Your tour that just wrapped up. Can you talk about that?
Speaking of Janet, a lot of my live performances have really been inspired by her style of presentation: dancers and a band and all this and that. This album, Letters to my Lovers, which is very ’90s R&B, doesn’t call for any of that. So was my first tour where I was out alone. Well, not alone; I have my musical director Daniel and musicians playing along with me on stage.
This was my first chance to watch people connect to this music, which is about my most recent relationship. It was the best one I’d been in so far. With a lot of the other relationships I’ve had, if you’re dating someone in the closet, it has a lot of the same, um, features as a lot of trans people and especially trans women experience dating people who don’t identify with being queer. They’re straight, but they don’t know how to publicly navigate their connection to dating a trans person, which oftentimes means a lot of secrecy, a lot of shame. This was the first time I dated someone who wasn’t in that situation. We were just out in public doing our thing. We would argue about the dumbest, regular things: what to watch, the toilet seat. It was refreshing.
That’s what the relationship was, and it ended. And I wrote three EPs worth of feelings and emotions—Taylor Swift and Adele-style [laughs]. It’s basically the beginning, middle, and end of the relationship. It’s about love and acceptance, relationships, fuck boys, dating drama…all that through a nineties, early 2000s R&B lens.
I loved seeing you in the movie Fire Island. What was that experience like?
It was so much fun. For me it was a quick experience, only one full day of filming. It was great to be with the entire cast and hang out with everybody. It feels good to be a part of movies and TV shows that are retelling classics.
I think Fire Island does a great job of really making the story their own. Joel Kim Booster did a great job of retelling the story in a completely new, queer, Asian-American way. I just love that the cast is so diverse and so strong in comedy. It’s a beautiful love story and I think it will provide a huge education for people who have never been to Fire Island.
Yeah, going to that part of Fire Island is a very specific experience. Anything else you want to talk about?
This is out of left field, but hopefully since there are some queer folks and allies reading this, I want to ask people to put extra energy into going out and specifically supporting queer folks and trans artists who are out there right now trying to create art and stay visible in a world—in a country—that’s in many states trying to make it harder for us to be visible legally right now.
In addition to that, just everyone register to vote right now because in a few months is the midterms, which means you have the opportunity to put a barrier between those who have higher aspirations in politics nationally who are coming up through the ranks in your cities and states. So please get into local elections. Find out who is in your city council, in your district, and vote for the person you think will do the best at each level. Take care, honey! Read up on it!