Michael Venus: So let’s cut to the chase: tell me about your upcoming event and what it’s all about.
Jordan King (aka Jovainka): I’m having a huge party the first week of December at Ginger 62 called Viva la Silicona, which is going to be a fundraiser for my breast implants. I’m going to be performing some burlesque, some lip-synching (my best numbers from over the years) with guests All U Can Eat, Kitten Coquette doing burlesque, Tralala Farsi, and lots more backing me up. Oh-and I’m going to have DJ Dickey Doo and Eddy Toonflash there playing some fabulous music.
MV: So how long have you been transitioning and how big do you want your boobs?
JK: I sort of feel like it’s been a four-year process, four years ago being when I first moved to Vancouver and started doing drag. Over that whole time I kind of explored different sides of myself, and slowly started accepting who I was. I’ve been on hormones for almost a year, and as for my breasts, I don’t want them that big because I have a small frame. Obviously, things will be proportionate.
MV: Have you always felt this way? What were you like as a child?
JK: I always felt different, but don’t know if I ever had felt like I was a female trapped in a male body. I always just felt like the way the world saw me was wrong. I was a very feminine little kid. I always played with like, Barbie, My Little Pony, and would “dress up” as a girl, and play female roles in games. But pretty quickly people started telling me, “No, you can’t do that; don’t be that way.”
So you sort of learn to hide your true self, you kind of shut yourself off a little bit. Only since this year have I felt like I’m finally coming out of that and feeling just totally and completely like me. It has been more about shedding layers of the way people perceive me, being true to myself and not worrying about how people might judge me.
MV: How are your friends and family reacting to your transition?
JK: Almost everyone has been very supportive, and friends have been especially amazing.
It wasn’t necessarily a huge shock because I had been doing drag four three-and-a-half years when I started, but for some people it has been “a lot to handle.”
Mostly that’s a heterosexual male response. And it is taking a big step to alter your physical self permanently, but I think most everybody understands, and when they look in my eyes they see I am truly a female spirit. My family is definitely adjusting to it. My sister was always a huge support and it didn’t phase her it all; she was one of the first people I told. My mom understands, too. But dad and brother are still getting used to it. But it is all fine and there is no hostility. There are the reactions of, like, “Oh, you’re a different person now,” but, truthfully, this is me being me.
MV: It seems like you are in a very accepting and healthy place in your life and in your working environments. Tell me about that.
JK: I’m very fortunate because I live and work downtown. There are, thankfully, such a variety of people in large urban centres like Vancouver, and I never feel ostracized. My transitioning fazed neither of my two employers. One of them is Little Sister’s, so it was obviously a very welcoming place. The other job, a clothing store, I was definitely worried about and thought, “Oh god, I’m going to get fired,” but of course that didn’t happen.
I think most people can keep their jobs if they are able to assure them that nothing is going to change. I can still do the same job. My employers, I think, always respected me.
Health-wise: yes, I am taking better care of myself now than ever before. I don’t do drugs and maybe only have the occasional drink, but I don’t stay out all night. I basically knew if I was going to start on hormones I had to eliminate all of those things, and it was also part of really connecting with my true self and what I wanted to do with my life. Drugs and alcohol only prevented me from knowing what I really wanted and masked a lot of feelings. I mean there is a time and a place to have a good time, but not for me right now. And I feel fantastic.
MV: A lot of male-to-female transsexuals turn to prostitution because it is a lucrative profession where they can truly be who they are without being ostracized. Do you feel those pressures, or do you perhaps feel like a role model for other young gals-showing them they can do whatever they want?
JK: Of course, I feel the pressure, and when I think of the money and the demand. . . . But I value my body too much to give it up to someone, physically. I’m very big on that; like when I am in a relationship with someone, if I am physical with them, it is a huge step for me and I have to really trust that person. So the thought of giving my body up to someone I don’t even know-I just couldn’t do it. And I hope by doing that, I am being a positive role model and showing young transsexuals and transgendered youth that there is an alternative, and that there are other places where people will celebrate you for who you are.
MV: A lot of transsexuals feel that they must go all the way with their surgeries, to be a “woman.” What is your belief? Do you need to have a vagina to be a woman, or is it a celebration of the third sex? Also, how far with surgeries will you go?
JK: I don’t think there is any such perfect definition of a perfect female, because, for example, there are women who can’t bear children or who have physical deformities like misshapen anatomy, and it’s like, “Oh, so then they’re not real women?” Anatomy really has very little to do with it.
I mean, I definitely identify as something other than male or female, but female is a much closer approximation to who I am, and what I have or don’t have in terms of what is between my legs is just flesh, and doesn’t dictate anything to me. A lot of transsexuals really hate that part of themselves and want it gone, first and foremost, but it’s never really been a source of any discomfort to me. It’s just a part of my body. Maybe someday I will have the surgery, but truthfully it’s a major amount of money, and realistically, it could be 10 years down the road.
Not to mention that BC is pretty much screwed with the medical system. Surgery like that isn’t really deemed “emergency surgery” by a lot of health care officials, and they think they are too busy saving lives and being understaffed.
There is also definitely a big pressure among transsexuals to have cosmetic surgery, and there is a huge underground network in the States and Mexico for getting illegal silicone injections. Knowing people who have had work done, of course I’ve considered it-a little bit here, a little bit there-but I think that once you start it’s hard to stop. And I’m very blessed in terms of my facial features (blush, blush). I look at myself in the mirror and I know it’s stupid to even think about it because I have nothing to worry about.
But getting breast implants is obviously a big step for me, which is a step towards actualizing my physical image of myself. In some ways this is bigger to me than getting the surgery, because obviously, this is something more visible, and it’s definitely going to change a lot of how I am perceived publicly.
But, I am excited and I have no hesitations about getting it, and lots of people are excited to support the fundraiser, and help me achieve this goal.
MV: It’s almost as though you are experiencing a second puberty. So what, then, do you want to be when you grow up? What can we expect to see from you in the future?
JK: Yes, it is like a second puberty, and I’ll be glad when it’s over. Lots of things are changing, but of course it’s all positive. I want to continue performing because it’s been an amazing experience. I love being on stage, and I want to continue to work in fashion. I want to go to school some day and study fashion, maybe work as a stylist, and travel-New York, Paris, Tokyo. Vancouver can be a bit limiting in terms of opportunities so I know I won’t stay here forever.
MV: As you become more and more feminine and beautiful how do you find men are reacting to you? Also since the hormones, has your sex drive changed much?
JK: Obviously, guys react more, and definitely a different type of guy (really big straight guys in particular). And I’ve had some guys I used to see around years ago, who never paid any attention to me, come up and start hitting on me. It’s kind of funny. Now it is definitely more the type of guys I have always been attracted to that notice me, so it’s all for the best.
My sex drive actually totally increased after being on hormones for about four months. I think it’s because before, I never truly felt comfortable with my body or myself, so now that everything is starting to “develop” I feel more attractive, and therefore more sexual. And everything is working just fine.
VIVA LA SILICONA.
A fundraiser for Jovainka’s breasts. Mon, Dec 1. Ginger 62, 1219 Granville St. Tix: $8 at Little Sister’s, Global Atomic Designs, Obstruction & Dadabase.