Jump to content
  • Welcome to the TransPulse Forums!

    We offer a safe, inclusive community for transgender and gender non-conforming folks, as well as their loved ones, to find support and information.  Join today!

Theater as a safe haven for the gender perplexed …


Riannon

Recommended Posts

Hello!

 

I spent the entirety of my working life in the theater, as an actor (mostly), a director, playwright, and administrator. Today, I'm 76. Over the years, I've changed my identity labels like a departures clapperboard in Union Station. I've been "questioning," "hetero crossdresser," "gay," "gay crossdresser," "trans-woman," and (seeing the category for the first time when I joined Pulse––and being non-op) "trans-feminine." Which is correct? At 76, that doesn't weigh heavily on me.

 

What I most curious to know is if there are others like me who found theater as a refuge from the day-to-day self-questioning: Who am I? Or more to the point: What am I? Frankly, I fled to theater as a perplexed teen, never knowing it would be my career. Theater has proven to be a glorious release: the lights, the costumes, the camaraderie, and––most importantly!––the many opportunities to explore other versions of ME.

 

I'd love to hear from others on this topic, not only from those who've been theater practitioners, but also from those who've enjoyed being in the audience, finding the experience to have been a path both to self-understanding and self-acceptance.

 

Cheers!

Riannon

Link to comment

Riannon, Interesting post. I have never been one who is comfortable being the center of everyone's attention & the thought of doing it real time, goosebumps. I do admire those of you who can. From one who prefers to blend in with the audience; I love the stories, performances where I resonate with a character & live vicariously through them, sometimes female, sometimes male. At the moment I can't recall any that profoundly enhanced my self understanding or acceptance. I found those through an honest in-depth look at who I really am & continue to do so.

 

Thanks for the topic,

Delcina

Link to comment
  • Admin

I never went into theater as a career, but I did almost all of my elective courses in college in Theater Arts.  In High School my counselor had noticed that I was in a fatal tail spin with a load of classes my father had insisted that I be in and had stressed me to the edge.  The counselor actually told my dad she was putting me into a Drama class and out of a math class he thought I should have.  It was about the mid point in the semester that the Drama Teacher took me aside and told me that she and the counselor and other people at the school had noticed that I seemed to be playing a character and was not being my real self and this was seen by my school mates as well which is why I was not fitting into my class really.  At the time they admitted that I probably did not know I was doing it and that since this was the early 1960's they really did not know what it could be.  I always felt fine up on stage doing acting but once again I got pressured into other things.  When I came out at age 61 after some relatives passed away I fully realized who and why I had been playing as roles in the past.  In September 2015 I accidentally got roped into a newly forming Chorus of ALL Trans people here in the Los Angeles area.  The Chorus is now in its second half of its fifth year and tonight we finished an online rehearsal about an hour ago. We do provide a safe haven for all or our members and are Chosen Family to almost all of our members at some point.  Through the Chorus, I have met people in the broader entertainment field, and have been a background artist in a major TV series that ended a year+ ago, and several documentaries on Trans life and other Trans people, a well as my own part of it and it all seems safe and natural.  It is fun because happily, my Stage Fright comes about 4 hours after the final curtain and I wake up thinking OMG I did THAT.  Colorado has a couple of Trans choral groups that my group teams up with in the past, and will in the coming months.

Link to comment

Hello, Delcina and Vicky!

 

Thanks for bringing this topic to life. I look forward to talking to you about theater and the trans life.

 

I can kick myself for not saying in my original post that I'd love to talk theater not only with those who have been on stage but also––and maybe even more so––with those who've enjoyed theater as members of the audience.

 

I have to beg your indulgence for not being able to reply at length right now, I'm having the water boiler in my home repaired, and at the moment it's 55 degrees here in my living room. A little too chilly for comfort! I'm about to shut down and spend the evening with a friends––and pray that when I return either later this evening or in the morning my home will be warm and toasty.

 

Take care. And again, thank you for contributing to this topic!

 

Riannon

Link to comment
  • Admin

Now now, no breaking a leg by kicking yourself.!!  I hope life warms up for you.

Link to comment

 

Good morning, Vicki. Thanks for your note.

And it is a good morning: I have heat again!

