D.he smoke from cigarettes mixed with the smells of make-up and women’s perfumes, the bodies of the artists, covered in sequins, lurex and rhinestones, glittered on the stage. Romy Haag, the manager of the restaurant, performed “This Is My Life”, and David Bowie, Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Nina Hagen and Thomas Brasch cheered in the crowded audience. Before that, the stars who became supporting actors here got stuck in the cloakroom with her: Nora Eckert.
The now 67-year-old Nora Eckert reports in her book about her departure from Nuremberg via Gießen to West Berlin in the 1970s, about the emancipation of the supposedly gay young man as a trans woman and about the nights in Europe’s most famous travesty club “Chez Romy Haag” “Like everyone else, just different. A transsexual life in Berlin ”. And just like the guests in their cloakroom, you want to linger in the pictures and scenes that Eckert describes.
Your body doesn’t determine your being
Her book is the autobiography of an anti-authoritarian character, a working-class child who, at the age of ten, loves incense and the spectacle in the Catholic Church, but exposes God and confession as an invention of adults, who claims to snub the teacher with a lecture on homosexuality and finally dropping out of school, who as a teenager writes film reviews that are too Marxist for the editor of the local newspaper, and who later becomes a recognized opera critic for specialist magazines.
“Like everyone else, just different”, as the title says, expresses above all the self-assertion of a person who challenges the binary gender order. From an early age, Eckert noticed that she was more likely to identify with women. Since all children in her circle of friends play together, in any role, regardless of gender, and since Eckert’s mother does not urge the supposed boy to behave like such, Eckert does not mind her body, which is considered male. After all, he doesn’t determine her being.
The danger was missing out on life
Rather, this is done by the ascriptions that are attached to the body shape in the mainstream, in the hetero and cis world, as Eckert writes, and that repeatedly classify people into two groups: men and women, whose identity is supposedly established by the penis or vulva. Eckert discusses the latest research in a separate chapter, which ultimately says: The central sexual organ sits between the ears and not between the legs. And so gender identity can never be proven with certainty.
Aren’t Shakespeare’s plays so appealing precisely because they show how complicated desire and how exciting the confusion is, asks Eckert. As if by the way, she interweaves philosophical reflections in her narrative of identity and sexuality, of desire and norms. And implicitly appeals to you to take your own perception and feelings seriously. “The danger was: namely, to miss my life”, wrote Eckert about the first phase in Berlin, in which she was still seen as a gay man to the outside world, so she quarreled more and more and finally made the decision to “escape to the front “, Also to appear as a woman to the outside world, to become a trans woman.