I’m a long-time fan of Girl Talk, the ongoing “cis and transwomen dialogue” performance series, curated by Gina DeVries, Elena Rose, and Julia Serano. This year’s performance is tonight, June 27, at the African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco, as part of the 16th Annual National Queer Arts Festival.
Now in its fifth year, Girl Talk is a critically acclaimed multi-media performance show promoting dialogue about relationships of all kinds between queer transgender women, queer cisgender women, and genderqueer people. Queer cis women, queer trans women, and genderqueer people are allies, friends, support systems, lovers, and partners to each other every day — from activism that includes everything from Take Back the Night to Camp Trans; to supporting each other in having “othered” bodies in a world that is obsessed with idealized body types; to loving, having sex, and building family with each other in a world that wants us to disappear.
I’ve been to three of the previous four annual performances, and I watched much of the one I missed on YouTube. In my heart, I will always wish that it was in fact a dialogue (or conversation), but I also love what it is, which is eight very different women (the line-up changes each year, though the three curators almost always speak) talking or otherwise telling us about their lives. It unites the diversity of radical women under one roof, a rare and welcome opportunity.
Julia Serano, of course, is the author of Whipping Girl: A Transexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (discussed here by Marlene Hoeber, who has also been a Girl Talk performer). Whipping Girl is probably the best book ever written about social analysis of trans women. Gina DeVries and Elena Rose are both knockout performers and major gender activists.
Come to the show if you can. I’ll be there.