Teddy, from Riot Brrrain, by Caitlin M Caplinger

TEDDY (they/them)
It’s not a swing and maybe that’s how the world has portrayed it like this very lateral process you’re up then down then up down then up down up down and those are your only two modes

                            Deep breath and reveal

bipolar two
literally the name that you’re only occupying these two spaces you’re stripped of that middle the regular the calm
to say nothing of the void that is co-existing pouring in and out of the cracks filling you out making you into one whole lotta
into one whole stunning rich worthy helluva person

                          TEDDY enters into the revolving door (hypomania), moving slowly

it’s more a revolving door where at different times you’re burrowed in a pocket that’s allowing you to conquer the fucking world you are up at dawn who needs food I will accomplish everything in the universe who needs sleep who needs health who needs fucking money spend it all on shit that temporarily grounds me or takes me to the next goddamn level I am above those things I’m the one to take you to the hospital at 3am because I can’t get to sleep because what if someone dies my phone needs to be on I will murder someone most likely me

                 Ducks out and into another door section (baseline), the revolving speeds up

the next pocket is chill cool as a manic pixie cucumber the parts you like the acceptable mode the kind of calm you only feel after a Michelin star orgasm

                Ducks out and into another door section (depression), the revolving speeds up

fuck this pocket

                     The revolving speeds up

but the comforting aspect is that because its spinning there’s this gravity keeping you in one of these 3 pockets so you know what to expect

                    The revolving stops, TEDDY drifts out

it’s the days when gravity stops working when there’s no force pushing me into the center of the door when I could very well float out when the color leaves my cheeks and talking is useless because who would I communicate with it’s the days where you find me unapproachable intimidating because I don’t have an expression on my face or I don’t immediately kiss your ass or I just seem above it all but I suspect actually deep down you can sense there is nothing and that scares the shit outta you

Context: Teddy definitely, 100% has neurosyphilis — oops! To track down the dipshit who passed the pox, they embark on an epic punk-filled journey through their sexual (ok, sometimes romantic) past. Riot Brrrain features an original soundtrack, canonically non-binary and bisexual characters, and loads of biting humor.

This monologue ends the play. After acting some kind of fucked up for 90 minutes, Teddy finally confronts their own challenges and shame: they do not actually have neurosyphilis, its Bipolar 2.

More info: caitlincaplinger.com | caitlincaplinger@gmail.com for inquiries and performance permission

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Cole, by Ella Gabriel

Cole (they/them) I keep having the same dream over and over again where I’m sitting in the corner of what I think is a room but it turns out each time to be this massive container the size of the front part of a ship and suddenly the ship starts closing in on me and I can’t go out and I have to squeeze myself into the tiniest little ball possible so I can barely breathe and the killer is this — and it’s always slow-motion at this part — I realize I just won’t make it because the container is moulded to the shape of the ship so there’s just no space for me at all. [Beat] Sometimes I see these guys who just don’t even have to think about whether or not to speak in any given moment. They just go for it. Like it’s their moment to fill in the first place. Their space to take. And then I think of my own confidence, right? And how everyone says how bold and unafraid I am of speaking my mind and grabbing opportunities but they don’t realize that’s a choice I made early on. Probably in direct reaction to that recurring dream. It’s something I’ve worked real hard to be able to do. Rather than some sort of birthright.

Context: This is one of 200-odd monologues I’ve written as a series for myself as an actor this year. I write one per day as a kind of artist challenge that I’m doing every weekday of 2018 and then I film one and put it on my socials at the end of the week. This one was number 79.

More info: iamellagabriel.com // email: ellacgabriel (at) gmail (dot) com

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Liv, from Great Big Sky, by Claire Gilbert Haider

LIV. (They/Them)

I’d already been living in the Bay Area for a year maybe when he died. And I was loving it there, I mean, I am queer as fuck and I look better in a suit and tie than any cis man I know. I’d been wearing blazers and button ups for about a year by then — my genderqueer calling card, as it were. I never added my dad on Facebook. He couldn’t even know I was queer, let alone genderqueer, that would have killed him faster.

