The thought had never before occured to me. About the closest I came to trying it was the acting class I took during my last semester as an undergraduate. I had no visions of myself on film or stage; I took the class mainly for fun and because, I told myself at the time, it might help me to understand acting if I ever decide to write a play (something I've never done).
Actually, some would argue that I've been acting for a long time--in the classroom. I don't disagree with anyone who says that teaching is a performing art, but somehow I think it has more in common with stand-up comedy (something I've also never tried). Then there are those who say that I was acting during all of the years I lived as a male. I wouldn't disagree with that, either. The thing is, the more I lived as a male, the more alienated I felt from the male persona I, in essence, created. Somehow I imagine that actors--the good ones, anyway--feel more empathy, or at least understanding, for their characters as they spend more time portraying them.
Still, I found it curious that even though a number of writers, musicians, artists and other creative people and performers are transgendered, I'd never heard of a trans actor.
Well, I learned of one today. You might not have heard of her, but I think her story deserves attention.
Barbara Ann Myers donned a hoopskirt and petticoats to play a lady who might have been seen in the Gettysburg marketplace 150 years ago, when one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War was fought there.
She has been re-enacting the battle and other historical events for a long time. It helped her to indulge in her love of history while, she said, it also maginified her gender identity conflict.
"I never wanted to be a soldier," she explained. "I always wanted to be a lady and I was never able to do that."
She reports widespread acceptance from the community of re-enactors and her co-workers at the Florida Highway Department. However, her wife divorced her, her son cut off ties and her mother doesn't want to see her in a dress.
In spite of--or, perhaps, because--of the mixed reception, she has continued to follow her passions--and, most important, her spirit. Acceptance from some is a reward for being true to yourself, while rejection or distance from others is the price or "dues" you pay.
Seeing the video of Ms. Myers and reading her story, I couldn't help but to wonder how (or whether) the kind of characters an actor plays--or the way he or she plays them-- would change if her or she were to undergo a gender transition.