Author, activist, and performance artist Kate Bornstein, who identifies as gender non-conforming, was heckled at a performance of the Broadway show Straight White Men on Wednesday night.
Bornstein appears in the show’s opening with Ty Defoe, whose gender identity translates from the Ojibwe language to mean “transcending gender.”
Says Bornstein at the open: “Good evening, ladies, gentlemen, and the rest of us.”
At that, an audience member yelled “You’re not welcome here.”
Actor Armie Hammer, who stars in Straight White Men, tweeted following the outburst:
To the woman in our audience who felt it was appropriate to yell, “You’re not welcome here!” at Kate Bornstein, our beloved friend, co-worker, and now family member….. feel free never to come back.
— Armie Hammer (@armiehammer) August 9, 2018
An audience member, Amy Spiegel, responded to Hammer: “Was sitting right behind her and her husband – they were also both booing loudly. It was terrible, and they didn’t get kicked out, but all of us around her told her too STFU. They were in row 4 center isle seats 6 and 7. I was Row E Seat 104. She was in Row D Seat 105. Ppl around us thought it was part of the show at 1st, couldn’t believe what was happening. Ppl did tell her to shut up rather loudly. You were all genius, It sucks this happened and tried to overshadow the entire msg of the play.
Bornstein responded to the attack on Facebook Thursday:
I’m deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support in response to an attempted shaming of me that happened during a performance of Young Jean Lee’s “Straight White Men” on Broadway last night. It’s true what people are saying: a woman, in response to my opening line of the show, “Good evening, ladies, gentlemen, and the rest of us,” called out from the audience “You’re not welcome here.”
She could not have been more wrong. The cast, crew, and company of “Straight White Men” have been warm, welcoming, and inclusive of me and the other trans actors in the show, Ty Defoe and T.L. Thompson. The production company, Second Stage Theater, have only expressed delight in welcoming us aboard. And the staff of the Helen Hayes Theater could not be more welcoming—we all of us give and receive nightly hugs. So, I don’t know who she thought she was talking about when she claimed that I’m not welcome. I was not shamed by her. I was puzzled. What could have caused this woman’s outburst?
I’ve been chewing that over, and the best I can come up with is that one of her children or grandchildren has gone through a gender transition that troubled her greatly, to the point that she just boiled over when I took the stage. Look, “Straigh White Men” is a great work of art. And great art does upset people. It happens all the time. Please know that I’m not upset, or afraid. I’m more than ever proud to be part of this show.
Again, thank you for your love and support.