Gender seems to be the hot topic not only within the LGBT+ community but in the wider society. We’re in a time where Britain’s Next Top Model welcomed their first transwoman and Munroe Bergdorf became an ambassador for the major brand L’Oreal (we’re not going to talk the drama) and everyone is realising that gender is no longer black and white or in fact balls and vaginas.
I had the privilege of being invited to the press night of And The Rest of Me Floats by Outbox Theatre which explores the messy business of gender. The play was a beautiful fusion of autobiographical storytelling, stand-up comedy, audience participation and classic pop songs (Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag was my personal favourite).
The show follows the stories of multi-talented trans*, non-binary and LGB performers as they address the awkward and intrusive ways in which their gender identities have been discussed. One of my favourite stories came from the Jewish-born Tamir Amar Pettet, who talked about the conflict between being told they were a man at 13 and at the same time not feeling like they fit that box. I found Tamir’s story particularly gripping as although religion can often be a barrier for people struggling to understand their own sexual and gender identities, I’d never thought about the effect a bar mitzvah could have on a young Jewish boy. It was refreshing to see how Tamir overcame that struggle as he effortlessly strutted across the stage in sky-high heels for most (if not all) of the show.
It’s not often I get the opportunity to see a queer play that unifies all members of the LGBT+ community and And The Rest of Me Floats managed to do this in a way that normalised a topic that is not often spoken about in this way. At the same time as it was told through the performers’ personal experiences, it didn’t generalise gender identity but gave the message of ‘I’m here, I’m queer and you’re just going to have to deal with that’.
See And The Rest of Me Floats until 23 September at the Rose Lipman Building, London and 13-14 November at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Click here for more info