Transgender stand-up comedian Ian Harvie said Monday he aims to create a relatable atmosphere during his performances, where individuals from all backgrounds and gender identities are united through laughter.
Harvie began the “Everyone Is A Little Bit TRANS(GENDER)” event at the SAC Auditorium by introducing his view on politics.
“I really think a change is going to happen in this country when a lot of old conservative people die,” Harvie said. “I love Obama. I’ve been panicking online, just rabbit-holing the shit of every article I can find, and I’m super freaked out. It’s been a week, but it’s one of those things, it was the first time we had a person of color running shit.”
The performer proceeded to discuss his gender identity, explaining how he came out as queer at the age of 19 and as transgender at 32.
“I had the great pleasure of coming out twice to my parents,” Harvie said. “The first time I was wasted, but I wrote my parents a letter the second time and gave it to them on Easter — ‘Jesus has risen, I’m trans,’ I don’t know.”
Harvie then went on to advise individuals considering coming out to their families, recalling an incident with his mother two weeks after revealing himself as transgender. After finding Harvie online on an AOL chatroom, his mother expressed how she and her husband supported him as he sounded certain about his identity, admitting that if he did not, his family would have convinced him otherwise.
“If you are certain, you will be okay on the other side,” Harvie said. “I had to silence everybody, even if they were in favor of it, and I had to hear my own voice to find out if I was certain or not.”
Kinesiology sophomore Amethyst Mone’t enjoyed the event and found it inspiring.
“It’s comforting to be on a campus where something like being queer or trans is becoming more normalized,” Mone’t said. “Ian Harvie is an incredible speaker and an inspiration to blooming trans and gender non-conforming people everywhere.”
The event was hosted by Campus E+E’s Distinguished Speakers series. Chair Maya Hughley, a marketing junior, said Harvie’s humor made him an ideal person to discuss the topic of being transgender.
“We want to try to bring all viewpoints to campus, and we thought that this was a really great opportunity to not only talk about an issue that is important politically and socially, but also (bring) a comedian who brings a funny and engaging view on it,” Hughley said.
Harvie concluded by explaining how finding out he was transgender was like a gift.
“People say is it hard to be trans. I want to say yes it is, but not for me,” Harvie said. “I feel like this is one of the biggest gifts I’ve ever been giving, like I won the fucking lottery.”