I remember when I was in high school I had hair down to my waist. I was already wearing boxers by that time, but my hair screamed femme to most people so that’s the role I played. When I finally cut it short, after I got out of my secret queer relationship — my dad hated it. He said long hair was so attractive to men. Men liked it, and didn’t I want to be appealing to men? First of all, yuck. Saying that to your own kid — yuck. But secondly — and this I never got to tell him — why the fuck did he assume I wanted to be attractive to men? Who said my hair or my anything was a signal to cis men that I was looking to be their white picket fence, their vacuuming in pearls, their subservient flesh sleeve for the rest of my life? So Jane and I broke up, and I cut it all off, I went hard into the David Bowie look while in Oakland. I mean, three piece suits, pocket watches, the whole nine. I killed it.

Anyway, when he died I got his ties. I got his tie clips. I got his antique pocket watch that has to be wound, that has his dad’s name and his name engraved in the back. It’s all mine now. And when I wear it? I know he wouldn’t understand it. Wouldn’t approve. I’m carrying on the things I miss most about him and he’d think there was something wrong with me for it. Anyway, I still look better in a suit than he ever did. Take that, Dad.

More info: This monologue is from a play in progress called Great Big Sky by Claire Gilbert Haider. Liv and their friend Ziggy are hiking through the Yosemite Valley spreading Liv’s father’s ashes around the park. This monologue takes place in Tuolumne Meadows. For further information please contact clairehaider (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Ciel from Crashing, by Jonathan Alexandratos

CIEL is a non-binary character in my play CRASHING. They can also transform into a plane. Here, they talk to their new neighbor, PHOEBE, after a moment of connection.

CIEL.
Okay so.
See this toy airport thing?
I’ve been building this since I was a kid.
It all started because I got this one toy. It was one of those Happy Meal toys,
Y’know, like you get from McDonalds?
I was, like, eight, and they had one of those ones:
Barbie or Hot Wheels. Remember that?
Barbie or Hot Wheels.
And the Barbie was the “girl toy”
And the Hot Wheels was the “boy toy,”
Which, I mean,
What a horrible position you put those poor workers in.
Right?
Like, they work 12-hour shifts for minimum wage,
And now they gotta gender your kid, too?
Anyway of course they couldn’t tell with me
Because I looked somewhere between Chucky and Bride of Chucky,
So that meant I got Hot Wheels.
I sat down,
Opened it up.
My mom was furious.
“How could you get a Hot Wheels!?
“You’re a girl!
“You were supposed to get a Barbie! “
Those damn burger-flippers!
“They can’t see a girl when one’s slappin’ ‘em in the face!”
Thank God this was before the era of the cell phone video
Because this shit woulda been all up on YouTube. Anyway, we were asked to leave the establishment,
And I kept my little Hot Wheels plane.
Which I loved!
It was a plane! I thought Hot Wheels was just cars, but here was a plane!
And this little plane created this whole thing where my mom got all upset maybe because on some level she knew I wasn’t ever gonna look like what she expected me to look like.
But also because it was everything I was, just boiled down into a tiny little thing.
They said “she,” McDonald’s said “no,” now I say “they.”
I got a charge outta that.
So I told this little plane that I’d build ‘em an airport and all sorts of other stuff would fly in and out and they could fly in and out
I did that, and, when it was basically done, something kinda crazy happened:
I transformed into the plane
The little toy plane
It felt like a “thank you,”
Like this little toy plane wanted me to feel how it felt to finally have a place to land So it made me into a toy plane, too
And I flew around my bedroom,
And I felt the lift all around me
Holding me up
I controlled my descent and landed so smoothly I could barely tell I was on the strip of cardboard I laid down as a runway.
And once I came to a halt
I was allowed one last wisp of air to course over my wings
And I unfolded back into a person.
That’s when I knew I was a “them.”
Because if there’s an airplane in here,
I didn’t have to just be one thing anymore.
So if my gender is anything,
It’s this little plane.

