Welcome to the future! For centuries men and women have been the leaders in the human experience. Well people it is time for that to change because the new sex is here. Yes, I’m talking about the trans-human. Although it is something that has been around for quite some time it’s in recent times that we have gotten more into the trans experience. And people like Mr Ian Harvie, actor/comedian, are leading the way to the future. When you first see him you don’t realize that this hot looking man was born of the female gender. Then you wonder? Would you “go there?”Now I understand how I’ve turned many a straight men into tranny chasers. And yes Ian “is the comedian Margaret Cho can’t stop raving about.” So much so that he’s been a hard core supporter of Ms Cho on Dancing with the Stars. I met Ian at a trans conference in D.C. and the following is a conversation between a man who was born to be a woman and a woman who was born to be a man. And no, neither was born in the wrong body because both were meant to be born trans-human.
Samara: How was life for you growing up?
Ian: It was exactly like in the film Stand By Me, with all those boys in dirty white t-shirts, beat up jeans and looking for adventure down the railroad tracks and through the woods. I was the only “girl” in the neighborhood and I played like one of the boys, always building tree/snow forts, catching pollywogs or ice skating on the pond behind our house, and skiing or hiking the mountain a mile away. Later I did more things with the boys, like drinking, smoking, and looking at dirty mags too, I was a big instigator of a lot of that stuff. I used to steal cigarettes and dirty mags from my Dad’s store and dole them out to the neighborhood kids.
Samara: At what age did you feel you identified with the opposite gender?
Ian: Somewhere between 4-6 I would say. I’m not sure exactly when I knew but it was around that age. I know it was before my 8th birthday, because that was when I got my Hee Haw overalls and it was before that.
Samara: Did you have any LGBT influences growing up?
Samara: Do you feel you were born in the “wrong body?” or that you were born to be a transman?
Ian: In my comedy I may use words like that so that people can understand, but no, I do not feel like I was born in the wrong body. I was born in the right body and I’ve just made some changes to it. I feel like to say that my body is “wrong” is negative speak and I try to stay away from that kind of talk, there’s enough negative speech out there about Trans folks, I try to stay clear of that kind of lingo.
Samara: Why do you think we don’t see as many drag kings or FTM’s as we do drag queens and MTF in the entertainment industry?
Ian: I think that isn’t a true statement anymore. In the last decade the number of Drag Kings and Trans Masculine performers have grown incredibly. I’m not sure why it used to be that way, but I might speculate, and I’m not an expert by any means, that a lot of people frowned on female-bodied people owning masculinity. For a long time most folks thought the only people who got to own it were biological males and that’s just simply not true today and people are more free to explore and play on the masculine-feminine continuum in performance as well as everyday life.
Samara: So how did the comedy/acting come along?
Ian: I took a comedy writing workshop and loved it.
Samara: Did you ever consider staying in the closet about being a transman?
Ian: No, I thought I’m going to be as out as I can possibly be.
Samara: Do you date straight women? If so how does that work out?
Ian: I am partnered with someone who identifies somewhere in the Queer spectrum and she is really great. Dating straight folks never seems to work out for me; I think because they often felt that how I identified somehow changed how they identified and I don’t believe it does. You are who you say you are! Who I am does not change who you are. But some people can’t get over that idea and don’t like how being seen next to someone can help them be perceived as (fill in the blank). No matter how we try we can’t control what people think of us. In my experience, it’s futile to try to manage other people perceptions. So I can’t be with someone who is really fixated on that, it’s exhausting.
Samara: Where do you like to draw the line in your comedy?
Ian: I don’t make or like jokes about assault, rape or murder; that shit is just not funny, no matter how you slice it. But most everything else is fair game.
Samara: Do you think all transpeople should be open about who/what they are?
Ian: I think that is a completely individual decision. For me, I am as OUT as I can possibly be, BUT safety in certain situations, is always a important consideration.
Samara: What new projects can we expect from you?
Ian: Touring, touring, touring, and maybe some acting. Check my schedule at www.ianharvie.com for tour dates.
Samara: Thank you so much for your time.
Ian: My pleasure, thank you Samara! xoxo