“To tell you the truth, I was very worried when he stabbed Kiki in the hallway,” says Rufus Wainwright. “But I am totally sold. He has made a clear break. And it’s valid artistically. Thank God.”
Bond and Sammy Jo broke up in 2005. Nearly four years ago, Bond met a guitar-strumming boy two decades his junior named Nath Ann (né Nathan) Carrera, whose preferred mode of special-event attire is a brown dress with a turban made out of what appears to be a flattened white bird. “We were doing our gig Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadwayin San Francisco, and I walked out after the first matinee and he was standing by a parking meter and I decided to make him mine.”
It turned out Carrera was an usher in the theater. “Well, he was instrumental in helping me, I guess, get in touch with myself again, ’cause he was no part of my history. He’s 28. It was almost like where he was and who he was, I could go and pick up where I left off. It’s really strange; you’re surrounded by these amazing, young, exciting, exuberant, highly articulate queer kids in San Francisco, so the day after we closed Kiki and Herb, I got in the caravan with like eleven anarchist queer kids and we spent a week at Queeruption, camping in the woods.
“I don’t have to be beholden to anything that’s gone before. I can just keep on changing. I can pretend like I’m 28, and having a boyfriend who is 28 makes it a lot easier.”
Plus they like the same music. “I’m listening to the Carpenters with someone who doesn’t think it’s ironic.”
Bond burned the original Kiki dress at a Faerie gathering—as a tribute to the ascendence of his sincerity. “After that, Kiki worked for me. I didn’t work for her.”
“A lot of people are surprised” about the hormones, says Warner, who recently had Bond, a Barbie scarf tied around his neck, speak at one of his queer-studies seminars at Yale. “People figured Justin had already solved the problem of people’s perception of his gender.” When we spoke, Rufus Wainwright didn’t even know about Bond’s decision to alter himself chemically; Martha Wainwright grasped to figure out what to say. “There was always a confidence in his maleness,” she said. “But maybe that was never true.” Mitchell seemed a bit flummoxed, too, wanting to say the right thing. Mellman just didn’t want to talk about it.
“One of the things we talked about in class was what is the meaning for him of going on hormones if it’s not to transition from male to female,” says Warner. “He doesn’t want anyone to think of it that way. It’s about having a body form that makes it immediately visible to everybody that he’s neither one nor the other.”
And besides, Bond says, it occurred to him that “if I was a real woman, I’d be postmenopausal. I wouldn’t be able to have children anyway. So I can just be a postmenopausal woman now.” For the record, he’s also been known to date female-to-male transsexuals and likes to declare himself a “lesbian separatist.”
So don’t expect a settled answer here. He’s not planning on having an operation. He seems most comfortable trying to find a place in the in-between. “She’s happy,” says Sammy Jo, switching pronouns again. “As happy as I’ve ever known her to be. Especially because it’s no longer moments of happiness.”
Bond now is getting the body he always thought he’d have back when he was growing up in Maryland. And before he began the sterility-inducing estrogen cycles earlier this year, he had some of his sperm cryogenically frozen in New Jersey. After all, if his friend Rufus can have a baby (with Leonard Cohen’s daughter, no less), why can’t he?
“I’m not doing this to decrease my options.”