BECCA BLACKWELL ISN’T HERE FOR YOUR GENDER STEREOTYPE BULLSHIT
Becca Blackwell is a proud enigma. An actor/writer/performer that defies gender labels and would rather be called them or they instead her or him. Becca returns to Joe’s Pub in Manhattan following their sold-out performance in February. You can catch their one person show They, Themself and Schmerm June 24th and 26th. The show is a mix of raunchy stand up and deeply personal revelations. Becca took time out of their busy schedule to talk about the show, discussing highly personal tragedies on stage and how you can be a man, woman or something in between.
Tell me about your new show at Joe’s Pub.
It’s called They, Themself and Schmerm and Schmerm is basically a word I made up because it’s the sound people made when they tried to figure out what gender I was (laughs) they’d be like “she…him…hrmmm?” and half my friends being Jewish I just thought I’d put the Yiddish spin on it.
What can audiences expect to see at your show?
It’s kind of weird stand up storytelling and just trying to bring humor to dark stuff because it’s the way I survived all the darkness.
In your act you’re very open about being molested as a child. Do you find that people open up to you about their own similar experiences?
Oh yeah. I’ve had people come up to me after shows because they were very appreciative that I talked about that because they never thought they’d be laughing about it because they themselves had been sexually abused.
What does your family think of you discussing being molested?
Oh, I’m sure they hate it. They’ve never seen the show. I’m sure they’ve seen clips of it because I’ve put it up online. I don’t really say specifics, I allude to everything just to keep everything a little vague. It’s more for me to be able to say things out loud that I feel I’ve always had to repress.
You say you exist between both genders. Can you elaborate?
I never considered myself a woman, per se, just because of the word ‘woman’ and what it means when we think of the word ‘woman’. I never identified as that, I never identified as ‘lady’, I never identified as ‘girl’ but when I was coming up there wasn’t really language to talk in that manner. I always just identified as Becca and when people started using language like ‘non-binary’ I definitely was curious about it.
Was there a time when you considered transitioning?
I felt like I would be a bad feminist if I transitioned because there was very little representation of masculine women. I think trans guys are really accepted by the mainstream if they transition and they look attractive and they look like men or if trans women are beautiful and have all the signifiers of what makes women beautiful, you don’t really see the middle because that’s what makes people uncomfortable so I kind of fit in that. I started using ‘they’ pronouns when I was doing a performance piece where I was naked. The middle ground is where I feel the most comfortable. I don’t really feel like a man and nor do I feel like a woman.
There has been an uptick in anti-trans violence lately. Although you’re not trans you do challenge gender stereotypes. Do you consider yourself an activist?
Of course. As a masculine body I feel I feel like it’s really important for me to challenge, especially, other men that may say or do things and even other women that maybe believe certain things like trans women aren’t women or all that kind of absolute bullshit. I do the best I can. I don’t know if it’s up to me to be the talking head for trans women but it’s definitely up to me to be vigilant and to be an ally wherever I’m needed.
What do you want audiences to take away from your show?
We’re all in this alone together, you might as well have fun inside your own meat carcass. Even though we experience the world differently and have different experiences we’re really kind of made up of the same fucking stardust.
To learn more about Becca Blackwell visit their website.