I start to walk, then…
I keep walking...
Sitting for hours, still alone...
I arrive in a bar…
I wait until someone comes in…
There is music playing on the radio…
It smells like time doesn’t exist here…
My coffee is cold in front of me…
I can’t see the watermelon fields from here. Would I catch a slight glimpse of a lie?
….wondering what my reflection would say about me… I listen first to what they say...
then I understand what I need to do…
like in a dream... I place myself in front of me... So I decided to play a game of truth or false with myself.
I wait until I start to move to play… I am not sure where my attention is these days.
The people you see in the media are usually one type of trans person. They’re usually binary [identify as either female or male], they usually pass [as someone of that gender], they’re usually white and they usually have this narrative that they’ve always known they’re the ‘wrong gender’. It makes other trans people scared to tell their stories.
Non-binary people are people who don’t identify as male or female all the time. There are lots of subsections – you might be agender, gender fluid, bi-gender, a demi-girl or a demi-boy. You might not understand the nuances of the differences, but everyone is always making up new identities to match their experiences and that can only be a good thing. While it can be confusing, it’s better than saying you can only be this thing and we won’t talk about anything else.
I just identify as non-binary and don’t put myself into any sub identity. Some days I like to be a woman and I’m also OK with identifying as being a guy. I’m pretty much nothing at the moment.
I came out as a trans guy and transitioned. I took testosterone, I’ve had top surgery [chest reduction] and then a hysterectomy in 2015. The hormones and surgery is about aligning my body to what it should have been at birth. Being born with the correct parts would have made things easier, but at the same time I don’t want to be told that my body is wrong.
It’s very difficult to get treatment as a non-binary person. They were dismissive about the fact that I was feminine. Non-binary people are used to it, you are warned when you go in [to the gender clinics], if you want treatment you will have to present as male or female and stick to that story.
I don’t want to be part of any mainstream [pro-trans] movement if it doesn’t include non-binary people. In terms of celebrity, there needs to be a lot more diversity. It’s a circle: people don’t come out if they don’t see anyone like them.
I’m mixed-race: my mum is Spanish and Nigerian. I am still finding out how I connect with an identity apart from a western LGBT identity. That’s something I’m still working on. Within the religion indigenous to the Yoruba people [an ethnic group in Nigeria] there’s a lot of gender fluid deities; as a trans person trying to find my roots, that’s one part of my heritage that I feel positive about.
I should stand here
I’d better listen… At this point I am not convinced that I know me.
That person in front of me is now someone else trying to tell me stories.
Do the facts match up with the stories? I don’t know.
When I hear stories spoken out loud,
I am not totally convinced they actually happened.
Then suddenly they start to repeat the same action... and another story....
Yes, I’m a 50-year-old trans woman who started teaching around 1991. I qualified as a secondary school art and design teacher and gained an MA in English. I worked in an inner London secondary school where I became an assistant head of the arts faculty, leading around 20 members of staff. Whilst working in this school, in 2008 after a holiday to San Francisco, I returned to the UK and ‘acknowledged’ that I was trans. I contacted the school, through my union, to inform them that I wanted to transition. I was told that I wasn’t allowed to go ‘back in the building’ again. I wanted to ‘demand my job’ but my union at the time stated they couldn’t guarantee my‘ safety in the school’. This lack of a ‘guarantee of safety’ implied that there was a potential threat to my well-being if I was to return.
The impact of my redundancy meant I had to rent out my house in London because I couldn’t afford to pay for it so I then moved in with my family in the countryside and started teaching in a primary school. I successfully transitioned after taking the Local Authority to court, after two years of legal actions.
People think that LGBTQ intimacies are public property, particularly for the curious heterosexual. I always felt that our intimacy, our sexuality, our privacy… our sensuality was up for grabs for heterosexuals to do what they want with and talk about how they want to talk about it… and with trans people… the first question people ask you is: 'have you had the operation?’ And I always want to respond, ‘are you talking about my knee operation?’
I remember when I transitioned… Somebody called out across the staffroom, ‘are you going to have the op?’ and I said to them, ‘are you? are you going to have the op?!’ Because you just think ‘how dare you ask me that question? What gives you the right?’ But hey, society gives them the right to think they are allowed. In that instant it is kind of… you feel like they can own me and I’m no longer a person… you know they have completely dehumanised me.
However, the new Headteacher approached me and said, ‘I don’t know anyone like you’. He threatened me eight or nine times that he would come to observe my teaching and I would pass or fail. So I kind of buckled and left. Now I am only a supply teacher.
Transgendered lives have the potential to impact the most political fundamentals of life, in what counts as human and what norms are governing the appearance of what it means to be real humans.
I should stand here
WAS THIS STORY OUT OF CONTEXT?!
News spread after the head of St Mary Magdalen’s school sent a letter to parents saying: ‘Mr Upton has recently made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman.’
Born Nathan Upton in December 1980, she went back to her Accrington primary school after Christmas in women’s clothes and with a new name: Lucy Meadows.
Concerns from some parents were reported in the media, with one father saying that his three sons at the school were ‘too young to be dealing with that’. Also, on 20 December 2012, Richard Littlejohn wrote a column in the Daily Mail with the headline: ‘He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job’. Littlejohn asked whether anyone had thought of the ‘devastating effect’ on Ms Meadows’ pupils of her change of gender. Putting his [sic] own selfish needs ahead of the wellbeing of the children.
‘I became pretty good at avoiding the press before Christmas,’ said Ms Meadows. ‘I live about a three-minute walk from school as they were parked outside my house as well as school. I’m just glad they didn’t realise I also have a back door. I was usually in school before the press arrived and stayed until late so I could avoid them going home. I know the press offered parents money if they could get a picture of me… Many parents have been quite annoyed with the press too, they were trying to give positive comments but were turned away.’
Ms Meadows complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) on 3 January about ‘harassment from the press’. On 11 March the Daily Mail offered to take down Littlejohn’s article from the paper’s website, as well as a photograph of Meadows’ wedding in February 2009. Having carried out what can only be described as a character assassination, having sought to ridicule and humiliate Lucy Meadows and bring into question her right to pursue her career as a teacher, the Daily Mail’s gesture was considered to be token at best.
The 32-year-old was found dead at her home on Tuesday 19 March, after taking her own life. Ms Meadows poisoned herself three months after she started to live and work as a woman.
I should stand here
I think sometimes there is a gap in between what people say and what they actually experience
Things can get a bit trippy in Watermelon Sugar. Sometimes I think it can be a bit dreamy... we never know what is real and what is imagination... if this happened in the past or in the present, or future... or if it actually is a matter of truth or lies...
If the stories of the person next to me are different...
Then I look out the window and I see a phrase written on the wall…
How do you know we are not in Kansas anymore?
What's the ending?
You have a few minutes to add your suggestions for how to end story in Watermelon Sugar ended
Latest Message:2 years, 1 month ago
guest_352 : Dance
guest_9642 : Blow up the wall
guest_352 : There can longer be humans around
guest_352 : earth is patched
guest_352 : Rain has turned red
Md : Dead lions
guest_3392 : Annihilation
guest_352 : The fly
guest_4127 : Dog dies
guest_4127 : Dog dies
guest_352 : There is laughter everywhere
guest_352 : Everyone joins hand
guest_3845 : They think of an ending
guest_1492 : The paint smells peng
guest_1563 : We all agree to leave social media
guest_6242 : It never ends, starts over and over again
guest_352 : There is love everywhere
guest_1492 : Putin and Trump fall in love
guest_6810 : women get rights
guest_7324 : A bit of hope would be nice....
The famous writer that is named William Shakespear : Post-credits sequel tie in
guest_102 : We all join in!
guest_2545 : Trump walks in and smashes down the wall
guest_6276 : The weld is saved from global catastrophe
guest_7324 : Trump is imprisoned and politicians believe in global warming
guest_2627 : Silence
guest_6341 : Everyone continues to live for the next 30-70 years, dies, the show finishes, applause, return to this room and leave
guest_7324 : Free drinks?
guest_2627 : The audience turn into the actors and everyone falls to the ground
guest_2252 : They all pained each other red blue and ocher
guest_6341 : A big ol’ Hug for everyone please
guest_272 : The fire alarm goes off and the sprinkler system is activated
guest_7324 : They found a cure and dogs took over
guest_7393 : Everyone having a go with spray paint
Madz : Group dance
guest_7735 : Knock the wall over
guest_8320 : The giant toad ate them all
guest_3357 : Someone died
guest_8778 : After a mysterious interaction, there is one lone body left on stage
guest_9247 : They have a picnic
Sam : The baddie gets the girl, the hero dies
guest_5779 : Everyone sings a song
guest_5779 : Quickly
guest_9261 : Everyone backed
Disruptive Narratives : I am sorry to announce that for tonight’s show, we don’t have an ending… Which of these creatures here can help us find an ending for this show? We are accepting anything… really… anything…. even a boring 'they lived happily ever after…' would do….
'Listen out for the sound. When you hear it, playing in the room, click on the link below
The rest is on instagram...
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Also In Watermelon Sugar
Conception & Choreography Vinicius Salles
Light design by
Fictional and non-fictional fragments by:
Vinicius SallesRichard BrautiganMonique Augrau
Some texts were collected by Vinicius Salles from people he worked with are found in the news. They are real stories by real people.
Translation by Vinicius Salles and Charlotte Price
Produced by Err(ə)nt
Design Milk Films Cafe
Now that you think you know a bit about me...
give me dream
press on the wave when the performers start to move