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Straight White Men (#110 of 2)

Interview: Kate Bornstein on Their Broadway Debut in Straight White Men

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Interview: Kate Bornstein on Their Broadway Debut in Straight White Men

Santiago Felipe

Interview: Kate Bornstein on Their Broadway Debut in Straight White Men

When Kate Bornstein, self-described as a non-binary femme-identified trans person, talks about their remarkable life journey, it’s clear that at 70, the trail-blazing author of the seminal work Gender Outlaw and subject of the documentary Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger is still a formidable force to be reckoned with. Bornstein isn’t content on resting on their laurels as a pioneer in transgender rights and acceptance, acknowledging that positions they once held are always subject to reassessment. As the reader will learn from our interview, Bornstein, who’s debuting on Broadway in the new Second Stage production of Straight White Men, is uniquely positioned to broaden our vision on gender in a rapidly evolving world.

Review: Straight White Men at the Public Theater

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Review: Straight White Men at the Public Theater
Review: Straight White Men at the Public Theater

Young Jean Lee both does and doesn’t traffic in subtlety. Two earlier plays by the South Korean-born playwright, The Shipment and Untitled Feminist Show, presented extreme versions of black and feminist theater tropes, respectively, to defamiliarize the ways we process race and gender on stage. In both cases the results were controversial (the former has particularly angered many of her spectators), but never simple. Among Lee’s charges against “identity” plays is the false sympathies they promote for characters who’re different from some presumed norm. It was only a matter of time, then, before Lee wrote Straight White Men, a play that targets the one racial group that few in the liberal class are inclined to feel particularly bad for. The result is as surprising and challenging as her other work, though almost unrecognizable in its approach.