Richard O’Brien: ‘Society should not dictate gender’
The writer and star or the Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien, has suggested that society should allow people to grow up and not feel like they have to conform to a certain gender.
Ahead of his new project The Stripper, the 67-year-old spoke to The Times about therapy, fitting in and telling his children about his trans status.
He said: “All my life, I’ve been fighting never belonging, never being male or female, and it got to the stage where I couldn’t deal with it any longer. To feel you don’t belong . . . to feel insane . . . to feel perverted and disgusting . . . you go f***ing nuts.
“If society allowed you to grow up feeling it was normal to be what you are, there wouldn’t be a problem. I don’t think the term ‘transvestite’ or ‘transsexual’ would exist: you’d just be another human being.”
“I’d been fighting, going to therapy, treating what I was as though it were some kind of illness to be cured. But actually, no, I was basically transgender, and just unhappy.”
O’Brien, who uses transgender to describe feeling “in between” being a man or a woman, added: “There is a continuum between male and female. Some are hard-wired one way or another, I’m in between. Or a third sex, I could see myself as quite easily.”
On plucking up the courage to tell his children about being trans, O’Brien said their reaction was: “Dad, and your point is?”
He also revealed that Dr Frank N Furter had been based on his mother, saying: “He’s a hedonistic, self-indulgent voluptuary, and that’s his downfall. He’s an ego-driven . . . um . . . I was going to say, a bit like my mother.”