TW: cissexism, transmisogyny
V STRIKES BACK
Gender-nonconforming cabaret star Justin Vivian Bond, who prefers the pronoun “v”, isn’t thrilled with New York Times critic Stephen Holden, who reviewed Bond’s recent holiday show, Snow Angel. In a scathing post on v’s blog, Bond contemplates the writeup as a possible “hate crime,” because of Holden’s use of transphobic language—including the phrase “his/her self-described freakishness.”
I never called myself a freak during the show but with his twisted worldview Mr. Holden translated my observations about the ‘nature vs. nurture’ argument and my open and direct discussion of my life as a transperson and my queer identity as “self-described freakishness”.
Among other slights: The Times review assumes Bond’s brilliant hair is a wig (it isn’t), suggests Bond sounds best “when I sing like ‘a man,’” and describes v as a campy drag send-up of Kim Novak. “There is a difference between being a drag queen and being a transgender cabaret performer,” Bond clarifies.
While Holden’s review is positive overall, Bond’s umbrage stems in how, just below the surface, it’s really a critique of v’s trans identity more than the show itself.