Today’s Poll

More than a woman, more than a man, is Nelson ready for Hedwig?

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
February 13th, 2015

by Eva Brownstein, The Nelson Daily

Who is Hedwig?

Is he a “mere slip of a girly boy” smuggled out of East Berlin after a botched sex-change operation? Or is she an “internationally ignored song stylist”, Bessie Wapp’s rock goddess alter ego?

Hedwig is a gender diverse diva, defying easy categorization.

“Do we call Hedwig he, or she,or they, they being the singular pronoun non-gender specific?” asked Cindy Henderson, a representative from Trans Connect, Nelson’s resource for Transgender and Gender Variant folks in the East and West Kootenays.

“That’s a tough one that really only Hedwig should be answering”.

Henderson and other members of Trans Connect will be teaming up with the cast of Rock Musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” to offer a nightly Q & A session after each performance, which runs Thursday through Saturday February 12-28th, at the Shambhala Music & Performance Hall.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is a musical comedy that tells the tale of Hedwig, a transgender musician who fled East Berlin yet left something behind.

Hedwig is on tour following rockstar Tommy Gnosis’s (much more successful) tour around the country.

Gnosis is recovering from an incident that nearly ruined his career -crashing his car into a school bus full of deaf children while receiving oral sex from none other than Hedwig her/himself (one child survived, now blind).

Hedwig (brilliantly embodied by Bessie Wapp) tries to tell the audience the real story, while revealing his/her/their troubled past, and verbally abusing their husband and back-up singer Yitzhak, played by Sydney Black.

“It’s an envelope pusher and a mind opener”, said Sydney Black, who stars alongside Bessie Wapp as Hedwig’s much-abused husband Yitzhak.

“You might come in with some uncertainty and you might be offended a couple times but that’s okay, that’s one of the things we’re going to unpack”.

“Hedwig deals with a lot of gender issues”, said Henderson.

“You’ll witness gender in relation to domestic violence, to addictions, to religion and immigration. It’s really important to open up dialogue”.

Henderson speaks from experience, as her choice to come out of the closet came at a cost.

“We’re in a town where you can choose to be visible, yet you choose with a price,” said Henderson of living in Nelson as a transgendered woman.

“I’ve been beaten up seven times in this town and this is Nelson”.

Still, Henderson described Nelson as a “mecca for trans people”.

Groups such as Trans Connect and Gender Outlaws offer social support, while Nelson Dr. Chris Cochrane and Psychologist Esta Porter provide medical and psychological support to the gender variant community.

Henderson envisions the Q & A after each Hedwig performance as a safe space for trans and cisgendered people to connect.

“It’s important to ask questions”, said Henderson, “I’d rather have you ask than continue to use the wrong language, or treat me in a disrespectful way”.

“It’s so important for everyone to come see this show”, said Black (Yitzhak).

“It’s important for anyone who has any sort of question about themselves or who doesn’t feel whole”.

“Everyone loves Hedwig”, Black added. “It’s enlightening. You’ll leave feeling good.”

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