More information: https://newplayexchange.org/users/3845/jonathan-alexandratos

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Blue, from The Finality of Tits, by Avery Kester

BLUE. A friend once told me a joke and it was that dating when you’re queer is like looking for a job, you either do it online or you get referred. Pause now for laughter. Like a job too, people always seem to think there are partners everywhere just waiting for you to come and claim them, and when you don’t have one, all of your friends and relatives start telling you about a local place that’s hiring. My long resume doesn’t help me in the dating world, I’ll tell you what. So I have an account on Tinder. And OKCupid, they’re kind of the best ones to be queer on. Kind of messed up really. I’ve still gotten a lot of hurtful messages about how my gender is fake and I’m a liar and an attention whore. But what I’m trying to tell you isn’t really about that, it’s about what are called unicorn hunters. You’ve never heard of them? Unicorn hunters? What is this, dragons and dungeons? Well not quite my friend. Unicorn hunters are straight couples looking for a bisexual woman to join their existing relationship. She has to be into the same kinds of things as they are, but also have her own interests. She must be open to having sex with them, both of them, whenever they see fit. She must want more connection than just sex but also understand her place as an outsider to the relationship. Usually she must also be the picture of femininity and trans girls need not apply. She, like unicorns, doesn’t exist. Which is why they’re called unicorn hunters and not famed unicorn prize catchers. I am not a unicorn for many reasons, but chiefly because I am not a woman. Not a woman. Hello yes it’s me, genderqueer with tits, but distinctly not a woman. Look at me in this suit. This is a man’s suit. Look at me with my haircut. This is a trademarked genderqueer haircut. Really more of a zebra than a unicorn. Real but flighty and introverted. I know about the finality of tits. I understand that because I have them, everyone everywhere will always assume that I am a woman. I can’t afford to lose them anymore than I can afford to keep them, surgery is expensive. I think about cutting them off myself sometimes, when it gets really bad. But I’ll tell you, there is not much is this world that makes me feel as terrible as when I receive a message from a pair of straight folks looking for a unicorn. “Hey there cutie! My hubby and I are looking for a fun loving girl to join us in the bedroom!” Or “My boyfriend says you’re one of the prettiest girls he’s ever seen! Can we take you to lunch?” I am not a woman. I am not a girl. I…. I’m… not a girl. And I work hard at that okay? I have manufactured this look, this walk, this manner of speaking. I know what I’m about and it’s distinctly between the binary. But even though I spell that out in the 500 character about me section on Tinder, they still say things like that to me. I spend so much time hating my body and wishing that it would fuck off. I don’t need the arrows of unicorn hunters to help me with that.

More info: Please contact the playwright Avery Kester (They/Them) at the following email address: averypkester (at) gmail (dot) com.

>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Love Letters to Nobody, by Maybe Burke

Michaela,

I’m sorry I gave Lands your name. I know it’s something we should have agreed upon first, but Michaela, I didn’t mean to scare him. I didn’t know he would hurt you like that. I had no idea that telling him I was a girl would- I didn’t even know we were going with Michaela. I always thought you would be Nicole. Mom always wanted a Lauren, but I think she wanted to be the one to name her. But I also don’t think I should have such a blatant girl name. I’m not even a girl, I’m just closer to that than any other word you could think to give me. So we’ll call you Michaela, but you’re not the right option for me. You are the woman I never got to be. The person that everyone seems to be scared I’ll become. The girl I can’t commit to becoming. I’ve learned so much from you, but telling him that you exist just proved to me that you don’t. You’re not the final answer. I’m still me, just not the me people think they see. Maybe I’ll find another name, but we can work together to make you a more substantial part of my life. I just need to make sense of all of these people I think I could be and find one concrete person.

