Monday, July 28, 2014

Questions for a trans woman in Eastern Europe

People ask... People ask so many things.

I enjoy the sessions after the readings perhaps better because they are spontaneous and livelier and I'm getting feedback ina way that cannot be offered me by the readings themselves.

I chose to read my "Letter To An Unknown Soldier"

http://www.1418now.org.uk/letter/jo-clifford-2/

which brought up questions about pacifism and Hitler and Tony Blair and my "Dear Scotland"

http://www.thespace.org/artwork/view/dearscotlandpoetspub#.U9ZzYSjJ50g

and that brought up questions about Scottish nationalism and Slovakia and Moravian independence and I performed extracts from my "Gospel According To Jesus Queen of Heaven"

http://www.teatrodomundo.com/

And that always gave the audience the chance to ask what it seemed they always wanted to ask: to ask me about being trans.

Respectful questions, not the intrusive kind about the shape of my genitalia that I was perhaps a little nervous of, but genuine questions of the kind it's always a pleasure to answer.

And it makes me glad that in my perverse kind of way I only followed to a necessary minimum all the advice to walk like a woman and gesture like a woman and talk like a woman so that I would blend in and successfully disguise my trans status.

Because sometimes it seems to me that the most important work i do, besides what i communicate through writing, is what i communicate through just being present with audiences.

Present and unashamed....

How have things changed for queer people in your country?

...And I talk of the complete absence of support and information I suffered from as a child in the sixties. And how at that time it was absolutely impossible for me to even begin to imagine that one day i would be able to live openly and be respected as a trans woman.

And yet here I am. And also to be welcomed and feel safe in your country too.

This feels like a miracle to me...

How does being trans affect your writing?

...And i say that what has made it possible for people like myself to be here is a profound and radical change in human consciousness, in the most fundamental ideas of what gender means. And that this change, in the western world at least, is unprecedented.

And its obvious that some people are going to be frightened and upset by this and try to resist it.

(And how sad that so often the Christian Church has made itself the standard bearer for this resistance)

Writers and artists are still trying to catch up with this change. I remember seeing "The Crying Game" when I was in my forties. And that was the first time I saw a trans person being portrayed as a human being.

Instead of as a monster, a laughing stock, or a freak...

And that makes my ambition to create a repertoire of dramatic work about being trans a hard one. I have hardly begun...

And Putin?

Putin is a sad damaged man possessed by self hatred. The Putins of this world will disappear, I answer.

Because history is on our side.


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