Ghosts and demons came early to NYU’s Casa Italia on Saturday afternoon for “Boy/Girl or None/Both of the Above,” a grad school panel on gender. The distinguished panel featured Hattie Hathaway of the Pyramid Club and, more recently, the late, great Rapture Books, and serpentine Brit post-punker Genesis P- Orridge. Ever-young tranny Allanah Starr was running late. P-Orridge, founder of pre-industrial shit-stirring band Throbbing Gristle, was flashing his sharpened, filed down teeth and explaining why he was sure Lady Jaye was contacting him from beyond the grave. Despite cringe-inducing admissions about his own surgical alterations, his love for his old lady is kind of sweet. And, really, he looks a lot like Courtney Love. Circuses do a brisk trade in this stuff though, and the library was packed to the rafters with earnest sociological types that wanted to debate the merits of pandrogeny, P- Orridge’s purported philosophy.There were also some stunning femmes in leather boots, a bunch of kids who identify themselves with long, complex acronyms and a plain old six-foot-tall black tranny—a purist, one might say. “Just call us queer,” one bratty boy averred helpfully, when initials were being added by the minute.
Finally, the moderator—the Press’ Gerry Visco, rocking pointy-rimmed early ’60s glasses—broke through the door breathing heavily. Everything was OK, she was just stuck in traffic; “Alannah Starr’s still stuck in the same traffic jam.” Irritated, a bluestocking hollered from the back of the room, “Some of us are trying to hear Gen.”