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Now ten years later, I have sung for millions of people in some of the most beautiful theaters in the world, from the Royal Opera House in London to a tiny shed full of Aboriginal women elders in the Western Australian desert. I have collaborated with musicians and artists whom I deeply respect.
I was told during my 20s and 30s there was no chance that someone like me could have a career in music, and this perspective was reiterated by so many industry “professionals” and media outlets that I lost count. Thankfully, fellow artists like Lou Reed advocated for me so intensely that I got a foothold despite the worst intentions of others.Everyone told me that I still ought to attend, that a walk down the red carpet would still be “good for my career”.Last night I tried to force myself to get on the plane to fly to LA for all the nominee events, but the feelings of embarrassment and anger knocked me back, and I couldn’t get on the plane.I imagined how it would feel for me to sit amongst all those Hollywood stars, some of the brave ones approaching me with sad faces and condolences.
There I was, feeling a sting of shame that reminded me of America’s earliest affirmations of my inadequacy as a transperson. As if to rub salt into the wound, the next morning the Oscars added that I was transgendered to the trivia page of their website.But if you trace the trail of breadcrumbs, the deeper truth of it is impossible to ignore.Like global warming, it is not one isolated event, but a series of events that occur over years to create a system that has sought to undermine me, at first as a feminine child, and later as an androgynous transwoman.In that sense, I am one of the luckiest people in the world.