Teddy Kwo, bass player and partner of Beth Ditto, talks about his #transmanontour hashtag and the anxieties trans people can face while travelling, including passport checks and views abroad, as he performs at Cartier’s Magnitude Collection gala in London.
Travelling while trans can often come with a certain degree of trepidation and a unique set of travel concerns especially while travelling abroad.
Will I have any gender marker trouble with my passport at immigration? Will I have any difficulty bringing my hormones and syringes on the plane? How are trans people treated in whatever country I find myself in? I started the #transmanontour hashtag to not only become a more “visible” trans person, but to also document my travel adventures touring the globe with Beth Ditto and the specific issues that can come up “traveling while trans”.
All of those same worries pass through my head but the anxiety subsides as I am just so excited to be playing alongside my Beth Ditto bandmates at Cartier’s Magnitude high jewellery launch gala in London – luckily there were no issues at the airport and I made it safely to the plane!
Jet lagged and hungry I make my way to the beautiful and historic Shoreditch Town Hall for soundcheck. Already blow away by the poshness of the event to come, I walk up the red carpeted steps past the extravagant flower arrangements into the main hall where the party goers will dine and we will perform. Immaculately set tables and chairs in perfect rows show where our audience will be watching from. And despite the jet lag, soundcheck was a success.
A lot of time on tour is a sort of “hurry up and wait” situation and this is no different. In our in between time before the event begins we get ready and goof off in the green room. Beth looks so beautiful in both of her dresses for the night and some Cartier officials come to bejewel her for the red carpet and the stage.
One major anxiety I have “travelling while trans” is wondering what the bathrooms are going to be like in new environments. Will there be enough single stalls? Will the doors lock? Luckily, the men’s room here not only has plenty of stalls, it comes complete with its own martini bar and someone playing a grand piano.
As the event begins, fancy guests walk the red carpet past the uniformed “bell boys” (Cartier models) and pose for pictures. Notable guests include British actresses Clair Foy, Lily Collins, Letitia Wright – and of course Beth was there. Now it’s time for us to perform, and we play a short and sweet set to the fancy yet spirited audience. Beth sounds great, and her witty banter always charms every crowd.
When we finish our set, the after party begins with DJ Mimi Xu! I grab a negroni and head downstairs to the dance hall and we dance the night away. What a night. So honoured to have played this Cartier event and grateful to have made it through the day without any of my anxious concerns have materialised. On to the next adventure.
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