I have dedicated myself over the past several nights to beginning an article/ essay on my participation in the burlesque arts as a transman. My art history degree is showing in my obsessive research on the topic. My neurosis in my coffee-addled drafting process.

Fucking write already!

What I’m finding in my research is that transmale burlesque performers are few and far between. I found an article about the DC Gurly Show including ‘actual men’ and transmale performers. I know of several performances artists like James Darling and Lazlo Pearlman  that also do burlesque. But where my boys at? Is it that hard for the broad cross section of society known as transmen to dance and take it off?

I’ve charged myself with writing this essay to enter my burlesque story into the canon. Not to spoil the big reveal, but burlesque for me has taught me to love my body in a way I never thought possible. Particularly with the internet amplifying the use of trans catch words like ‘dysphoria,’ the message of body hate being synonymus with being trans is powerful and clear. One jaunt through fuckyeahftms.tumblr.com is all it takes to see a sea of negative language and body shame. Feeling anxious about a body that doesn’t fit with your self perception makes sense. Overcoming that anxiety is difficult. But as I like to say, only you can prevent forest fires.

Before my opinions get me in trouble, I will say instead – stay tuned. And if you know of any transmale burlesque performers, please link me their information. I’ll get back to reading and writing.


“Draftsmanship” is part of a forty-five post series celebrating CHOP: a Top Surgery Campaign for Elias Gross. Like the writing? Give to CHOP today!

One Response to “Draftsmanship”
  1. tendergender says:

    Hi – I’m a transguy who is part of a drag king troupe. If you’re still working on your paper, I’d be happy to talk to you about it 🙂

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