Transsexual and lesbian are simply aspects of British comedian Bethany Black’s identity. Although these identities play important roles in Black’s life, they do not necessarily define her.
As a stand-up comedian, Black is witty, complex, and sharp. With choppy, pitch black hair and red lipstick, Black calls herself a “goth and butch lesbian.”
Black has known she was different since she was three-years-old.
“It’s been there in the heart of me since I was a child,” Black told 429Magazine. However, Black’s sexual and gender identity are not at the forefront of her comedy routine.
“I sometimes talk about it in my comedy, when it’s relevant.” Black continued. “Mostly though, unless something specific happens that relates to it that I want to address I don’t really talk about it all that much on stage, though I do in my day to day life.”
However, in Black’s 2008 preview show for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Beth Becomes Her, she told all. Her transsexuality and sexual orientation surfaced, along with many other personal, some dark, tales of her life. Black began the conversation by defining the difference between gender and sexuality. Her performance landed her a nomination for the best newcomer at the Leicester comedy festival.
“Simply put, sexuality is who you want to go to bed with, and gender identity is who you want to go to bed as.”
She continued, “I’m a woman. I was born gendered as female, but assigned male at birth.”
She went on to say, “I like the ladies, they’re nice. I underwent a process where I changed the role that I lived in and had surgery to make my sex match my gender and here I am. A butch lesbian.”
In the way in which her transsexuality influences her comedy, Black says, “I’m a natural outsider…[this]allows me to look [at]the way that the world seems to work for everyone else and I see the things that other people don’t.” She continued, “It’s a tiny part of who I am, but it’s not all I am.”