Silver City, NM – Transgender men and women have been in the spotlight of the media recently fighting for acceptance and trying to educate the public on who they are. For any reader who might not know, a transgender person is anyone who identifies with a sex different from the sex that they were assigned at birth. Many trans people undergo a transition, or get surgery and take hormones, to become the gender that they identify with, but it is important to know what not all trans people do this. There are many different ways that people express this.
Ian Harvie, a transgender comedian and actor, came to WNMU on October 22 to perform his stand-up comedy about being a transgender man.
Ian said, “I’m happy to these events, and I’m glad that this will benefit the Center. I hung out at the Center today, with the students and advisors. I think it’s really cool and just ground breaking for Silver City and for Western New Mexico to have a Center. I know a lot of other colleges have something or a safe space somewhere.”
He thinks it is important for people to know that the Center is a safe place for everybody, not just the LGBTQ students, and emphasized the importance of having a safe space.
“How can you even argue the terminology of ‘safe space’?” Ian said, “I mean, this is a space where anybody can come, with rules of policies of we take anybody in and create a space where they don’t have to worry about who they are, no matter who they are.”
Ian was born and raised in Maine. He has been doing comedy for about 14 years, but decided that he needed to be in an area that he felt he could pursue a career in comedy. It came down to choosing between L.A. and New York. In the end, Los Angeles won him over with its lovely climate, and he has been living there for about ten years now.
Ian explained his draw to comedy, “I like comedy clubs because I get to change those people and what they think their old idea are about what a trans person looks like, sounds like, acts like, their story, and what it’s really like to be a trans person through humor. So, I get to educate, without them knowing it.” Ian went on to say, “I just hope that they have a new frame of reference for trans people, and they think twice about dehumanizing us.”
Ian also said, “If I were to formalize my message, I would say that we are all the same. Who I am and how I feel about my body is really not that different from how most people feel about their bodies. If we stay away from labeling and identity language, which I think is absolutely important, but if you and I and everybody in this room tonight were to just share feeling words we’re all the same.”
Ian Harvie is friends with Coach Coleman and Dr. Coleman, who asked him to come and give a performance at WNMU for Glam Week. Along with stand-up comedy, Ian has also been staring in the Amazon original series, Transparent, which is working to raise awareness toward Transgender people