Saturday, August 13, 2011

Richard O'Brien

So I was just doing a little Googling about the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie was based on a London stage show - same name but without the "Picture" part. Richard O'Brien wrote the stage play and also played Riff Raff in the movie.

Here's something interesting from Richard O'Brien's Wiki page:
O'Brien has married twice and fathered three children. In a 2009 interview he spoke about an ongoing struggle to reconcile cultural gender roles and described himself as being transgender or possible third sex. O'Brien stated, "There is a continuum between male and female. Some are hard-wired one way or another, I’m in between."
I assume the marriages were to women, so it does seem odd that he would describe himself as not quite male. Certainly not being 100% male hasn't prevented him from reproducing in the usual male way.

I'm always fascinated by people who say they're not the right gender.

Eddie Izzard refers to himself as a "male tomboy." I've seen alot more of Eddie Izzard than Richard O'Brien and Izzard projects a standard masculinity - he does not come off as femme in his normal mode of presentation.

I support everybody's right to be anything they want - but I just don't understand gender dysphoria. I mean, how could you know you're the "wrong" gender if you don't know what it's like to be the other gender? It always strikes me as just rebelling against society's rigid gender dichotomy. Izzard says: "women wear what they want and so do I" which sure sounds like nothing more than a desire for liberties accorded women. Like, say, an American woman in 1919 might have wished she was a man so she could vote. Once women could vote, and once, someday, male attire isn't so constrained, the desire to be the other gender will disappear, won't it?

But Izzard's also said on occasion that he wants to be a woman. He said his fantasy would be to make love to a woman as a woman.

When I was a kid and became aware of the systemic devaluation of girls I wanted to do boy things. I liked to consider myself a tomboy. I joined a girls softball team and stuck it out for two years even though I was a terrible player. When I was in high school I made a serious effort to participate in a team sport during PE - and the first time out I was bashed in the face with a field hockey stick. I was knocked out briefly and had to have stitches and the left-hand side of my lower lip droops slightly to this day. That was it for me and team sports. I was done with being a jock forever.

But my lesbian daughter considers me "butch" because I don't enjoy typical women things like clothes shopping, and I use less makeup than many women and I almost never wear high heels.

But in spite of my "butchness" and jockish attempts, I've never felt that I was "really" a man. And I've never been sexually interested in women.

I should say that if I thought it would get me laid by a guy I really liked, I'd have no problem doing the whole femme bit with high heels and whatever else. But I've always maintained that most of what women do to femme it up won't actually help them get laid. Take long painted fingernails. I haven't seen any empirical studies but I'd be willing to bet that those are number 900 on the top 100 list of things that heterosexual men find appealing in women. I just don't think they care if your fingernails are long and painted. Not counting men with a fingernail fetish - I've never heard of any, but there must be some out there. There appears to be a fetish for everything.

So Richard O'Brien says he's a third sex - what can that mean? He feels he's not macho? He has desires for men? I mean, I am heterosexual, but I'd be very happy if fewer men displayed "typical" male behaviors. I'd be happy if NASCAR disappeared off the face of the earth.

If guys like Eddie Izzard and Richard O'Brien could be considered not quite manly, a kind of third sex, I say hooray for the third sex!

Speaking of Eddie Izzard - amazing - on Youtube there are videos of a staged performance of the production of A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG that Izzard was in. I can't believe posting these videos doesn't violate some law - but here it is until they take it down: