Transmasculine Storytelling in Taiwan Reaches New Heights with Gia-Yeh Huang’s 《等一下,我的身分證字號是不是給錯了!?》

by Daniel Yo-Ling

Photo courtesy of 《等一下,我的身分證字號是不是給錯了!?》

《等一下,我的身分證字號是不是給錯了!?》(hereafter referred to as  《等一下》) is the first part of an autobiographical solo performance trilogy written and performed by Gia-Yeh Huang (黃家曄), the first publicly out trans man in Taiwan to run for office during the 2022 local elections for a Hsinchu City Council seat, and directed and produced by Yu-i Liang (梁予怡). Bringing audiences into Huang’s life story through witty writing and exceptional acting, 《等一下》 opens up new creative space for transmasculine storytelling in Taiwan during an era of increased public engagement on transgender issues.

The larger trilogy that 《等一下 》 opens chronicles Huang’s experience of medical transition as it is happening in real time. This first performance centers on Huang’s experiences growing up as transgender and the difficulties he faced that led to his decision to start testosterone. The second and third performances of this trilogy will respectively take place after Huang begins taking testosterone and completes top surgery. Huang’s pre-T performance in 《等一下 》 effectively prompts a high degree of emotional investment from the audience into his transition journey such that viewers of this first performance will surely want to experience the remaining two parts of this theater trilogy.

《等一下 》opens with Huang recounting various everyday instances of being misgendered as a “Miss” (小姐), such as when ordering breakfast or buying a latte. Within these opening scenes, Huang’s voice acting skills become immediately evident as he imitates various generic characters such as a breakfast shop owner and convenience store cashier. Indeed, the majority of this play consists of Huang either recounting via first-person narration or reenacting via props and voice acting various episodes from his life from kindergarten to the present. Some memorable episodes include reenacted scenes of his elementary school classmate inquiring why he doesn’t stand to pee, suggesting that he should simply attempt to pull his penis out of his body, which Huang promptly and painfully attempts upon returning home, as well as Huang’s mother attempting to get him to start wearing trainer bras as a teenager. 《等一下 》also features joyful moments as well, such as when Huang worked for the New Power Party as campaign staff and was always addressed as “Mr. Huang.” Huang’s masterful performance creates a sense amongst the audience that they too are there watching Huang’s life unfold before their eyes.

Photo courtesy of 《等一下,我的身分證字號是不是給錯了!?》

Written for a general audience, 《等一下 》 also delivers just the right amount of didacticism in explaining transgender issues. There is never a moment where Huang is simply talking to the audience; instead, didactic scenes serve a double purpose of delivering basic explanations and performing the exhaustion of constantly having to explain one’s self to others as a transgender person, such as when Huang explains how he is the son during his parents’ funeral scene.  Huang also performed two more direct yet nevertheless tactful scenes explaining his understanding of the difference between butch lesbians and trans men, as well as how he responds to common questions he gets as a trans man during a staged Q&A. These scenes are equal parts comedic and instructive, offering a reprieve from the heavier moments of the play surrounding experiences of dysphoria and misgendering.

Overall, Huang’s performance in 《等一下》 effectively prompts a high degree of emotional investment in his upcoming medical transition amongst the audience. Viewers of this first performance will surely want to follow-up on and see the second and third parts of this trilogy. This level of audience engagement is perhaps best explained through Huang’s phenomenal script writing and solo-performance skills.

In recent years, Taiwan has seen a sharp increase in transmasculine storytelling, such as in Human Library events, short films, full-length documentaries, podcast episodes, and television programs. 《等一下,我的身分證字號是不是給錯了!?》adds theater performance to this growing array of creative and expressive mediums for transmasculine storytelling, inviting a general audience to engage and invest in Huang’s transition. 《等一下 》has five showings from October 25th to October 29th during the week of Taiwan LGBTQ+ Pride and the Taiwan Trans March at University Café 2F. Tickets can be purchased on OpenTix