Author Cadance Bell is coming to PrideFEST this week

Author Cadance Bell is heading to PrideFEST this week, where she’ll be speaking about her autobiography The All Of It: A Bogan Rhapsody. 

The book documents Bell’s journey from being a millennial with a death wish, to the woman she is today. While it’s a great ‘coming-of-gender’ story, it’s also a beautifully written memoir that captures life in a regional Australian town.

OUTinPerth editor Graeme Watson spoke to Cadance Bell ahead of her trip to the west coast.

What what made you want to put pen to paper?

I could help people understand a particular viewpoint of the trans experience, I was definitely not trying to write THE trans novel. In fact, I see that in some of the reviews, a lot of trans people say, “It’s not representative of me.”

But you have to see the circumstances, I grew up in a tiny little town of Mudgee, in the 90s. I had an uncle who was a bank robber. I had ancestors who used to get into punch ups with the police, and they bought wine to the region, so I also have that legacy. I have all this masculinity running through my family, and here am I going on this wacky journey in the middle of it. I wanted to capture that essence and talk a little bit about rural Australia and transness.

I think it was one of the really important things is that has happened in the last two years is that there’s been lots of autobiographies from a trans experience, they just show diversity.

Exactly. There is space for all of them. The idea that one voice has to carry all is utterly ridiculous. I actually find it quite inspiring to hear of all that difference. There’s so many different ways to be these days, and I’m there for all of it.

How do you make a decision what do you include in sharing your story, it’s a decision everyone writing about their own life faces.  You share many awkward teenage moments, you haven’t held back. I think we’ve all had them, but we don’t talk about them.

I’ve had a few more than most, but I think at the end of the day, I wanted more than anything to show what gender dysphoria felt like.

I wasn’t writing a book to smash people over the head or to say, “This is what transness is, and this is what trans people are, and this is what trans people do.” I wasn’t actually interested so much in the transition part, I was interested in the gender dysphoria.

So a lot of the decisions that were made were to try to really put the reader in my shoes of that experience, but also to simultaneously position them within Australia at that time.

It was always my intention was marinate them in my family, and that and that sense of place, and then slowly introduce this noxious element to the story – which is exactly how gender dysphoria creeps up on you once you hit puberty.

Once you hit that point in the book, that starts to become then the focus of it, and then of course, something else happens later on. It changes again.

I think what’s really important is that we acknowledge, for most transgender people, their experience with gender dysphoria is over a long period of time. It’s not like it just happened last Tuesday and all sudden you’re trans and signing up for medical interventions – but that’s often how the trans experience has been presented by the opponents of transgender people.

It’s a fad! It’s a trend!

Or you catch it from somebody else, this is what they used to say about homosexuality.

I think trans people are where gay people were maybe 15-20 years ago. I think that’s where the progress is, but there is this incredible accelerant because of the internet as well. So, it’s a little bit hard to say whether or not trans progress will be as fast or slower than it was for other parts of the alphabet gang.

We’re in that phase where ‘shit is so obvious’. But people still want to lob grenades. We’ve already had scientists and doctors and world leaders – they’ve all accepted the science on this. This is not a bunch of kids running around just trying to be shitheads. This is an actual medical thing. This is something founded in biology.

And not just that, it also taps into the very essence of what makes humanity special. We choose our evolution, and this is what we are doing. We are saying we want to evolve without gender dysphoria, we want to become the people of our dreams.

It’s not something that we’re doing for fun, even though, my God – it can be an absolute blast sometimes. We’re doing it because we want to survive. The alternative, I don’t want to talk about the alternative. There’s been too much about that. And if those people forget that alternative, it’s because they are choosing to do so. In the meantime, we’re just going to continue to have a Hootenanny of a time.

Cadace Bell is appearing at the Perth City Library for PrideFEST on Thursday 24th November from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. She’ll be appearing alongside friend and fellow author Kaya Wilson.

You can also catch them at Wilson’s book event on Wednesday 23rd November.

OIP Staff

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