I’m reading a piece as trans AIDS activist Connie Norman tonight 8pm @ The Skylight Theatre on Vermont in further support of World AIDS Day, alongside actors including Ann Walker, Tony Abatemarco, Larry Bates, Michael Kearns, Sandy Martin, Brian Normoyle, Ryland Shelton, Lianna Taylor, Gordon Thomson and David Trudell.
Text of monologue below:
I’m so damned angry that I have to die for the lessons I’ve learned. I am a former drag queen, former hooker, former IV drug user, HIV positive transsexual woman. I’m an activist and the self-appointed AIDS diva. After my surgery in 1976—yes, I’m post-op, darlins—I went to San Francisco and went full tilt disco. Somebody threw some LSD in my face and I was gone for four years. I was a drag queen and a titty flopper for awhile. Then my psychiatrist said, “Get a real job.” So I became a stripper. Hey, it paid a real salary. Ten years later I began to hear the message about how you can get infected:
Yep, did that one. Yep, that one too. Check, check, check. It began dawning on me that in all likelihood I was HIV-positive.
I’ve had lesbian relationships. I’ve had relationships with heterosexual men. I’m married to a fag. I like dick, but I’ve never had a man kiss me the way a woman does. My sexual orientation is whatever the human condition will allow. I’m so glad I was born queer. Being infinitely gendered is so much more interesting. (WHAT IS QUEER?) Queer is really a worldview. I use it and love it because it’s inclusive, and so much easier than having to say, “I’m fighting for gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender liberation.” I want a world where everybody is queer.
And when I die, I’m gonna hit light speed so fast that I become a real star, with my own planets and people and this time we’re gonna do it right, honey. Snap-on interchangeable sex parts, for starters, and I want to be Goddess. No more gray beards running everything.
I didn’t wake up one day and just decide to go become a woman. I am a woman. I was never a man in a suit. I never knew male power. And it hurts me, especially when the strong lesbian women I so admire can’t return that admiration. That comes from the very deepest part of our self-hate. I have spent my whole life traveling down this path of gender dysphoria and I’ve learned a few things along the way.
There is so little of us that is our gender, and so much of us that is humanity. I hope before I die that I’ll become less and less my gender, and more and more my humanity. I worked so hard to become a woman only to discover being a woman wasn’t hard at all for me. Being a whole human being free of oppression and self hate has been the real challenge of my life. I cope with this disease by living in the present. In death, I hope I’ll be present there too. God knows I’ve had plenty of notice. I used to try to blend. I hated myself.
No more, darling. If you fear it, then run to it, honey, because you can’t avoid it.