I have been a professional actor for 10 years. I have been a lead in 3 award-winning feature films. I've premiered 2 plays by Obie-winners, one in Tony-winning theatre. I was the first openly transgender actor onstage at The Goodman. I've premiered a new musical off-off Broadway, workshopped award-winning plays, and hosted and curated a show in the East Village that sold out with a line down the street. I've been interviewed by well-known trans, queer and feminist media outlets.
...and I still feel like nobody knows who I am.
Being a niche performer has its ups and downs. On the plus side, if anyone is looking for a white, 18-28 trans or genderqueer afab person who can sing and dance, I am guaranteed to at least be seen for it. On the down side, those roles are very few and quite far between, and 9 times out of 10 they don't pay enough for me to be able to take off the work from my day job that barely keeps me fed and housed. My trans-ness makes me just "off" enough in the eyes of old-school casting directors and producers, that putting me in non-trans roles is unheard of.
So I keep putting the word out that trans stories need to be told, and that media representations of all genders needs to shift. I feel that change coming. I know it's right there- and I'm ready for it. I've been ready my whole life.
I've been honing my craft and sharpening my skills for years, and rarely have the opportunity to show them. When I do get to perform, too often I am asked to work for little or no pay because my name doesn't draw a paying crowd. I'm done with this amateur life. I've worked too hard to hide and go unappreciated. And I know there are many just like me.
I've made the decision to forgo my patriarchal midwestern-girl training from childhood and step into the spotlight. My entire life, nothing about me has been constant except that I know I am an actor. That's always been the only thing I knew for certain- and I owe that certainty something.
The next phase is the one where I make this my full time job and turn a foggy dream into a clear career. The first step is this website and blog. I'll be writing my thoughts out here on my journey, keeping them as accessible as possible, logging my path as a genderless actor as a service to those who will come after me.
I'm afraid that by putting my dreams out here I'll make a fool of myself. I'm afraid that I'll fail and there will be a public record of what I set out to do, and how little I accomplished in service to that goal. This is a very vulnerable thing for me- I know I am far from perfect, and stepping out into the light as an imperfect actor and person is scary. I know I open myself to critics, haters, and bigots. That's a risk I'm no longer able to avoid if I'm honest with myself. I'll find the tools to cope with failure if it comes, and be grateful for the chance to grow in that way.
I want you to engage with me here- in a way that kindly challenges me. I ask if you make comments that you consider the rest of the audience as well. It's not just me reading here. I also ask that you reach out to me with any questions- I welcome them. I am happy to publish the question and answer on the site. Not without your consent of course, but in service to folks who might have similar questions.