Sanctuary is an LGBTQ issue. Read about the intersections of race, class, and nationality in contemporary trans experiences, and the ways Trump’s administration is working to reduce trans rights for US citizens, immigrants and asylum-seekers.
Adam tells the true story of Adam Kashmiry, a young trans man, and his journey from Egypt to Scotland. Adam was developed for the stage by Frances Poet, who describes the writing process:
The director, Cora Bissett, first approached me in 2015. She had met Adam Kashmiry at an event for refugees and Scots at the Citizens Theatre in which he shared his story of being born a girl in Egypt and having to travel to Glasgow to become the man he knew he was. She knew immediately that she wanted to tell his story theatrically… I approached the writing hesitantly at first. I felt a huge sense of responsibility, and it took a while to give myself permission to just run with it.
The idea that Adam play himself didn’t come until much later… originally (and perhaps inexplicably) I had written three Adams on stage, but with Adam acting in the piece it became obvious that the play should be written for two: one to lead the telling of childhood experiences and represent the birth body and Egypt, and one played by Adam himself who could be seen in some ways to have been born in Glasgow.
Get Into It
We Won't Be Erased
Oct 21, 2018 | New York Times
‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration
The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.
July 29, 2018 | The Independent
This is what LGBTQI+ people have to go through to gain asylum in the UK
It is extremely difficult to obtain protection through the asylum process, and for the LGBTQI+ individual applying on the basis of their sexual or gender status, the journey can be extremely traumatic, invasive and long-winded, with no guarantee of success.
Nov 9, 2015 | New York Times
Prisons and Jails Put Transgender Inmates at Risk
Estrella Sánchez, a 28-year-old transgender woman from Mexico, was held in immigration detention for nearly a year, beginning in 2012… In the United States, transgender people are routinely subjected to harassment, but few are as powerless as those in prison.
Nov 13, 2018 | NPR
LGBT Splinter Group From Migrant Caravan Is The 1st To Arrive In Tijuana
“Whenever we arrived at a stopping point the LGBT community was the last to be taken into account in every way. So our goal was to change that and say, ‘This time we are going to be first.’”
Nov 27, 2018 | New York Times
Independent Autopsy of Transgender Asylum Seeker Who Died in ICE Custody Shows Signs of Abuse
Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez was known by her friends who traveled through Central America and Mexico with her as a humble, sincere person who… had great taste in makeup.
In Others' Words
There are as many examples of the “trans experience” as there are trans people (so: many). Here are some memoirs from people who share their stories, ideas, and experiences, and add some much-needed complexity to traditional gender narratives.
Plus: a crowd-sourced virtual chorus of trans voices telling their own stories, in the New York Times.
Janet Mock, "Surpassing Certainty: A TwentySomething Memoir"
Today I no longer evade or deny my truth; I own it without leaving parts of myself behind.
Justin Vivian Bond: "Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels"
Couldn’t I be both Fred and Ginger?
Get Thee to the Library
Recommended readings to accompany the Indefinite Article by J de Leon.
Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues. Firebrand Books, 1993.
Paul B. Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era. Feminist Press, 2013.
Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
Christopher Soto, editor, Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. Nightboat Books, 2018.
Dean Spade, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law. Duke University Press, 2015.
A highlight from another queer memoir adapted for the stage: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, performed at the Tonys by the “uncanny” Sydney Lucas (what a New York Times review to earn at 10!). In this song, young Alison viscerally recognizes a butch delivery person – from boots to barbershop – as someone who has something to teach her about her own gender, seeing for the first time a different way to envision her future. “I think we’re alike” – simultaneously a soaring and terrifying realization.
…and another rendition (plus reflections on the importance of the song) from NYC’s Youth Pride Chorus.