Transgender on the Radio

On-air WNPR (photo by Catie Talarski)

On-air WNPR (photo by Catie Talarski)

About an hour ago I stepped out of the studios of WNPR, the Hartford local public radio stations, where I appeared on the Where We Live program to talk about transgender Bible characters as they appear in my play Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible. Also on the show performance artist Scott Turner Schofield spoke about his one-person show, How to Become Man in 127 Easy Steps. Scott, who is a female-to-male transgender person shares much of his own story in his theater work–and what a skilled artist he is! I saw his show Debutante Balls in North Carolina earlier in the year.

This is my second time on Where We Live. As host John Dankosky led me into the studio, he pointed out a plate prominently displayed outside the studio announcing that his program won the 2007 PRNDI award as the best public radio talk show in the country that year. The episode that they submitted to be judged was one they did about gender identity that included a chat with Jerimarie Liesegang, PhD. Director, Ct TransAdvocacy Coalition and me. Catie Talarski was the mastermind behind that show and in particular in having it focus on gender identity instead of just orientation. (You can hear that show here.)

On today’s program, Scott and I got to talk to John about our performance work, which touches on transgender issues and identity through storytelling. In telling his own story Scott invariably connects with the audience and their own stories. In my play I don’t tell my story but that of other people in the ancient past and today interweaving the two together. My hope is that people will also recognize themselves in some of my characters and narratives.  Hopefully beyond that they will also expand their understanding of the gender spectrum and the many different ways people identify and present their gender. As Kory, a guy at one of the sessions I attended at Gender Odyssey, stated, “I have a fancy gender.”

Scott and I have seen each others work before, and both initially didn’t want to see the others show, but we were both delightfully surprised by what we experienced. We get to talk about each others work on the show. I even get to recite a new favorite poem by Cavafy.

Have a listen to today’s Where We Live program Transgressing Gender.

I perform my show tonight at Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford and it will be a fundraiser for the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, and Scott will have two performances next weekend at Real Art Ways.

How to Become a Man in 127 Easy Steps, written & performed by Scott Turner Schofield

I changed my sex. Now what?
Irreverent and dynamic, graceful and playful, this one-person show engages the deep questions (and the locker room jokes) about what it means to become a man. Moving beyond the transgender narrative that focuses on the experience of transition, Schofield’s stories explore the drama and hilarity of living a new life in the “opposite” gender.

Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, written & performed by Peterson Toscano

Drawing on inspiration from interviews with transgender and genderqueer individuals, Peterson Toscano weaves their experiences into the stories of transgender and gender-variant people from the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Hilarious and moving, Toscano’s one-person play deepens well-known (and lesser-known) Bible stories as he presents an array of characters with an array of genders.

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