On the eve of Lady Bunny‘s one-woman show Trans-Jester coming to Los Angeles, FourTwoNine sat down with the drag superstar to discuss her signature approach to all things un-PC. Needless to say, it got.. pretty rude. But hey, that’s how we like it. Join us on a journey inside the mind of one of the drag scene’s poet laureates to learn about drugs, cock, and Melania Trump’s abortive career in jewelry design.
Abe Gurko: One of the themes of Trans-Jester is Political Correctness Run Amuck. Can you speak to this?
Lady Bunny: I miss Joan Rivers! Was she politically correct? No, but fucking hilarious! One thing, which really had me shaking my head in disbelief is the friction which has developed between the drag and the trans community. It flared up after RuPaul’s Drag Race was busted for using the word “tranny” and referring to one challenge as “You’ve got she-mail.” It’s a very silly and harmless pun. But now militant trans activists claim that she-mail is too close the shemale, which refers to trans porn.
What politically correct term annoy you the most?
Cisgender. Do you know what a cisgender woman is? It’s a woman!
What are your thoughts on the evolution of Gender Dysphoria?
Do your thing, be whatever you want to be. I certainly did. And my own gender is not clearly defined. But a word of warning to the trans people who I adore—never tie your rights to a trend. Because when that trend goes out of style as all trends do, so do your rights.
Which of the 56 Facebook sexual identities do you associate with?
56? Jeez—now I have to come up with 56 new slurs? If you treat everyone with respect then labels mean much less.
What is the most important message you want audiences to take away from Trans Jester?
The reason for doing the show is to ask what we’re still able to laugh at in this hyper-PC climate. We’ve become so politically correct that some college was recently claiming that “Hey, you guys!” was sexist because it excluded women. In a humorous way, this show seeks to poke fun at how PC we’ve become in the last decade or so.
Is this a learning moment for us?
There is a part of the show where I go through a list of newer words from ‘cisgender’ to ‘little people’, which I call “the lecture.” I do disseminate some actual information in this section, but it is punctuated by enough jokes to where it hopefully doesn’t come across as preachy. At one point, I express my frustration with the gay community now being called LGBTQIA. Many audiences don’t know what each initial means. In fact, Donald Trump addressed us as the LGBTQ community during his campaign. I thought “Shit! I thought it was still LGBT. Am I less PC than Donald fucking Trump?”
Do you have a ritual when you sit down to write? Do you do it sober?
I don’t drink because it interferes with my crack, PCP, GHB, heroin and popper usage.
Where are you from?
I was born in the hate state of North Carolina, but moved by 5 years of age to Chattanooga, Tennessee where I lived until around 20 years old.
Who was your childhood hero or inspiration?
Because Chattanooga was a little dull, I mooned over Barbara Eden in “I Dream Of Jeannie” and Elizabeth Montgomery in “Bewitched”. I thought that magic could whisk me away from church-y rednecks, racism and homophobia.
Were you popular in high school? Were you the class clown?
I was popular and on student council. I was also the class clown. One teacher made me sit at her desk facing the class so she could keep an eye on me. But whenever she turned her back on my to draw on the blackboard, I was holding my nose and indicating the sweat stains on the armpits of her Qiana dress. The class was in hysterics.
When did you get out of dodge? Where did you go?
My parents became Quakers after we moved to Ghana and they were very much influenced by a couple of British Quakers. So they sent me to a Quaker boarding school in York, England. It was 1978-80 and I fell in love with the new wave and disco scene. Sylvester was ruling at the time and I was drawn to both his sound and his androgyny.
What was your lamest real job? What did that teach you?
In Atlanta, I worker many entry level positions at ice cream stores, movie theaters and even a couple fast-food chains. It definitely taught me that I wasn’t one for a 9-5 job and that I had issues with authority figures.
Who would you like to see run for President in 2020?
Whichever Independent candidate supports income inequality, addressing climate change, forcing corporations and the wealthy to pay their fare share of taxes and ending senseless wars.
Would you have tea with Melania Trump?
No, my greatest regret about having Melania as first lady is that we’ve lost such a great jewelry designer. I have a bracelet she designed in 2015, which I bought at Macy’s in 2013.
Has Donald Trump ever tried grabbing your pussy?
I’d like to see him try. He’d need a bigger hand
Are you planning to do another Wigstock? Here in LA, perhaps?
I would love to do Wigstock at the Hollywood Bowl. I saw Grace Jones there two years ago and was blown away by her and the venue. So you never know.
If they made of movie of your life (Lifetime that is, Logo has no budget) Who would you cast to play you?
Mimi from the Drew Carey Show.
Name 3 of your favorite movies
The Killing Of Sister George.
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte.
To Kill A Mockingbird.
Buried or Cremated?
I’m not that old!
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday morning?
Traveling home normally from a Saturday night out of town gig, and getting ready for a disco tea dance I spin at The Monster in NYC most Sundays.
What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday night?
Hooking up with a horse-hung, chubby-chasing Dominican drug dealer!
Have you ever stolen money from your mother’s purse?
For sure. And lipstick. Maybe a tampon or two.
What do you hate most about your best friend?
She has retreated into the Internet and doesn’t pick up her phone.
What do you like most about your best friend?
She’ll tell me the truth if and when I do get her on the phone.
Best advice you got?
When I complained about my expensive pantyhose always running at the toe area, the shopkeeper said, “Cut your toenails!”
Best advice you have to offer?
Pick something you enjoy doing. If it takes off, you’ll be doing it a lot.
Words to live by?
Get all ya can, while you can!
Lady Bunny’s Trans-Jester plays at the Cavern Club in LA this Sunday. Purchase tickets here.