Twenty-four-year-old Dita Vendetta knows who she is.
“I hear all the time that I’m not a real transsexual because I’m not getting my nails done all the time. Well there are all kinds of women out there, if I’m a little bit butch that’s a way of being a woman as well.
“I think of myself as a head-strong woman who happens to have a third leg – I don’t see it as a defect but a learning experience,” says Vendetta, an actress, singer, dancer and sex-trade worker.
Vendetta plays a space goddess who comes to earth to help save humanity in Noam Gonick’s debut feature flick Hey, Happy! (the Canadian premiere at Inside Out is on Thu, May 24 at 9:30pm).
Vendetta and Gonick originally hooked up in their hometown of Winnipeg. “I was in his short film, Star Child, totally naked and covered in glitter, before I had my tits done,” says Vendetta. “I sure hope that never gets released.”
In Hey, Happy, DJ and porn store manager Sabu (played by Jeremy Yuen) saves the world with a little help from outer space.
“I play a space goddess trannie hooker with an upside-down boob – which is true about me. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to fly after surgery and I took a plane trip right after getting my tits done and one sort of shifted,” says Vendetta.
As for the alien goddess part, Vendetta admits to not being from outer space but she does plan on saving humanity. “Who better than a trannie hooker to save the world? If you are less accepted you are more open to paying attention to other people.
“In Native cultures, transsexuals become shamans,” says Vendetta, who is part Cree and Ojibway. ” We are special because we have the body of a man and the mind of a woman.”
According to Vendetta the recent upswing in trans visibility is a good omen for the world. “All of a sudden we’re all over the Inside Out festival and everywhere. It’s not enough – I still want to see a transsexual VJ on Much Music – but it’s a start.
“I think it’s part of the whole millennium thing. We’re entering a futuristic space age where people are starting to get the message that you can be yourself and love everything.”
Vendetta has believed in being herself since adolescence. “My first year in high school I was supposedly a straight boy and then I came back after summer vacation [dressed as a girl] and said, ‘Here I am!’
“The school wouldn’t let me show my midriff, although the other girls could, and I wasn’t allowed to use the ladies bathroom or the men’s – that would just freak everybody out. I got to use the staff bathroom.”
At 16, Vendetta came out to her mother on a dare. “It was right before my brother’s birthday party and I said to her, ‘Mom, I’m different.’ She said, ‘What, you’re gay?’ And I said, ‘No, mom, I want to be a woman.’ After my brother’s party she went to get the van and motioned me to get in. I thought ‘Uh-oh here it comes,’ but she drove me to the mall in Winnipeg and bought me my first outfit of women’s clothes.”
The same self-confidence that led Vendetta to be out in high school has sustained her through her life in the trassexual community. “I’ve done all this without hormones ’cause they make me crazy. I’m pretty happy with myself – upside-down tit and all. As soon as I leave Oz [Church and Wellesley], people look at me funny and talk about me behind my back. But I really don’t give a damn what people think I am.”
Vendetta, who already runs her own erotic website (at www.dita4u.com), is ready to turn that confidence into success as a performer. “I sing, I dance, I act. I want to move into singing. I don’t have a great voice, but neither does Britney Spears. I think you can really make a difference in the world working in entertainment.”
Vendetta’s long-term goals are even bigger. “Until recently I didn’t think I had an opinion about politics, but I realized that I did know something. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be the first ex-transsexual escort to become prime minister.”
LESBIAN AND GAY
FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL.
$9 for most screenings.
Thu, May 17-27.
(416) 925-XTRA xt 2229.