 
Hey Cado,

You did the thing. You called me the thing. You said the word .. Uhm. You called me han.. Uh. You called me handsome. And that’s not. Uhm. It’s not like a slip up, it’s not an accident.. it’s your opinion. And I know you think it was a compliment but it’s just ..a thing that I can’t hear. I guess I should have brought this up earlier, but I never know how much is too much too soon. You can’t call me that. Look, when I was in college, having what I was calling my sexual revolution, but what I now refer to as .. “college..” I was lonely and making a lot of mistakes and I had this one night stand. This was the year I went through the rainbow in hair dye, so at this point I was blood red, like Little Mermaid red. Me and some guy were having sex, on my bunk bed, and he like put his hand over my hair so he couldn’t see it anymore and he told me “you’re so handsome.” Like, I know people call Angelica Houston handsome and if I really wanted gender equality words wouldn’t have implications of gender, he tried every kind of retort here. But I asked him not to do that and he just kept telling me I was handsome. I was a handsome man. So I get it. You think that’s a compliment. But I’m telling you it’s not.

 
Dear ..oh I don’t even remember your name.

I’m quite aware that I am the first trans person that a lot of people meet. So, statistically, it makes sense that I’m also the first trans person most of those people date. Which is fine, I don’t mind being different than what you’re used to. What I don’t like is being your training wheels. I like talking about gender and identity, but I’m not a fucking encyclopedia. We sat at lunch for two whole hours talking about my gender. Okay, to be fair you weren’t as bad as the date that literally asked for photo ID. We went over where you work and went to school, but from the second the food came it was Trans 101 and I was Professor Exploited. “When did you know you were different? Do you know Laverne Cox? I heard that hormones are actually really bad for you. Two gay brothers? And you? Ugh, your poor father…” Pretty invasive stuff for someone I just met to be asking me when all I know is that you work in finance. When the check came, I went to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to pretend to try to pay for my meal. When I came back you said “So, I noticed you came out of the Men’s room,” but all I noticed was that you didn’t pay the check.

 

Context: Love Letters to Nobody is a solo piece by Maybe Burke. These are standalone monologues that don’t have character names, and pronouns can be malleable. Please reach out to the playwright at maybeburke.com if you’d like to learn more.

>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Alex, by Jamie Zeske

Alex (any female or gender neutral pronouns):

I know what you want me to say, about coming out: the secret shame, the “It Gets Better,” the well-adjusted gay adult embracing marriage equality, but that’s not me. That’s not how it happened. My coming out wasn’t this all-in-one, family dinner, Facebook post I could just get it over with all at once, it’s a lifelong process. Starting back in elementary school with jerks (“You’re a faggot”) and my friends (“Everyone thinks I’m gay just cuz I’m friends with you”) and my Junior High boyfriend (“Everyone knows about you, and if everyone knows about you they’ll know about me, and if they know about me I’ll never talk to you again, I’ll hate you, I’ll hurt you.”) And then in High School, my Drama teachers (“Bisexuality is a lie! It’s a phase, pick a lane!”) I never felt shame for who I was or who I wanted to be with, but shame was planted inside of me. All I knew is I liked people, and hugging and laughing, and sharing secrets at sleepovers. But shame was planted in me and so I carried it around. I carried it through trying out for cheer leading and, “Why are you friends with only girls?” and getting my head slammed into tile and knocking out my two front teeth on Take Your Daughter to Work Day. And so I carried it. And then I started to find words that made a bit more sense to me, like “transgender” and “genderqueer” and “woman trapped in a man’s body,” except I’m not trapped in a man’s body, I’m trapped in a man’s role. So I came out, again in 2012 to my family, my friends, my co-workers. They all know I’m a girl. Everyone knows I’m a girl but still all day, every day, I have to come out. To gas station clerks, to customers, to Lyft drivers, to therapists, to Grindr hookups, to the lawyer for my DWI case. Everyone knows I’m a girl, or “that I think I’m a girl,” but still, all day, every day, I get a lot of “sir”s and “bro”s…being treated as a man even though I’m a woman, even I begin to question it, it gets in my head. The shame and doubt are planted too. So I have to look at myself, and come out to myself: as a queer, as a woman, of someone worthy of love, as someone with a lot of love to give. And when I do that, it gets better.

