Bird La Bird & Bird Club
Wearing frilly knickers should not be dependent on what’s in them. When I hear the word “real” before any category of person whether it’s woman, lesbian or femme I head for the hills. If you’ve ever been told you’re not “real” you’ll probably like Bird Club. – Bird La Bird (on friction.org.uk)
‘Armageddon Fem’ Bird La Bird screeched onto the stage as a part of the Femme Programme at London’s 21st Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, performing at the screening of Campbell X (Inge Blackman)’s ‘Fem’, in which she also appears. At the following London Pride Bird organised a Femme Pride Bird float with the maxim ‘Femme Invisibility: So Last Year!‘ In 2008 Bird graced the cover of Ulrika Dahl and Del LaGrace Volcano’s ‘Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities’ and I met her for the first time at the book’s launch in London. When, there, Bird sang her song ‘Do you know what kind of club this is?’ (about gay clubs who can’t/don’t recognise a queer bird), I fell a little bit in love. And I was not the only one. So many cheers and thanks and acclaim and joy was bestowed upon her that she determined to turn the mythology of Bird Club into a reality – a real club, if only once a month – where Anyone Can Be A Bird.
I’m interested in post Butch/Femme and what happens when players themselves question and rewrite the roles. I find the hostile reaction many non-players have towards butch/femme enthusiasts fascinating. I can’t think of another consensual sexual activity that has so much scorn and derision poured on it. I’m fascinated why many people find it so threatening and I’d like to see if that anxiety can be played with. – Bird La Bird
When I started feeling good about the word ‘tranny‘ and dressing ‘as a boy‘ and ‘as a drag king‘ I never felt like one (a boy that is). I was stable (if slightly uncomfortable) as a dyke and (therefore) as a woman. But then I found a place that did to me what I do to so many people; made no assumptions about me. And it had a huge impact on me. Clearly. Because it happened. I started having moments where I didn’t feel so much like a lesbian anymore, like a dyke, like a woman.
I was lost. And it was sublime.
That is where Bird Club lies. When Bird La Bird says Anyone Can Be A Bird, that’s how it is. Everyone can be anyone they want, and maybe even someone they didn’t quite know they were.
Dear Bird, Thanks for opening my eyes and my wings, Love Max xx
The next Bird Club in London is March 12. Go to www.birdclub.org.uk for details.
Photograph by Sam Nightingale.