Funny Man

BY Jeffrey Hartinger

June 20 2011 6:15 PM ET

IAN HARVIE 01 X390 (KEVIN NEALES) | ADVOCATE.COM Chaz Bono was the most recent cover story in The Advocate; could you relate to his personal story?
Sure. Chaz and I may differ in language when it comes to how we describe our experiences, how we identify, and where we're at now in our lives as this unique type of men. But I've found if you stick to feelings and try not get hung up on language, we all in the LGBTQ community — and frankly, the rest of the world as well, not just trans guys — have a tremendous amount of shared experience of hardships and triumphs in relation to our sexual identities. I think we can all relate to feelings of discomfort in our own bodies in relation to our masculinity/femininity, and we've all assessed it at some point and most likely have thought about how we could help ourselves feel better in our own skin. I feel really lucky to have been born female, have female history, and all the good and hard experiences that has given me. I've learned so much and I'm still learning. I have no regrets or resentments about the hand that I was dealt and the life I've made.

How did it feel to be “discovered” by Margaret Cho?
It’s something that comics dream about, going to the big city to be an artist and getting scooped up by a queer iconic comic like Margaret, just ... dreamy. She's since become one of my best friends and great writing partners and confidants. Anything good you think of her, just multiply it by a thousand once you know her. I'm so grateful for her love and influence in my life.

Do you find it offensive when people say things like “I could never tell” or “You pass well” when you tell them you are a transgender male?

I know a lot people think they're paying you a compliment by saying those kinds of things, but I'm not into it. I don't tell people that, but it does nothing for me spiritually to hear those kinds of things. It was never my mission or important for me to pass, I only wanted to feel better in my own skin. The actions that I took to help myself feel better — surgery and hormones — led me to possessing some privileges that I'm not always thrilled about; one of them is passing. I think far too much importance is placed on "looking the part" in our culture, and it's upsetting to me when people use that as a qualifier to decide whether or not someone's identity is real. All you have to do to be real is to open your mouth and identify who you are. I am who I say I am, no matter what my body may visually tell the world, and its not up for public debate. The only time I think passing is socially important is when it's a safety issue for that trans person.

 







Tags: Comedy

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