By Marissa Mooney |Staff Writer|
The Pride Center at CSUSB welcomed Chicago-based artist Rebecca Kling to the Santos Manuel Student Union on April 25 to present her one-woman show on her identity as a transgendered woman.
Kling presented “Allusion/Illusion: A Day with Rebecca Kling” and a performance of Trans Form at the SMSU Theater.
Gabby Sandoval, a student assistant at the Pride Center introduced Rebecca right before her multimedia performance that included video, story-telling, movement and acting. The start of the Trans Form was a live action theatrical production with sound effects and lighting.
In one notable moment, Rebecca ran around the stage acting like a young boy playing ‘Cops and Robbers.’ “The bad guys transform me into a girl, but rescuing me doesn’t transform me back into a boy,” said Kling.
From her child-like behavior, she transitioned into a monologue explaining her struggle of self-discovery and gender issues.
The audience interacted with questions and curiosities. “Is there a transgender role model out there?” one student asked. She answered by saying that Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” was her role model, admiring the Disney character’s transition from a mermaid to a human.
Every so often she would chime in to define the word “transform” as she stood center stage. Long pauses were held as she moved the chair she sat on from left to right on the stage and acted out key moments from her childhood, college and adult life.
One defining moment was when she came out to her parents as a young boy. Her mother told her, “We will accept you no matter what.”
When she finally decided to go to the DMV to get her name and picture changed, the DMV told her she needed a medical note to change her gender from male to female.
Rebecca ended up going down the street to another DMV only to tell them that the previous DMV mistakenly marked her down as a male on her license. To her surprise, the DMV was able to officially change her license from male to female.
On the website Kickstarter.com, Rebecca Kling stated, “In the fall of 2010, I was fired from a teaching position for being a transgender woman. The experience left me wondering what America is teaching its children—and its adults—about gender, conformity and being just a little bit different.”
The incident led her to begin a tour called No Gender Left Behind as a result of her firing. “But it’s also a show about how we all transgress gender in our own little ways, how transgendered rights are fundamental to everyone’s rights,” said Kling.
Rebecca challenges her audience to face the issues on gender and help them to understand. By the end of Trans Form she had an open discussion with the audience and was open to a critique on her own performance.
Many of the students were impressed with Rebecca’s multimedia performance and felt proud enough to advocate Rebecca’s tour on different college campuses around the United States.
Photos by Marissa Mooney