Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Honoring Courageous Transgender Veterans

I am dedicating my performance at the Stars and Stripes and Slinky show at the Fort Douglas Post Theater on July 6 to Kristin Beck, the retired Navy SEAL from SEAL team 6 who just came out in her memoirs. I have already written a trans-feminist piece that celebrates the forgotten warrior, i.e., women warriors, including trans women warriors, and am in the process of preparing to perform it monologue style at this benefit, which is a USO-themed burlesque show with the benefits going to area veteran's organizations. In a way, it is a cut at Don't Ask Don't Tell. In the poem I am going to deliver, I close with a rendition of a true story of a transgender woman who died on the battle field.

I am a Navy intersex transsexual veteran who served on the USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) and USS Mahlon S. Tisdale (FFG-27) from 1989 to 1993 during Operation Desert Storm as a Torpedoman's Mate.

I have been doing public performances since 2008, early in my transition, when I had the opportunity to do and the desire to perform They Beat The Girl Out of My Boy...Or So They Tried (as part of the Vagina Monologues) at  Casa Manana in Fort Worth in front of hundreds. I performed in the Vagina Monologues twice more here in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah in 2011 and 2012.

I am also a performing belly dancer, and have been doing solos for almost three years, almost as long as I have been studying the art of belly dancing, and performing in several troupes. It was via the belly dance community that I got my first invite to deliver some of my poetry at a burlesque show in February of last year. I decided to do a piece from the book that I published because it was the closest piece that I had that fit the theme. It was also a risk for me, because I was essentially outing myself to a whole community in which I felt loved. I left the audience crying.

I was asked to perform again this last February, in which I did a piece of trans-feminist slam entitled Certain Other Inalienable Rights, finding the packed audience very responsive. I had just had voice surgery and was surprised when I came from behind the curtain to have my first-ever standing ovation. As a result, I was asked to perform again this July at the Fort Douglas Post Theater for veterans.

When I saw the breaking article on Kristin Beck, I knew I had to dedicate this performance to her courage above and beyond the call of duty.

Hugs and Blessings,