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Classics Critique Essay History Humanities Journal/Diary Nonfiction Poetry Theater/Play Theory

My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix – Performing Transgender Rage

By Susan Stryker, 2011

The following work is a textual adaptation of a performance piece originally presented at “Rage Across the Disciplines,” an arts, humanities, and social sciences conference held June 10-12, 1993 at California State University, San Marcos. The interdisciplinary nature of the conference, its theme, and the organizers’ call for both performances and academic papers inspired me to be creative in my mode of presenting a topic then much on my mind. As a member of Transgender Nation – a militantly queer, direct action transsexual advocacy group – I was at the time involved in organizing a disruption and protest at the American Psychiatric Association’s 1993 annual meeting in San Francisco. A good deal of the discussion at our planning meetings concerned how to harness the intense emotions emanating from transsexual experience – especially rage – and mobilize them into effective political actions. I was intrigued by the prospect of critically examining this rage in a more academic setting through an idiosyncratic application of the concept of gender performativity. My idea was to perform self-consciously a queer gender rather than simply talk about it, thus embodying and enacting the concept simultaneously under discussion.

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