Your recollection of how a high school counselor had placed you in a drama class had me asking: How did I first end up in drama? My parents weren’t in the arts, nor did we live in a community known for its “arts scene;” the Northeast Bronx was hardly artsy! I have to thank what a miserable time I had had in junior high for propelling me toward the arts: to avoid going to the regional senior high school, where my miserable time would have continued, I applied for and was accepted by an arts high school in Manhattan. (Manhattan? The very idea terrified my mother: OMG, I’m losing my boy!) So unlike the kids I’d known in junior high, the boys and girls in my midtown arts school were welcoming, cheerful, and determined to make something of themselves (traits nowhere to be found in junior high). Mrs. McNally, my English teacher, who was also the drama club adviser, invited me to rehearsals. From there, the slope was a slippery one: in a matter of weeks, there I was: on stage, wearing a three-piece suit ten-times to big for me, with J&J Baby Powder in my hair, enacting the part of someone I wasn’t––and having the time of my life. The slippery slope now got even slipperier. So, as I think back (thanks to your post!), I see that Mrs. McNally’s drama club was my theater gateway drug.

As I must get this day underway (although my replying to you certainly qualifies as “underway”), I say bye-bye––yet I do want to hear more about your work with the trans chorus. What an intriguing endeavor. I’m all-ears!

Cheers,

Riannon
Link to comment

I've never actually acted other than playing the part of a guy for most of my life.

Several of my kids have in high school, and competed at the state level.  They had a pretty good program at the local level at the time.  I would have been terrified to get on stage myself.

I do have a hobby of writing fiction though.  I find that in writing the characters I have to put myself into them, and sort of become that character at the time.  It has allowed me to explore parts of myself that I never would have otherwise for better or worse.

It is interesting to watch movies based on books and see how the various actors bring the characters to life each in their own ways.

Link to comment

Hi, Jandi

 

I sure understand what you mean by "playing the guy." All of my life I had to deliberately "play" the part, especially when I found myself having to deal with an exceptionally masculine man. Repairman coming to my house always seemed to be of this sort. Facing a man wearing a tool belt, I get all flustered. On stage, though, not only did I know I was playing a part, so did the audience––in fact, playing a part was what was expected of me; therefore, any stage fright vanished. It was many years before I asked myself: Why is playing a part in "real life" so difficult, when it's so easy on stage? I'm still working on the answer to that question.

 

Tell me more about your writing. That's what I do these days, although mostly I'm writing nonfiction.

 

Best wishes,

Riannon

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Who's Online   7 Members, 0 Anonymous, 27 Guests (See full list)

    • Colleen Henderson
    • Hannah Renee
    • Ivy
    • MaryEllen
    • Nelsea
    • Astrid
    • techno_kinnie
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      77.8k
    • Total Posts
      732.2k
  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
      10,416
    • Most Online
      8,356

    techno_kinnie
    Newest Member
    techno_kinnie
    Joined
  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Alex_
      Alex_
      (20 years old)
    2. Alisande
      Alisande
      (33 years old)
    3. Claire4now
      Claire4now
      (64 years old)
    4. Laura Michelle
      Laura Michelle
      (58 years old)
    5. Linda041w
      Linda041w
  • Posts