Context about the monologue: This is an original stand-alone monologue from a video project.

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Cam, from Women March on Washington by Christine Kallman

Spring 2016. Early morning. We are in a hilly and wooded area in Northeast Iowa.
CAM (they/them) is dressed in outdoor wear with a backpack. They hear a low drumming sound.

 

CAM. Do you hear that?
Pause. CAM hears the low drumming sound again.
Ruffed Grouse. [beat] You won’t see them. They’re hiding in the deep brush. This tract — this hardwood forest— was saved from tilling because of the steep slopes and rocky soil. Perfect for grouse. And probably forty other species of birds.
Look! See the hawk? Red-tailed hawk. And those over there— turkey vultures.
This is what I love about my job.
Out here I always feel totally content.
I suppose I should be afraid, although I’ve never had anyone follow me out here.
I’ve been threatened, you know. Followed at night.
More times than you can imagine.
Pause. CAM listens and hears the grouse again.
We hear it in springtime. The male grouse make the sound by rotating their wings.
In some species, behavior is not so gender-specific. Birds, butterflies, a lot of insects
have both male and female characteristics. But I’m not going to try to make a lot of arguments comparing human and animal behavior. I used to do that.
Used to have detailed arguments. But you know,
people are just going to believe what they want to believe.

I don’t bring people here, generally.
I don’t want to expose this delicate environment to a lot of traffic.
I do bring my students here. This summer we sampled twelve streams
to measure aquatic diversity. Here’s what we found:
Streams like the one here— that have more diversity of life—
they’re healthier and better able to overcome stressors, like drought.
CAM starts down the hill.
Watch your step. I’ll take you down now. Down to the spring.
CAM walks down, then stops next to a stream. The gentle rush of water.
Always, when I’m out in nature, the— agony—
about who other people think I am—
just—
disappears.
Am I a woman? Am I a man?
On the street, in the grocery store, with a student. At a party. They’re looking at me funny.
They want to categorize me. It makes them so uncomfortable not to know.
What to do with me?
And I could say, well, I was designated female at birth.
But I don’t feel like a woman. Never have.
On the other hand, I don’t feel like a man either. It doesn’t fit for me.
Since it’s closer, I do generally present more like a man.
But I don’t want to be a man. I don’t want surgery
and I don’t want to give up the feminine parts of myself.
It’s funny. As a scientist, I’m always placing things in categories.
And I could tell you all about the way scientists are looking at gender
on a spectrum now— not just two choices.

But mainly, I want to make the point that
we are too quick to categorize people. Not just on gender,
but on a whole gamut
of characteristics. There is something really screwed up
about the way we put people in boxes.
Listen. People are not who you think they are.
Not a single one.
You think you’ve got someone pegged?
You don’t.
People are not what they seem.
And even if you could figure them out,
they’re like this stream. They’re always changing.
Being fed by something deep underground.
Pause. CAM puts their hand in the stream.
Personally, I find that refreshing.

 

More info: Character name is Cam (they/them). The scene is roughly in the middle of a full-length play (in development) entitled Women March on Washington. It received a reading this spring in Northfield, MN, with actors of diverse age, race and gender.

Playwright: Christine Kallman. I can be reached at my website, christinekallman.com.

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Trans And Relative Dimensions In Space, by Ayla Sullivan

I’ve been telling myself for a long time there’s gotta be an easier way to come out to my family. An accessible way. No academic jargon. No easy to google slang, because I know for a fact y’all are too lazy to ever do work you can just push onto a Black person to explain for you.

