Transgender singer Antony Hegarty spoke about feminism and gay rights in an interview with The Observer on Sunday, ahead of his curation of the Meltdown festival at London’s Southbank Centre this August.
The singer with Mercury-prize winning Antony and the Johnsons said in the interview with Tim Adams that he has no wish to define the ‘meat and potatoes’ of his sexuality. His band is named after Marsha P Johnson, the transgender rights activist whose body was found in the Hudson River in New York shortly after 1992’s Pride march.
Hegarty said in the interview that his gender ambiguity means that he has more insight into the difference between men and women than most and that ‘our lack of self-knowledge’ about this difference is ‘the whole problem’.
‘Our bodies are like computers with two different operating systems,’ Hegarty said. ‘One is called testosterone, one is called oestrogen. The same body, different software. And within the transgender community you see this very clearly. You watch people take oestrogen or testosterone and you see them change not just physically, but their whole way of thinking, their whole approach… We need more oestrogen-based thinking, basically.’
Hegarty’s belief that a feminine future will be better for humanity led him to form a group called Future Feminist Foundation. He said that the group believes feminism and gay rights need to think beyond existing institutions.
‘It’s not a group that thinks women should just crawl towards economic equality in the way we have been engaged in since the 60s,’ Hegarty said. ‘That can’t be the climax of feminism. It’s like gay rights, as if gay marriage is the end point, as if we just want to be included in these business-as-usual institutions. That’s not the point of being queer, just as mitigated reproductive rights aren’t the point of being a woman. We want to move this forward. Do something great… overturn all these failed male structures of thinking, all this aggression in decision-making.’
In a post on the Antony and the Johnson’s website today, Hegarty said he was ‘embarrassed’ by the Observer article. ‘At times this is a depressing misrepresentation of me and my thoughts,’ he said. ‘…[the journalist] undermining my identity as a transgendered person by constantly reiterating his perception of me as an oversized man.’
Meltdown, with performances by Marc Almond, Liz Fraser, Buffy Sainte Marie, Coco Rose and Marina Abramovic, is at the Southbank Centre from 1 to 12 August.
Antony talks about Future Feminism in the video below: