Doin’ Time on BBC Radio

The other day I am awoken from a truly bizarre dream (it was a Western, but that wasn’t the weird part) to a phone call from the producer of Religion and Ethics programming for BBC radio. She wanted to book me into a studio for about two hours so that I can sit for multiple 10-minute interviews with virtually every BBC local station in the UK. The topic–transgender and gender-variant Bible characters.

Soooo, Saturday night after my show in Oxford, Glen (my partner who will be on tour with me for the next week as we go to Northern Ireland and Wales) will travel to London so that I can begin these interviews at 7:00  Sunday morning. I wish I could offer some sort of schedule, but I think it will be all over the place where I will pop up in several local religion and ethics type programs around the UK. I feel grateful to have this opportunity to share this material in such a personal setting. Having worked in radio, I know what an intimate and effective medium it can be.

Now I have to sort out what I will and will not say about my play, Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible. I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but I do want to communicate the wonder of some of these Bible stories as I help audiences understand that the interpretations are not at all far-fetched.

Probably they will also ask me about my ex-gay past and the many years I tried to change and suppress my gay orientation and gender differences. I will also look for ways to talk about faith and especially how helpful it has been to be among Quakers.

I imagine I will share the story in the video below. Any of you who have seen the play, please comment you think that I should or could say. Also for transgender people and allies, if you have any thoughts that you think would be useful to communicate to an audience that may know little about transgender issues, please leave a comment too.


Just received the schedule of where I will pop up on BBC and when

0720 STOKE
0730 TEES


This post has 5 Comments

  1. Sheria in SA on May 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Working for the media, or having access to the media be it electronic or print, is not only a thrill, a privilege. It is a blessing because you reach the masses in a short space of time…The privilege even broader when we use our gifted voices to better the lives of other people. As a christian Peterson, you will have challenges ahead. Always look to God for strength and guidance in your persuit to share the TRUTH in you…

  2. cary on May 23, 2009 at 10:23 am

    hey my dear

    as someone who has seen the play, here’s the thoughts that have stayed with me since. you can take your pick of what, if any, is useful…

    the play would be a very different experience if one were simply being told the stories by you as you typically present yourself. that you “play” each of these characters and use make up and costume in the way you do adds a powerful experiential element.

    so the play offers an opportunity to not only explore stories of people in the biblical era but to undergo, in the present, our own expectations and reactions to gender by experiencing (what i’ll call) your gender-morphing. as you transFigure, the audience has a visceral experience not just of you but of how *we respond to you* as a person in our midst. by the end it’s almost as if there’s been more than one person on the stage such is the effect of subtle yet continuous shifting of transformation from the beginning.
    which i’ll readily admit i found quite unsettling, as well as moving.

    we are conditioned to recognise people as male or female, and we typically don’t do well culturally or socially if we aren’t sure. our reactions are sadly violent in thought, or (even worse) in action, against that confusion.
    against that backdrop, that shifting through the characters shows how subtle many of those gender cues are. (the alterations you make to each new character are for the most part delicate adjustments.)
    that process helped me see with fresh eyes how it is that we understand and express our own gender in huge part as a response to the perceived gender of others. and so one is unavoidably undergoing a transformation oneself throughout the play. and that is perhaps what makes it unsettling and challenging and even moving. i, for one, felt like i had been morphing with you. quite unintentionally – socially, culturally, psychologically, physically, and emotionally.
    i didn’t feel threatened or manipulated by that, i welcomed the experience, but that to me was the real provocation. i couldn’t stop that experience from happening.

    and so all of that is to say, when we read the bible, or hear any story, or encounter another person, we are bringing our own gender to bear, just as they bring theirs. the transgendered person is no more or less gendered than anyone else. the play drove home to me with incredible force how we are all deeply gendered. and it affects every moment of our lives, just as it influences our expectations and reactions. yet we give it so little thought. and rather than deal with that we would all to often rather reject, hurt, exclude or even kill those who don’t, “play by our rules”.

    and as for the radio audience in need of education, it might be useful to offer something on what transgender means in simple terms. i think there’s often a misunderstanding between transgender, transexual, transvestite. and maybe the place of the T in LGBT, as there is also confusion in what the link is with sexual orientation.

    anyways, those is my thoughts.

    see in belfast. 🙂


  3. Sheria in SA on May 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Cary, am so looking foward to watching Peterson transfigure here in South Africa! It will be pleasant to see my ex colleague do what he does best. He has told me a lot about transfigurations and insists I must see it. It all sounds very interesting and informative; must be interesting to see, I can’t wait! Now that he is dating Glen, even the more reason to come back…I can’t wait to see you again Peterson, (and your play)!

  4. Jimbo on May 23, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Amazing opportunity to do those radio interviews. I hope that they go really well, and that the interviewer “gets it” and asks the right sorts of question.

  5. p2son on May 24, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Thanks Sheria–very kind and helpful words.

    Jimbo, each regional producer would have been given a briefing, but hey, ex-gay? transgender Bible characters? gay Christians? No doubt this will confuse some. I just hope I keep things positive and simple.

    Cary, so looking forward to seeing you in Belfast! Thanks for your input! wow, amazing. I find what you wrote very helpful. Thanks!

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