My grandfather raised me on visual media, charted years of golden era kinda love. His favourite Doctor is Tom Baker and his undying, fanboy passion is a Galifrayian typa magic he has passed onto me. I’d redo my coming out with him in simpler terms. Tell him my gender is the TARDIS because it’s bigger on the inside. My queerness is powered by a tesseract. I am expansive in all dimensions, in every time, and fluid. This a queerness and a transness that cannot, ever die. A typa queer that never has to fear death, only trust in my own regeneration promise. Of course, though, what is gayer than fearing your friends’ death? Constantly trying to find joy in the danger of navigating your life, traveling so often because home is its own transformative property, and knowing, always knowing, solidarity is a threat and your companions endanger themselves because of their proximity to you. Of course it’s easy to feel like the last of your kind in a genocide.

Still, this why every queer out there is equipped with two hearts. We don’t let our heart break no more. We cuddle double the love, double the wound, and can repurpose any household item, especially a screwdriver, into a weapon, a saviour, a map, all purpose tool.

This queerness knows every language, speaks to every wave, trusts in the universe despite knowing we could easily be Gods of it as this point, know how to hide by whatever identification people need to see to believe us, always embrace the loneliness. Even if it is the only thing to stay.

I am not new, but an ancient force, still hopeful, still surviving. I’m the motherfucking Doctor and don’t you fucking forget it. Bitch.

More information: aylaxc.sullivan (at) gmail (dot) com

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Love Poem to My Heart, by JoJo Ruby

Oh heart, you steady drum. (beats)

Under your enduring rythm

I’m becoming undone.

I go into my being,

unwinding in timing and

stops

in- between.

I lay beauty on her back

so she can float down my bloodstream.

Oh heart, you poet.

I hold my pen like an artery, like a ripchord. I listen for you through the full bellied shout of my dreams, I fill pages with words groping for what you mean when you (beats) I hold onto your sound and hope to sing myself clean.

You ceaseless jester, how we have wrestled through the labyrinth of riddles my mind has built across my knowing. How I’ve toiled on this path in darkness despite all of your glowing. How I’ve masked you in conventions to keep my truth from showing.

Oh heart, it is you I am still learning to trust, untwisting these anxious guts, I am letting these breathes open you up, and with the you as my crux, I will rise again, despite these earthquakes shaking my sheepish limbs, and ever charging, changing winds, on the days I cannot bear to wear this skin, I go in. and for the thousandth time I start over, (beats)

always coming back softer,

but somehow stronger.

(beats)

Oh heart, You teacher, you bray truth into my make up when you break me. Through aches and pangs my faults are tumbled, composed for smooth and shining fumbles, Any test I have failed you have let me retake, so I’m stitching up my sleeves for smarter heartbreaks. Threading the lessons from every mistake.

You gardener, you rake the ground my pain walks on. Planting seeds within in the deep ravine, where Ive thrown the parts I don’t want seen. and when I find myself buried, you compost my tainted memories and turn me– over, push me on to greener pastures, on to blooming fields of laughter. Every season just another chapter. Another chance to make roots around what I am after, I’m sure,No matter what chaos come, an oasis grows under my sternum. (beats)

Oh heart, you curious magic, you are the universe between palms, invoking prayers unspoken. With every every wax and wane of moon you groom my dereliction. On my most haunted nights, your light is the cloak I wear for protection. and yet so many times I’ve accepted your gifts just to neglect them.

You are a house of many naked rooms, oh heart.

but I will make a home of you yet.

I will beat old resentments off the welcome mat

in my chest, and paint the walls with expressions repressed

I will let love in, with all it’s clever tools

to unhinge the doors blocking my talents and my jewels

I will sweep every dirty corner with tender introspection

and open up the windows, to shine on my perfect imperfections

I’ll tug these cobwebbed heartstrings,

to bring in worthy things.

I will fill these halls of never enough

with blessings.

….and if I ever become jaded

for fear I’ve felt to much,

if I grow sick and lonesome

on another persons touch.

If I loose the pulse in promises

and get swept up in past review.

I will put a saddle on my grief, oh heart,

and ride it home to you.

 

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