Wednesday, February 8, 2023

J. Harrison Ghee: A New Normal?

J. Harrison Ghee
Tuesday morning, I was watching Morning Joe and they interviewed Amber Ruffin and J. Harrison Ghee. Ruffin wrote the book for the musical version of Some Like It Hot that is now playing on Broadway. Ghee plays the role of Jerry/Daphne in the musical (the role played by Jack Lemmon in the film version).

I could not help noticing that Ghee was dressed as a boy more or less (a tunic over some kind of bifurcated bottom), had a boy haircut, but was wearing makeup including lipstick and full eye makeup. I was intrigued.

My first thought was that Ghee was wearing the makeup to promote the musical. But that did not make sense; if he was promoting the musical, why not go all the way and wear a wig, dress, heels, etc.

Then it occurred to me that maybe Ghee was trans. 

I was not familiar with Ghee, so I did some research and discovered that according to Wikipedia, Ghee “is non-binary and uses he/they pronouns.” And Ghee has been doing drag for quite awhile playing Lola in Kinky Boots and Velma Kelly in Chicago.

So is Ghee representing a new normal? Has crossdressing become so normal and accepted that one can go out and about like Ghee – full “feminine” makeup while otherwise dressed as a male (more or less)? I like to think so, but I have my doubts. It may work in Manhattan and Hollywood, but how will it go over in Podunk?

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe

J. Harrison Ghee
J. Harrison Ghee femulating in a stage production of Kinky Boots.


  1. "How will it go oner in Podunk?"
    After three months being out at work and dressing appropriately as a trans person in a genuine Podunk I can say it has gone remarkably well. Let me tell ya' that this town REALLY IS A Podunk.

    The public has not said anything negative to my coworkers or me. The occasional "sir" is no different than the occasional "ma'am" I would get prior to November and I'm much more comfortable than I ever was.
    I don't even flinch when I get misgendered. I won't give 'em that power over me.

    1. I am happy for your success, but out here in the sticks of rural Missouri it will never be the norm. A majority of folks here have some serious bigotry and gender expression is at the top of the list.

      When I lived in St Louis most of the trans and gender expressive folks I knew were survivors of small town Missouri who had to escape that environment for the safety of the big city.

      Angel Amore

    2. I had no idea that my coworkers would be so accepting of me. Or even that they would have encouraged me to take the step. Even the locals, this town is seriously uptight! Never in my imagination did I expect it.

  2. In some places, yes, non-binary presentation is absolutely a thing and folk seem to be just be getting on with it.

    On listening to people from our teenage kids generation, the idea of gender seems much more fluid than before. Some times it's about how someone looks, some times behaviour/identity, and some times both.

    As William Gibson once said: "The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed."

  3. I love paraphrasing the old Vaudeville line, "Will it play in Peoria"? Well, yes and no. If said person is from Peoria and "he" was known to the same people "she" is now with, "Yes". But to people like DiSantis in Florida, "No", or at least not yet. She's just a political pawn. If we know "one" it's so much easier to accept than when "they" are some distant person and open to misinterpretation. But it is getting better. Here in Baltimore we're having lots more drag and I think as a result it makes it much easier for me, a non-passer -- to present as Mikki. Hell, I always get compliments when I'm checking out of ULTRA after my MAC makeover. Go figure. But I'd be flat-out afraid to do the same thing in Tallahassee. You're right about "distribution", Lynn.

    About 40 years ago I was waiting in a nearby bar with my family for a table in a popular Baltimore restaurant that did not take reservations. They took my name and told me they'd call the bar when a table was available -- it was winter and cold outside. While there, a very pretty, passable crossdresser walked by our table and out the door. A man at the table next to us leaned over and said to me, "He may be a queer, but he's our queer". I was touched by that statement.

  4. I was just reading an AP article about Drag Show Legislation. I can't link it from here. I started thinking - what is a Drag Show in the context of how this would be legislated. Is an (un) intended consequence that your clothing must match societal expectations of clothing appropriate for your birth gender? Is the sales woman at Soma going to have to demand a note from the wife when I purchase their amazing thongs!

  5. I like to express myself in a similar manner while in 'boy' mode, but just not as bold. You don't need to be trans to want to wear makeup, polish, etc.

    Just watch out for the DeS_ police at the entrance to Soma or Victoria's Secret

    have always like

  6. Ghee is an actor which provides for a lot more leeway in how he dresses versus a lawyer or mechanic. And if for some weird reason any readers of this site have not seen Kinky Boots - go see it when it comes to your Podunk!

  7. I live in London (UK) and have had very few negative experiences here. I do have to be careful where I go and with who ~ but that is as much about being a woman as being trans. When I get out into the "sticks" it can be a little different; and that can only be fuelled by the growing wave of transphobia we are experiencing here.