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