WHEW! Ok, I’m back home in LA after almost three months away performing in TransScripts the play. From NYC to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015, it was a true dream to get to work, learn and experience the essence of what I love to do: make and participate in art. I’ve gathered all the reviews I could find, plus some quotes. All I can say is THANK YOU for all the kind reviews, and the amazing work by my cast mates, the writer Paul Lucas and director Linda Key. I didn’t cheat and leave off low ratings either… there was nothing below a four star! WOO!
The Vanity Fair Confidential/Discovery documentary “Don’t Ask, Don’t Kill”, based on Vanity Fair’s 2000 article of the same name covering the murder of my Army boyfriend PFC Barry Winchell, aired several weeks ago. I was interviewed for it here in LA several months ago, and provided some personal materials to the filmmakers. I had been unable to watch the completed piece when it aired, knowing that it featured a phone interview with one of Barry’s murderers and that it would bring up all the bad memories again. After hearing that some friends who were unaware that I was trans had seen it on television and now knew my history, I decided that I had to watch it, if only to see how the newest people in my life were being introduced to this latest telling of the story (and my story along with it).
The program features some of the same old/same old arch tones and less-than-thrilling language that I’m so wearily used to after all these years of seeing trans issues covered by outsiders (describing Barry, and our relationship as “Not completely straight… not fully gay…”, etc). But overall, I think it is a nuanced and well researched retelling of the story. Check it out if you’re interested on Investigation Discovery channel (TV Schedule) or elsewhere. (I do not make any money if you watch the show, nor do I make money from the movie “Soldier’s Girl”, BTW)
There’s not much more to say about it at this point. I participated in revisiting the 2000 Vanity Fair article because I felt like some new perspective could be brought to the story in light of the fairly recent repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. And because, as much as it is painful for me to revisit the story again and again, I never want Barry’s sacrifice to be forgotten.
More information on my Soldier’s Girl pages
Thanks to Jane Hutcheon and ABC (Australian Broadcast Company) for the OnePlusOne interview, and to the Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust and Sydney Mardi Gras for bringing me out to Australia to participate!
Saturday night March 7th I’ll be doing a number cabaret-style with live piano at PJ Gallagher’s in Sydney, sharing the stage and a possible duet with the gorgeous Lance Horne in the same venue that Rufus Wainwright is performing at (I wonder if he will be there?! WINK WINK)
I’ll be riding a super-cool trike motorcycle in the parade on Sunday, too, so COME OUT AND SEE ME SOMETIME! 😉
Tomorrow I will be interviewed by Vanity Fair Magazine for a Discovery Channel documentary program, along with Barry Winchell’s parents, as a followup to their now almost 15 year old article on the murder. That night I will be filmed for inclusion in a Library of Congress project on my own military service, as part of a project featuring several veterans.
I refused to participate in the new story about Barry several times, but was finally persuaded after learning of his parent’s participation. I think some people assume that my entire life is about the events behind the movie “Soldier’s Girl” and that I talk about it all the time… I actually don’t. People bring it up to *me* all the time, which I understand because they feel a great deal of empathy and emotion after seeing the story. Some people also assume that I have made tons of money from the film or the story. I have my letters in writing refusing payment for the film, though eventually I was persuaded to accept some compensation which allowed me to transition more fully into the woman he saw me as. I have been a reluctant participant in the story at every step, but when I do participate it is because I have a chance to either honor Barry’s memory or help move things forward for the community. The day I was brought to the network to talk about the interview, I had to go straight home to bed and sleep until the next day. I hope it will be worth it to rehash everything again.
On the other hand, I am looking forward to the Library of Congress project. It feels good to talk about my brief four years serving in the pre- and post-DADT military during the first Gulf War. Adventure and youth and self discovery and dealing with draconian oppression all make for interesting storytelling. This is going to be a rollercoaster of a weekend. Thank goodness I have my boyfriend, my friends, and a job singing and making people laugh to occupy my mind this weekend.
This isn’t a beg for sympathy. I just wanted to share this as a little preparation because I may actually be talking about these things a little bit in the coming weeks, which I do not do very often.