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John Cameron Mitchell doesn’t see ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ as a ‘trans statement’

The iconic Broadway and West musical follows a genderqueer singer who is forced to have gender confirmation surgery

By Steve Brown

Words: Steve Brown

John Cameron Mitchell doesn’t see Hedwig and the Angry Inch as a ‘trans statement’.

The iconic Broadway and West End musical – and subsequent film – focuses on a genderqueer rock-and-roll singer from Germany who is forced to have gender confirmation surgery.

However, the surgery is botched and leaves her with the angry inch but in a recent interview with Advocate, Mitchell – who wrote the book and starred in the production – argued that the film isn’t a ‘trans statement’ but a ‘survivor statement’.

He said: “Hedwig is forced into something by what I call the binarchy, which comes out of the patriarchy. To be a man, you have to do this.

“To be a woman, you have to do that. To be free, you have to be one or the other.

“And so I don’t think of it in any way as a trans statement. It’s a survivor statement. It definitely talks about androgyny as a kind of wholeness.

“We all have male and female energies. Society defines them differently, but we all have those energies in us. All of us.

“And the binarchy requires you can define yourself as one or the other, and some more courageous people are saying, ‘No, I’m myself. I’m a gender of one. I’m nonbinary’.”