    • Astrid
      Yeah, I know some other NBs who've done the same, utilizing HRT only until they attained the (permanent) physical appearance they wanted.   That's never been my desire, because the mental gains that HRT has afforded me would disappear if I were to discontinue it -- and the mental aspect of it is every bit as vital to me as the physical.  My doctor confirmed that, in her experience, that's likely.  And my own several-week interruption of HRT last year during a medical procedure confirmed it for me, as well.  I have no plans to stop HRT; it's simply too integral to maintaining my positive attitude toward my whole identity, physical and mental.   Astrid
    • Astrid
      My distinctions are pretty much identical to yours, @Vidanjali.  The only difference is my AMAB origin, which means I would consider myself transfem-ish.  My deliberately imprecise place on the gender spectrum thus lies on the fem side; that's where I'm happiest.   Cheers,   Astrid
    • Delcina B
      Welcome @Rebel! Glad you're here! As you said "this is my life," while some of those I love have accepted me, some haven't, my wife, oops, ex-wife is one who didn't. Oddly we seem to get along better now than when we were married. The alternative to taking this journey exploring my gender was self-destruction. I'm glad I made the choice. I hope you find the wonderful support, advice & acceptance here as I have.   Hugs! Delcina 
    • KathyLauren
      @CD Rachel, you look great!  I am glad that things are going so well for you!
    • Delcina B
      Welcome @Andrea Nicole! Glad you're here! Our stories have so much in common. The more I travel this journey the more comfortable I feel with such a beautiful balance of mind & body. I hope you find the wonderful support, advice & acceptance here as I have.   Hugs! Delcina 
    • Delcina B
      Welcome Bo! Glad you're here. I can relate to someone trying to make me feel I was selfish for choosing to transition. My reality was, if I didn't I'd be drunk, dead, or both. I hope you find the wonderful support, advice & acceptance here as I have.   Hugs! Delcina 
    • Marcie Jensen
      Given this information, what she was a naked woman. Period. So...why is this even an issue? Which also begs the question, how on earth could the teen have known Ms wood was trans? This looks like an attention grab to me...
    • awkward-yet-sweet
      So, if there was no penis to see.... How exactly did the girl think she saw a naked male? Size of shoulders? Bone structure?  And without seeing genitals, how did she know this individual was naked in the first place?  Or am I a little bit dense?
    • CD Rachel
      Hello, sorry that I have been away for awhile but life sometimes has a way of getting interesting. So I have been seeing someone for the past 4 months now. We have been having a wonderful time together and I almost feel like my past life was a dream. Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family went very well. I feel so much like this is the life that I should have always had. I am totally out as Rachel and though I am not passing being fearless has led to meeting many new and wonderful people that accept me.    I have been surprised that I am also now being seen as the person that I had always wanted to be. Several times over the past 2 month people have  complimented me for being brave, generous, kind, loving, honest and open. Honestly when I started my transition these are the characteristics that I had written down describing the person that I wanted Rachel to be. The one that I was not planning on was brave but apparently that is how I am seen. My transition has truly been a transformative experience.   I hope that it is ok if I share a couple pictures of myself.... one from work and one from home.   Well, I have a lot of reading to do in order to catch up.. Hope everyone is doing well!  
    • Chanelta L.
      Hi Ivy,     It was a different time back 50's, 60's, and even 70's. Trans definitely wasn't a thing back then. Female impersonators, now that was the term. Now that I look back, my parents knew my tendencies, and I remember one conversation they had with me once about a supposed friend of my dad. There was a club near us for a while that had Female Impersonator shows and they told me about how his friend had a son who performed there and they were so proud of him.    I was oblivious at the time, but even if I knew it was a way to out myself I would have been too afraid to do so. I did not want to be different I guess.   Well I am much less afraid now, and am going to explore and embrace this side of me for sure. And you're right, it is never too late.    Chanelta
    • Ivy
      Saw a bit more on this: https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-a-santee-california-ymca-locker-room-freakout-became-an-anti-trans-crusade?ref=scroll   Thought this part was interesting. "In quick succession, the story traveled from KUSI to the New York Postand Daily Mail. A game of telephone played out in the process, with Mail, OAN, and The Daily Wire reporting that Phillips had seen a penis in the locker room. But Phillips herself had said in her city council comments only that she had seen a “naked male.” On local TV, she got a bit more specific, saying that she “did not see the man’s front side.” In fact, it would have been impossible for the teenager to see a penis, because Wood underwent gender-affirming surgery in 2016."
    • Maddee
      Sorry lame comment. I am surprised and happy to hear your good news Heather! Best to you going forward 🌈🌈
    • Jackie C.
      I know a AFAB NB who had some hormone therapy until their body had more-or-less the appearance that made them comfortable in their own skin. I presume they went through one of the informed consent clinics. I don't see them going cowboy route and just self-medicating though I've never asked.   Hugs!
    • Ivy
    • VickySGV
      Fully agree with @Carolyn Marieon locking this one.
  • Upcoming Events

Contact TransPulse

TransPulse can be contacted in the following ways:

Email: Click Here.

To report an error on this page.

Legal

Your use of this site is subject to the following rules and policies, whether you have read them or not.

Terms of Use
Privacy Policy
DMCA Policy
Community Rules

Hosting

Upstream hosting for TransPulse provided by QnEZ.

Sponsorship

Special consideration for TransPulse is kindly provided by The Breast Form Store.
×
×
  • Create New...