MAN ENOUGH TO BE A WOMAN by Jayne with Rupert Smith County

MAN ENOUGH TO BE A WOMAN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The memoirs of a '70s punk/drag sub-icon whose unique trajectory across the counterculture has supplied her with great troves of decadent gossip as well as novel insights into life as a transsexual. County, n‚e Wayne Rogers, grew up a ""sissy boy"" in small-town Georgia and adopted flamboyant habits of makeup and dress while still in his teens, in the mid-'60s. Moving to New York City, County established a niche on the hippie edge of the gay community--in the summer of 1969 County both rioted at the Stonewall and grooved at Woodstock. While working menial day jobs, he was soon sharing an apartment with Warhol drag superstars Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis, whose outrageous personalities and talents are the subject of some delightful, seamy anecdotes. Under Curtis's influence County adopted an extravagant, absurdist approach to cross-dressing that would be an important vehicle in an ongoing transformation from ""him"" to ""her."" County acted in surrealist theatrical farces like the Warhol-sponsored Pork and DJ'ed at Max's Kansas City, where she began performing with a rock band in 1972. When punk exploded, County started making records, performing, and rubbing shoulders with Sid Vicious and the Clash. But strained by her amphetamine use and tensions within her band, County's odd career in rock had largely collapsed by the end of the '70s (after a hiatus, she has returned today to recording and performing). County discusses with disarming forthrightness the ambiguities of gender and her decision to forgo sex-change surgery (she does take female hormones). And she avoids both self-pity and backbiting, recalling frankly even her stint as a prostitute in '80s Berlin and London. County's lively memoir illuminates the original intermingling of gay and punk subcultures that's experiencing an energetic resurgence today.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 184pp
Publisher: Serpent's Tail