Including transgendered characters in the show is interesting and important for a number of reasons, but one of the most striking statements it makes is that “The Vagina Monologues” is not synonymous with “The Woman Monologues” because not everyone who has a vagina is a woman. (more in expanded post)
Also at issue was the question of who should perform the monologues. Some feel that it would be inappropriate to require that a transgender person play a transgender character—such a mandate would fly in the face of producers’ efforts to avoid typecasting in the show (for instance, a white actress, in character, recalls getting her period for the first time by saying the line, “Fifteen, black and poor, blood on the back of my dress in church.”). Others, however, feel strongly that trans actors must participate in the performance; otherwise, the production itself would be perpetuating a problem that one of the trans monologues points out: “talking about trans people like they’re not there.” Speaking on behalf of the voiceless is important, but only up until the point at which we can speak for ourselves. At a certain point, allies need to be able to step back and support, rather than represent.
Come out and see the show this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday and make up your own mind about the trans monologues (and just enjoy a great production). Tickets are $8 for students and always sell very fast, so stop by the box office soon! If you have any immediate thoughts, too, as always, we’d love to hear them.
*update: In a writing rush, I incorrectly wrote “SAFAs” instead of “SOFFAS” because I remembered what the acronym sounds like and its general gist, but couldn’t remember what it stands for and meant to look it up later, but forgot. A guardian angel of sorts emailed me to correct my error. Thanks to them and to everyone for your patience and kindness.