I went off to the play audition for the FTM character last Thursday dressed in my college-years best: baggy khakis, full binding, gray t shirt with blue plaid button down and a black skater jacket. Incidentally, my college gf was in town visiting – her comment when I came out to leave for the audition was: “Whoa, does somebody have a cappella rehearsal or what?”  because I had basically regressed ten years. (Not that I consider keeping in touch with my trans identity regressing, it’s simply a style thing. I don’t wear a lot of khaki these days, much less full binding.)

I was, as is usual when I go out for LGBT parts, worried that I didn’t look butch or trans (or old or young) enough.  I needn’t have worried.

How do I say this? Friends, I was the ONLY women they saw for the part. Everyone else there was a cis-man. Straight up Male. And unless the two guys who came in right as I was leaving were fully transitioned FTMs who passed so well I couldn’t read them at all, there were no other queer or otherwise trans identified folks there, save for one excellent and flamboyant drag queen (isn’t there always one excellent and flamboyant drag queen?). I was the only butch in a button down.

Now, this is for a quick play reading happening at a very, very large and liberal university, with a well-known director and casting agent. I would have thought whatever trans campus group at the uni surely would have sent some excited folks out in spades. I thought that since the casting call was open to professional actors, too, I would get a chance to meet at least one or two other trans/queer/possibly butch actors. I was wrong.

I also got the part. Thank goodness, because I don’t know how I would feel if the FTMs in this show were all cast with cis-men. I mean, I’ve been cross-gender cast since I was 11 years old, and up until my mid-20s, I’d played more boys and men on stage than female characters. But it seems weird to me to cast straight cis-men in FTM roles instead of trans folk or androgynous or butch women, or even gay men. Not that any really great actor couldn’t pull it off – I guess it calls to mind Felicity Huffman’s performance in Transamerica, for one. I guess I just keep hoping that I’m not the only one trying to do this. Brave enough to do this. Stupid enough to do this. Take your pick. I suppose I really shouldn’t be that surprised, but I guess the dissonance I feel trying to blend my professional performing career and my identity is probably enough to scare most other queer performers away. This ain’t no drag show, son.