BY Jeffrey Hartinger
June 20 2011 5:15 PM ET
Ian Harvie, a transgender comedian based in Los Angeles, is a lifetime comic, but he officially began his career at a small comedy club in Maine in 2002 worked his way around the country, and in 2006 he was handpicked by comedian Margaret Cho as her opening act. Over the past few years Harvie has been not only an activist but also a face for the transgender community. In addition to founding one of the first transgender-based dating sites, www.ftmlover.com, Harvie will return to his roots this summer in Portland, Maine, where he is directing the Maine Comedy Festival and Golf Tournament, which takes place August 5-7. The Advocate spoke with Harvie about his role in the LGBT community, the impact of the younger generation on the fight for gay equality, and how he uses comedy to break down the uncomfortable barriers of every day life.
The Advocate: As a transgender comedian, do you usually come out to your audience at the start of a show, or do you wait after a few jokes?
Ian Harvie: I usually make an audience wait a little bit before I spring it on them. Give them some material that I know will get them laughing and build our relationship a bit. By the time I tell them I'm trans we've already done something as intimate as laughing together. They would likely find it hard to dis me after that, at least not without feeling a little like a complete douche.
Have you ever had a negative experience from the audience due to your role in the LGBT community?
I don't accept "negative" experiences from any audience. Whenever I've felt something offbeat, weird, or dark from an audience member because of their trans/queer-phobia, I've never gotten upset with them, I've only ever said to myself, I'm going to make that fucker laugh. I do and we're good. If you can make someone truly laugh, they are yours after that.