is a construct built on shifting sand.  If you insist on serving “realness” don’t be surprised if it is declared to hard too swallow and sent back to the kitchen.  This applies to “real men”, “real women” and all of their enablers.  I’m not interested in the expression of “realness”.  I would like to be afforded the luxury of being free to be as honest as possible and to have my truth be respected.

So I remain on the fence but I am beginning hormone treatments not to become a woman but in order to actualize what I’ve always known myself to be -a trans person.  I want my body to be a declaration and physical manifestation of my transgendered spirit.  When I was younger I used to refer to myself as a “non-op transexual”, meaning I was a transexual who didn’t need to have surgery to assert what I was.  But I was wrong because without assertions people can only make assumptions and I no longer wish to indulge or refute the assumptions or labels other people choose to place on me, I simply want to inhabit my very clear vision of myself.

more here. 

isn’t that lovely?

we’d like to inhabit a very clear vision of ourself too.

and, darlings, that’s Exactly what we are digging into right now, post-surgery. who are we? and why did the blood test results come back with such a bad prognosis? and what are we doing wrong (if anything)? and can our body cope without desperately looking for the missing pieces and trying to overcompensate? where will we be happiest? doing what? is the skyscraper existence merely inspiration for a movie? it is a comedy (we hope so)?

and – in the meantime – through – there will be Cabaret. and Lots of Art and Writing and other glorious stuff.



6 thoughts on “gender warriors: something a little different, and utterly disarming.

  1. Glad you answered Stacy’s question (I was about to ask the same, mais en français, so it sounds as though the many senses of self, the ongoing (inevitable?) recognition of fragility on some level, and the sheer (life) force of will shall endure and become allies – albeit elegantly, discreetly, and with ample appreciation for all things Arts & Writing.

    So much that so many take for granted.

    So much to savor when we stop and pause.


  2. I love Mx. JVB. You are v lucky (see Maye West on furs). I saw V very recently, and have seen before. Try and get to see Lady J if you get a chance. I saw her with JVB once.

    I am very interested in a lot of the issues you mention and are thinking about. Gender, sexuality, definitions, transitions etc. So much to think about and so many ways of reinterpreting most of ours and societies pre and mis(s) conceptions.


  3. Sounds like a lovely evening! How grand. But allow me to pause at this: “why did the blood test results come back with such a bad prognosis?” Huh? I read back a few days and don’t feel I missed anything, but clearly I did. Please do tell.

    1. hello :-)

      hmmm. maybe we didn’t actually post that post – the one in our head – the disappointed one (due to blood tests) while distracted (due to snow and movies due to snowstorm).

      basically the surgeon (and btw, Thank You for asking! we are smiling as we write at your kindness) said that bad blood tests are “normal” for this part of the recovery – our poor body is wondering where the missing bits are and not able, yet, to compensate for the lack and re-distribution of functions (metabolism etc). so the blood tests showed why we are So Tired and cranky and why, when we got a mosquito bite (another one! from where?!) our poor left hand blew up like a volcanic-ness today and hurts). they changed the dosage and combination. and now we wait. until the next tests (7 weeks).

      apparently Quelle (not) JOY – this process goes on for five to six months if not a year.

      bloody hell (ha! indeed)

      _tg xxx

      1. Darling,

        So glad you clarified this. Like Stacy, I have been looking back through older posts and was not sure that I hadn’t missed something.

        I am so grateful you answered Stacy’s question.


        ABM XOX

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