31 Days 31 Trans Voices | Day 30: S. Bear Bergman, For the Love of Gender

S. Bear Bergman is an award-winning American trans man, author, poet, playwright, and theater artist whose gender identity is a main focus of his artwork. He is an educator and a storyteller.

Bergman was educated at Concord Academy, was one of the founders of the first Gay–straight alliance and a member of the Governor of Massachusetts’ Safe Schools Commission for LGBT Youth. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Hampshire College in 1996. He currently resides in Toronto, Ontario with his husband j wallace skelton and their three children.

Bergman is the author of six books as well as the founder of Flamingo Rampant, a micropress focused on feminist, LGBTQ-positive, racially-diverse children’s books and writer of the advice column Ask Bear for Bitch Magazine.

Bergman’s first book, Butch Is A Noun, was released in September 2006 by Suspect Thoughts Press and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Nonfiction category. A new edition was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2010. Bergman’s second book, The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, was released by Arsenal Pulp Press in the fall of 2009 and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist in the Transgender category. 

He co-edited Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation with genderqueer author Kate Bornstein, which won a 2011 Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Anthology category and a special Judges Award from the Publishing Triangle

S. Bear Bergman | Photo by Zoe Gemelli

He is also the author of four books for children; one of which, The Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy, was a 2013 Lambda Literary Award finalist in the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category.

His most recent book for adults, Blood, Marriage, Wine, & Glitter, has made several “Best Of” lists and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.

Bergman is a beloved lecturer and storyteller regarding issues relating to gender, sexuality, and culture at universities and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom because his signature blend of wit and warmth brings all the people to the yard – regardless of their sex designation, gender identity, or gender expression – (which he would like to remind you are not the same thing).

His performances have received judges’ awards at each of the last three biennial National Gay & Lesbian Theatre Festival in Columbus, Ohio, including Best of the Festival and Best New Work. In 2005, Bergman was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant for playwriting, as well as a Millay Colony for the Arts Fellowship award. He has also been given an assortment of honors for service to the transgender community, including The Spirit of Stonewall Award, the Trans 100 has been selected to the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab for his work in equity in the arts, and similar.

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He also works extensively helping to create queer and trans cultural competency at universities, corporations, health care providers, and governmental organizations. This work has included training, policy development, policy reviews, and process/barrier audits, as well as cultural awareness consulting for external marketing.

Bergman also speaks extensively about how his religious and cultural lives have shaped one another and the intersection of identities, especially as it relates to being both Jewish and queer. He honored to have been asked to write the chapter on trans inclusion for Hillel International’s LGBTQ Resource Guide.

Bergman is the creator and performer of three award-winning solo performances and a frequent contributor to anthologies on all manner of topics. He can be found many days in an airport lounge, writing stories on his laptop and letters on any piece of paper that pretends to be stationery. 

Bergman has several projects in the works.

  • a novel, tentatively titled You².
  • a short film called By Any Other Name.
  • a new Educator-In-Residence program, piloting this year.

Keep up with Bergman by visiting his website or following him on Twitter @sbearbergman.

Terry Willits

Trans Speak's Editor-in-Chief is an international mixed media artist, writer, LGBTQ advocate, coffee snob, dog dad, and FTM transgender - but not necessarily in that order, who practices what he posts. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he now does the writing thing from St. Louis, Missouri. You should check out his work - it's recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend stuff.

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