Toby Davis has conceived
of a project to extend the introspection of the
to include the transgender viewpoint. Here's what Toby wrote to me:
My name is Toby Davis. I am twenty years old, majoring in
theatre at a small liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts.
I identify as transgendered, and this survey is the beginning of the
research for my senior thesis. With your answers from this survey, I
intend to create and hopefully produce a set of monologues about the
not-so-traditionally-woman-identified genitals. In other words, I
want to use your stories/poems/thoughts, anonymously of
course, in a new play. I would ideally like to conduct interviews
during the summer of 2002 to gather more information for this project.
If you would be interested in being interviewed, either in person or
by phone, as well as (or instead of) sending a written response,
please include any pertinent contact information
(address, telephone number, etc.)
The point of this survey is to get you talking about
genitals, especially vaginas, whatever that word means to you.
I know it may not be the most
comfortable or appealing concept (or maybe it is, let
me know), or even the
most appealing word. But I still want to hear about
it, about your opinion.
Eve Ensler started this process in her play "The
Vagina Monologues," which
you can read about at www.vaginamonologues.com, but I
think she stopped short, that she didn't take her ideas far enough.
She was too convinced that vagina meant woman, that vagina
meant biology, a thing you were born
with, if you were a woman, a thing you can't be a
woman without or a man
with. Man and Woman, in the traditional sense, were
Ensler's only choices. So while she was working to get rid of the
stigma around the word
vagina, to create a sense of vagina-pride, she
unfortunately ignored and
silenced the voices of many individuals who may not be
"women" in her sense
of the word, but certainly have important opinions and
vaginas/genitals. For this study, which will hopefully
result in a new set
of monologues, I want to hear about genitals outside
of the context of "woman" or "man" in any conventional sense.
I want to give omitted,
overlooked voices a chance to express themselves. I
am especially interested in the opinions of people
who identify as transgendered and queer. I am
also interested in the thoughts of the significant
others, partners, family, friends, and allies of these people.
If you are unsure as to whether you
fit into the categories of respondents I've named,
please respond. Chances are, you have a valuable story for me as well!
Right now my goal is to gather as many different
viewpoints as possible, so
if you think you might have something interesting to
tell me, or even if you
don't(I do), then I want you to respond to me.
July 2003: Toby has had great success with his project! Here is an
update he sent me.
Hi Lannie! I wrote the play (including several of your
pieces - credited of course) and got highest honors
for it (it was my senior thesis). It also won a big
collegiate playwriting award for the 5 colleges here
in western Massachusetts.
I produced/directed the play myself in April to rave
reviews and standing room only audiences!
AND now it's been selected to be a part of the first
ever national transgender theatre festival!
(www.stages2003.org) It's new title is "The Naked I:
Monologues from Beyond the Binary".
Here are the pieces I wrote for Toby. The first
few essays linked below went to Toby. Then I just kept going..