Princess Kennedy – February 2009

Every year at this time, I reassess my fantasy about being a 400-lb. shut-in. There is something very comforting about never having to leave my comfy bed, eating whatever I want and devoting 100 percent of my time to my first love - watching television. To make matters worse, I’ve finally found one of those pirated websites that has the full seasons of my beloved cable shows and all the newly released films. Since I’ve found it, I’ve been in The Hills, Entourage and Weeds heaven, not to mention the joy of never having to sit in a movie theater again. Last weekend, it was a marathon of Milk, Twilight, Gran Torino and Zach and Miri Make a Porno. There was probably more, but I blacked out from sheer ecstasy. So sad that it’s true.

My latest obsession is True Blood, the fairly new HBO series about vampires. The plot goes, “The ever brilliant Japanese have created a synthetic blood with all the nutrients and vitamins needed to sustain human life. Therefore, our undead brethren are free to walk the earth.” The writing is so sophomoric, it’s brilliant, with such cultural reference as “Fang Bangers,” “God Hates Fangs” and the night club “Fangtasia.” In the story line, it’s apparent that this counterculture is so controversial that the characters have moved past current issues like homophobia. Is it really gonna take soulless bloodsuckers coming out of the coffin to break down such proverbial walls? However romantic that sounds, I’m here to testify, as one of the last great taboos, that we’re a long way from that. In an attempt to open minds, I’m gonna open up myself and let you into the world of all things tranny.

My personal story starts early. As a child, my mother owned clothing stores in the ZCMI and Fashion Place malls. As a proprietor and mother of seven, she opted in lieu of endless hours of hair prep to go with ever-fashionable wigs. As you can guess, there was a variable crypt of drag for me to choose from. At the age of 11, I ventured (on the bus, mind you) to the mall wearing my mum’s Halston gown and blazing red wig. Another fave was to wear my sister’s jumpers stuffed with a pillow and do pregnant teen drag. Babies having babies is always an attention-getter. This started my journey into what would clinically be described as a cross dresser or CD, although I dislike this term. Literally, a cross dresser is one that crosses the line in gender, dress and action. I can also probably be classified with the drag queens. A drag queen (DQ) is one who dresses and acts like a woman for entertainment purposes. It comes from Shakespearian times, when girls weren’t allowed on stage. Next to the boy’s name playing Juliet would be D.R.A.G. - Dress Role As Girl. Since I entered the business we call show, I’m a drag queen that passes and identifies as a woman. In short, I can work it as a hot chick and that makes me marketable. Before I go any further, let’s talk about what personally offends me. If I look like a girl, don’t call me “he.” Never call me “dude” and don’t ask me what I want to be called. Most importantly, we’re not party clowns. No, I don’t want to go to your friend’s work and sing them “Happy Birthday” to embarrass them. Being treated like a sideshow is degrading and insulting.

The last but not least of the tranny world is the “trans” of it all: transvestites and transsexuals. Transvestites are men (usually straight) that get sexual gratification from wearing women’s clothing, like the bishop who wears pretty pretty undies under his suit. It almost never has anything to do with gender roles. Most queens HATE to be called transvestites. Finally, a transsexual is one who is taking drastic measures to reassign their gender. I personally have never felt like I was born in the wrong body. I can’t even imagine what a hopeless feeling that must be. I have nothing but the utmost compassion and respect for these people. I ask that when you encounter them, think before you judge. What must it be like to go so far as cutting your cock off to feel like a whole person?

All of this, collectively, is considered “tranny,” and from there trickle down the many sublevels of tranny-dom, such as the “gender fuck” like Ziggy Stardust or, more locally, club god Drew Landerman. These are individuals that take genderbending to a high fashion extreme - they are neither male nor female and generally don’t like labels. There are the real girl DQs, or faux queens, like Leslie Hall or Dolly Parton. A faux king is a guy that is a hyper-actualized version of a male persona like Freddy Mercury or Justin Bobby. Then there is the drag king, which can be difficult to define, Katy Lang would be one example. A tranny could also identify more as transgendered, like Hillary Swank’s character in Boys Don’t Cry. Anything can be tranny. Hair-metal bands: Tranny! Cindy McCain: Tranny! A big, showy, tattooed freak: Tranny! Tranny is in the eye of the beholder.

Now we get to what is probably the last taboo to just start hitting the mainstream: the tranny chaser! William Baldwin plays one on Dirty Sexy Money. His tranny girlfriend is played by real tranny superstar Candis Cane. Bravo to the Baldwin acting chops to be comfortable enough to make out with Candis on screen. I joke that the difference between a straight guy and a tranny chaser is a shot of Jager and a bump of coke, but seriously, they are a culture unto themselves. One of my earliest encounters with a tranny chaser was in a leather bar in Silver Lake. It wasn’t just any tranny chaser, it was the lead singer of Queensryche. Within minutes, he was all over me and trying to get me to jump in a cab for LAX where we’d board a plane and spend the week in Mexico. I was terrified by his boldness and couldn’t ditch him fast enough. I had to laugh a little, though, when not long ago, I overheard a couple whispering what a lonely life I must lead. I wanted to turn and say “Fuck you, you self-righteous bitches! I’m dating your brother.” And I probably am. Thank god MySpace has opened up my dating world in SLC. You’d be shocked at the number of local guys asking me out. Hot ones, too. There is the 22-year-old personal trainer who is adorably awkward about his newly admitted feelings. Next we have the business guy who’s extremely comfortable with himself and me. Finally, there’s the football player going through a divorce, obviously making a stop at the tranny shack on his way into gay town. There are just about as many levels of chasers as there are trannies.

We may not be as glamorous as the children of the night, but I hope you have an increased understanding of the person I am and others like me. We are real people with real feelings, interesting backgrounds and viable talents. My wish is that next time you encounter one of us, you’ll realize it’s OK: We don’t bite.