Friday, November 04, 2016

Two Queen Jesuses. One prejudice.

So me and Renata check into the same hotel.

Two Queen Jesuses, one reception desk.

The reception staff are polite and friendly and attentive.

I give my passport, which is in my name, Jo Clifford, and in my gender, female.

(My gender at least how our society understands it).

The politeness does not end.  The attentiveness continues. Someone comes to help take my luggage up to my room.

Renata gives her identity document. Which is in a male name.

Suddenly the politeness disappears.

And Renata, this gracious, magnetic, warm and profoundly gifted human being, is confronted with deep  and humiliating prejudice.

The outward expression of a set of values that refuses to acknowledge her as a human being.

She tells me this without rancour or rage. Daily she must confront this prejudice in the most mundane encounters.

Life must go on. This does not leave room for rage. 

But I keep raging. No-one should have to suffer this.

I rage on behalf of the beautiful gifted, talented young trans woman I also met last night  who lacked the possibility of gainful employment for so many years that she was driven to attempt suicide.

I am proud, too, that my play has given her the opportunity and the confidence to display her gifts to the world.

Proud, too, that through my play Renata now has won the visibility and recognition and esteem she so clearly deserves.

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of the play’s first opening.

In Glasgay, in the Tron Theatre, back in 2009.

I found myself reliving the terror and the trauma of experiencing all the hatred the play provoked.

Remembering how it awoke in me then the deep nightmare  that drove me to conceal myself, way back when I was fifteen, and felt if anyone knew I wanted to be a girl they would hate me. 

And I knew I could not survive that.

And so I hid, and so nearly destroyed myself as a sexual being and as an artist in the process.

And the long long fight to claw my way back from there.

I understand now that the fear I felt then was not just mine. It was in everybody who oppressed me and insulted me and threatened me as I worked my way up into the light. 

As we all claw our way up into light.

And I don’t understand, when we are all such beautiful human beings deep deep in the heart of us and why, when in spite of all the damage we inflict upon it, we live in so beautiful a world.

“Why do we resist?”, Queen Jesus asks at one point, “Why can’t we celebrate?”.


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