Erin Cotton tries on her mother’s bra in a promo shot for her solo performance Trying on Your Dead Mom’s Underwear on at the Intrepid Theatre Saturday

Play shines spotlight on life of transwoman

When Erin Cotton was young, the words “pervert” and “monster” often popped into her head as a way of describing how she felt about herself.

When Erin Cotton was young, the words “pervert” and “monster” often popped into her head as a way of describing how she felt about herself.

Growing up, Cotton, who used to be a boy, often felt she was different from the other people in her class. She enjoyed cross-dressing, had fantasies about having a virtual reality machine where she could change the settings and make herself a man or woman. and felt very She also from her male peers, many of whom thought she was gay.

She also felt a discomfort and disassociation with her body.

“I didn’t know I was trans, I knew something was wrong with me,” said the now 23-year-old Fernwood resident. “I felt as if I was a pervert or a monster. I had very negative feelings around my impulses and behaviours.”

When she was 18 years old, Cotton was talking with a friend and said something ignorant about transwomen. Her friend quickly corrected her and sent her educational information about transwomen. It was then Cotton began to realize the fantasies she had were not just odd desires, but part of her identity.

“Reading this information, I was able to recognize myself in it and just start pursuing that path and I’ve been on that path ever since. It’s my life now,” said Cotton, who began the transition to a transwomen when she was 18 years old.

“I realized that all these different things I’d been feeling fit into being trans.”

At first, she wasn’t completely certain, but every step she took along the way helped confirm she was heading in the right direction.

Now, Cotton is opening up about her experience as a closeted trans teenager, in her new solo show titled Trying on Your Dead Mom’s Underwear.

The show, directed by Graham McDonald, is autobiographical and includes a mixture of spoken word poetry and storytelling. There are five interlocking stories that include chasing down a purse snatcher in Brussels, missing the bus on the way to her mom’s deathbed, falling in love with her best friend only to find out she’s a lesbian, finding herself on an Internet message board full of weird porn and trying on her mom’s underwear in front of the bathroom mirror — all of which are true stories.

Cotton hopes that by showing the audience her life, they’ll be able to identify with her story as well.

“I’m hoping that by seeing my life, they’ll be able to see themselves in that. They’ll be able to see this example of someone who is struggling with their body, and is going through life with this double facade and be able to see their own life in that,” she said, adding she hopes young queer people might see the show.

“I just really hope people earlier and earlier can start to be aware of what transpeople are really like. Not just the negative images that people see in movies, TV shows and in magazines.”

Trying on Your Dead Mom’s Underwear hits the stage on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Intrepid Theatre. Tickets are $10.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Soccer player Ethan Finnigan juggles the ball at Oak Bay High. The Grade 12 student was injured much of last year and was relying on his senior year to score a scholarship and play at university. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
High school athletes remain on sidelines across B.C.

Recruiting for university on hiatus, future unknown

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read