July 01, 2006


Stumbled across this interesting website of the transsexual actress and former Nashville drag performer Calpernia Addams, who shot to fame as the real life girlfriend of the murdered soldier who inspired the Showtime film SOLDIER'S GIRL. I've never met her, but when I perfromed in Nashville 3 years ago, she was spoken of in hushed, reverent tones as the local girl who made it. She moved to LA and played in a 2004 all transsexual version of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES. Would love to have seen that one! Monologues about vaginas by men who paid for them! I mean for their own. OK, trans-people, I know that was a cheap one, but this is the place. Calpernai is single and encourages folks to drop her a note (I need to add that tomy site!) and even includes a sassy list of BAD QUESTIONS which should not be asked. Like:

3. What is/was your "real" name? What was your "old" name? - This one is a biggie. My real name is Calpernia Addams. What are you really asking here? Think about it. Most people ask this because:
They don't "really" consider me a woman, and while they're willing to humor me by calling me Calpernia, they want the "truth" about who I am

They "really" consider my current identity to be a fabrication

They want to have something they can hold onto and "prove" that I'm "really" something other than what I seem. People use old names to hurt and control women who have transitioned, mocking them and using the name to keep them in their place.

At best, it's a rude question, and although you may be morbidly curious, don't ask. There are things I wonder about you that I don't ask, trust me.

But everyone knows that Marilyn Monroe's old/real name was Norma Jean! What's the difference? Revealing Marilyn's birth name doesn't do anything to change her core human attributes in a person's mind. She's still a woman by either name. Revealing the birth-assigned name of a person who has transitioned immediately invalidates or questions their gender to the average person.

Calpernia also has a fun blog which details her various acting gigs (she played the tranny fiddler in TRANSAMERICA) so check her out at CALPERNIA.COM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, perhaps the difference is that Marilyn's old real name was also a "girl" name. Knowing her old name couldn't possibly disqualify or diminish her female sexuality... not like it can for a Marilyn whose old name was Bob.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calpernia Addams is mentioned in the film "Addams Family Values", a long dead matriarch .Thats probably where she got the name.
For that I respect her.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Lady Bunny said...

Drag thespian Charles Busch played a wacky, older aunt in the 90's Addams Family movie. Wonder if it was Calpernia? I seem to recall that Charles had a more integral role but was edited to mainly the party scene towards the end. --B

6:45 PM  
Blogger DivineLavender said...

Enlighting blog entry. That makes me think...Thanks for sharing.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Calpernia Addams was Wednesday's hero, in the scene where Morticia goes to the parent-teacher conference... Wednesday's teacher asked Morticia who this woman was, and Morticia told her- an ancestor of theirs who had been burned at the stake during the Witch Trials.

I also seem to remember Morticia explaining they thought Calpernia was a witch because she had a penchant for running nude through the streets of town...

5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bunny... Cali is a friend of mine... we used to work at the (now defunct) Connection, here in Nashville, together.
Great person!!!!

And to those that wondered where her name came from, yes, that is where. Her middle name is Sarah, and for a while went by that... but in the end, she's more known and answers to Calpernia.

It's funny that you mention the "name" question... She wrote a book, her biography really, called Mark 947 in which she talks about her boyhood... In it, she talks about her boy name, but not to give the dish, doesn't use her real one. I don't really blame her really, as people tend to like to pry, and that would just lead them right to things that they don't need to be after.

Anyway, I really hope people go and check her out. She truly is a wonderful person...

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy, y'all! Thanks for posting about me, Lady B! Nashville has been so good to me, and I love everyone there who supported me in my early days.
It's funny how names still fascinate people... even those who think they "get it" will nod and wink and say things like "Oh I totally support her! But you know, just between us, her name was this and here's a picture of her as a boy" and so on and so on. The funny thing is, I went by a family nickname even when I lived as a boy, so there are about three people who really REALLY know my old name on my birth certificate.
You know, Lady B, we actually have an acquaintance in common (I think) -- a girl named Carolyn from Tennessee. She ended up moving to India and her amazing adventure blog is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sirensongs/sets/1522453/ (you may not even recognize her now).

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why must the world be so very critical and nosey? People should take into consideration, just because someone is in the spotlight doesn't mean they don't have feelings, plain and simple. I don't know Calpernia personally, but I have recently followed her work closely. If people would broaden their minds a bit, they would see what a loving, talented,and courageous young woman she is. To her defense, I am offended for her. How about this, as tactful as possible: It's no ones business what her previous name was. Why can't she be known for her heart, talent, and success??? Yes, she "made it" Why?? Because she had drive and ambition. Would it make you feel better to know her "real name"?? I know it!! I'll tell you....CALPERNIA. Happy?? Kimberly

9:55 PM  
Blogger AlyxGrace said...

Many transsexuals have damn good reasons for not publicizing their birth names, better ones than Hollywood starlets trying to sound more marketable. Then there's the simple reason of privacy. Ever hear of it? So why don't Lady Bunny and other drag queens make a point of giving out their real names and showing how they look without wigs and makeup every time they appear in public?

7:09 PM  
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