Originally performed for The Come Up Show ATL’s birthday show on Friday September 25, 2020.
CW: internalized transphobia and mention of She Who Must Not Be Named. Guard your beautiful heart.
Non-bi, and only non-bi this month:
Related to absolutely nothing: it’s Mark Hamill’s birthday today and I want to raise a glass for a hero who has never let me down. I am 31 and I still want to grow up to be Luke Skywalker.
A year ago, my wonderful friend Jake invited me to perform for a show in his living room. He asked me what my pronouns were and, for the first time in my life, I tiptoed into telling the truth. I remember answering him in a Facebook message and then thundering downstairs to the Shakespeare Tavern green room to hug him, to thank him.
Sometimes it just helps to be asked, you know? Because sometimes I myself don’t know which questions I’m even allowed.
Honestly, I’m kind of scared to get into this, because fuck. Fucking fucking fuck. What if I’m “wrong,” you know? What if I don’t know a damn thing? What if the way I feel isn’t enough of how I’m supposed to feel? I know I’ve talked about this before, but sometimes I just feel like a straight cis girl looking for attention, though I know in my guts that’s wrong. Fuck that voice for being there. Fuck you, Voice. As I tell my cat in my grandmother’s voice these days, “Be sweet.”
When I was a kid, I looked up the meaning of the name “Danielle” and I was so fucking disappointed. According to Wikipedia, Danielle is just the Hebrew female variant of the male name Daniel, meaning “God is my judge.” First of all, back off, God, you have more important shit to handle right now. Judge me? Get your own house in order.
So, I took on “Dani” as soon as I could. The idea of being a girly Cinderella princess, even though I loved them, made my skin crack and craw and “Danielle” was the girliest thing I’d ever heard. I thrilled when my short hair and stupid parrot button-up shirts got me mistaken for a boy. They called me “Mr. Herd” at the 8th Grade Beta Club Induction Ceremony and I wasn’t mad. I think I would still be thrilled to be mistaken for a boy except, here’s the thing, maybe it isn’t a mistake?
It breaks my heart to think about it, to give words to it, because I think I am probably not brave enough to move forward about it. And I don’t have to in order to be valid, I know that. Honestly, sometimes I just feel lazy. This soft girl body doesn’t look the way I want it to in boy clothes, so I just drape myself in shapeless dresses and hide myself away. Is it too late for me? For suspenders and bow ties and so many buttons? I can confess to you, my sweet Come Up and Instagram witchy queer friends. I know you support me, I know you love me, and I can never tell you how grateful I am for you.
But you know how you watch Rocketman and you both have a crush on Elton John AND you sort of want to be Elton John? You know that thing? Do you not? Or that thing of how you sob so hard during Dead Poet’s Society because you relate so much to Neil Perry and you understand how much it hurts to feel like you can’t be yourself? To feel trapped? Or that thing where you scroll Tumblr at night for posts tagged #transmasc and you’re just so fucking happy for every handsome face you see? You know those things? Fuck. If you know those things, hit me up, I want to talk.
I know what my name would be, speaking of Sir Elton. I’d keep so much the same, because the core of me is the same. Soft and indoorsy and poet-y and crying all the damn time. Danielle Elise, in another world, could be Daniel Elton and I really hope that kid is okay, wherever he is. I think he also gets up on stages a lot, but I think Daniel sings. I think his voice is probably really beautiful.
Sometimes it is enough to be able to imagine these many multiverses. There is that one where I’m dancing with you, and I don’t even care what my name is there. That one’s my favorite.
A year ago, my wonderful friend Jake asked me about my pronouns. As of tonight, I accept them all. I promise to keep you posted if that changes. Honestly, y’all will probably be the first to know. Thank you.
It’s The Come Up’s birthday, it’s Mark Hamill’s birthday, and the Force is with us. Always.
In conclusion tonight, because I am a simple bastard for a theme, I offer you a new Sorting Hat Song. Because fuck you, J.K. Rowling:
Oh, you may not think I’m valid
But don’t judge on what you see
I won’t back down, not then, not now,
I’ll stand for Him, Her, Them, and Me
She can keep her sequels lame
Her viewpoints cruel and small
I’m a trans Harry Potter fan
And I’m still standing tall
There’s nothing hidden in your heart
That you yourself can’t see
Please tell us your pronouns and your name
The truth will set you free
You might feel best with she and her
Wthether you’ve known always or not
Maybe you wear dresses, maybe you don’t
We still love you a lot
You might feel better with him and he
You handsome, daring souls
We’re proud of you forevermore
(Fuck traditional gender roles)
Or yet with singular they/them
If you’re somewhere in between
Maybe gender just doesn’t fit you at all!
My friend, you still are seen
Or perhaps there’s some words else
That best capture how you feel
We promise to use any means
To make sure you know you’re real
Tell us your truth! Don’t be afraid!
We’re proud you’ve come so far
The Sorting Hat is just a hat
You decide who you are