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A discussion with Antony Hegarty, as part of a 100 interview series, has recently been released, wherein the topics of conversation ranged from his career to his views on creativity.
As I wait in the uncomfortable atmosphere of the Bowery Hotel lobby, I find myself speculating about what I will talk about with Antony Hegarty for the next hour. This is not an unfamiliar feeling as there is always the chance of going off-topic during an interview.
I have my questions, but I am prepared to abandon them if necessary. After Hegarty arrives and compliments my pants, we dive into a 90-minute long discussion about gender, testosterone-driven thought, and the deteriorating planet–basically, all of the things that our civilization has gone wrong with up until now.
Fans of Hegarty’s music, which he has been producing under the name Antony and the Johnsons since 1998 following the release of the album of the same name, will be familiar with these themes.
In 1990, Hegarty made the move to New York and quickly rose to prominence in the ’80s avant-garde scene.
His art has often perplexed the public, who find it difficult to accept queer success stories and the concept of a life outside of the status quo of gender.
By extension, his music can be seen as an education, as it encourages cross-gender identification and offers a momentary space of exploration and flexibility.
Hegarty has a vision of a utopian future that is becoming increasingly rare. He endeavors to share his optimism for the world’s transformation and progress with a large, engaged audience in the hope that they will be able to help make this dream a reality.
— As stated by Henry Giardina
QUESTION: [Pointing to a woman in the lobby] Who is that? She’s a renowned vocalist.
Is it Paloma Faith? Her locks are reminiscent of the singer’s signature style.
ANSWER: Paloma Faith is the one in the evening gown. She is talking to the doorman. I am curious to know how much time she spends styling her hair.
ANSWER: She’s mastered the skill.
QUESTION: But does it involve others? I imagine a traditional Victorian room: five ladies-in-waiting with their jesting combs…
ANSWER: commented that the person they know who dresses well likely has multiple stylists. They reminisced about their former assistant, who took two hours each day to get ready.
To leave the room, is that all?
AH confirmed that the individual had been informed of the situation before they visited the office.
QUESTION: A simple greeting of “Hello, world!”
ANSWER: Yes, it was almost like a meditative process. I found it to be quite admirable. It was an exact and well-constructed way of defending oneself from the outside world.
When it took two hours to prepare for any connection with others – it was as if there was a barrier between one’s vulnerable self and the world.
QUESTION: When you eventually make your way outside –
ANSWER suggested that the thin, precise coating, scarcely visible, is a powerful symbol of one’s protective covering.
QUESTION: But once you leave the safety of the indoors, you expose yourself to the scrutiny of others. People are more likely to be observing you.
ANSWER: Is it because of your appearance?
QUESTION: Indeed. Those who are fashionably dressed or have some form of personal style in New York tend to attract a lot of attention.
ANSWER: Tourists are likely the cause. New York has become a destination for many visitors.
QUESTION: They’re not being hostile, just amazed.
When I was a child in the late ’70s, my family and I would drive to London and go down King’s Road to observe the punk rockers. The colorful and vibrant individuals in the city seemed like a form of salvation to me, and I was captivated by them.
Nowadays, though, even twelve-year-olds in Minnesota can access anything they desire due to the internet. Thus, I imagine the punk rockers in the city must be pleased to still have something that sets them apart.
QUESTION affirms that what was said is correct.
ANSWER claims that his nephew is way ahead of the times because the underground scene is no longer like it was 25 years ago. Now, it’s all about taking snippets of mass culture, curating them in their way, and forming their underground.
It’s a generation of Nico Muhly’s and their absorption of everything, not caring about anything, and having a remix culture always on the move.
QUESTION: I much prefer the idea of having four people who are in tune with my mindset and aware of my thoughts. I find this route to be less lonely than the alternative.
I was raised in very conservative towns, and some of the strongest people I ever met were there. They were even more peculiar than the people in New York.
I relocated to the Big Apple to be with a more unified group of weirdos, but I find that kids in the suburbs remain in their little communities. It’s almost like they are all connected through their blogs, watching each other’s vlogs.
QUESTION: Even so, there are still people who take their own lives due to feelings of isolation.
ANSWER: Are we discussing suicides that are connected to the internet or suicides that are related to homosexuality?
QUESTION: Endings of life resulting from being gay, queer, or adult…
ANSWER commented that thirty years ago, discussing homosexuality was much more complicated than it is today, with twelve-year-olds now feeling comfortable enough to openly express themselves.
In the past, there was only the Hetrick-Martin Institute in the ’90s, which was the only place of refuge for inner-city queer people. It was generally viewed as an adult issue, which made it taboo to talk about gender or sexuality in children.
However, ANSWER believes it should be seen as something to be celebrated and not pigeonholed into an adult sexual orientation.
There is beauty in the innocence of children coming to terms with gender and sexuality, and now there is more freedom to talk about gender-variant young people and gay kids. ANSWER noted that in the 80s, the only thing associated with being gay was AIDS.
No more conversation on the topic; the discussion is finished.
ANSWER recalled that when they were in high school, it was widely believed that being gay was synonymous with AIDS and child molestation.
To better understand the experiences of young gay people, ANSWER conducted a study for an anthropology class in 1988. ANSWER surveyed twenty of their college freshman friends and documented their childhood stories.
Most participants had been thrown out of their homes, disowned, and/or institutionalized. The only exception was a straight person who came out during high school but did not face serious consequences.
ANSWER was surprised to discover the amount of trauma, so many of their lesbian and gay friends had endured. However, when they meet people in their twenties today, they find they are not having as hard of a time as those in the past.
The other day, I came across a figure that said 57 percent of US transgender individuals were not accepted by their relatives, and 19 percent had been without a home. It appears to me that these numbers have since changed.
ANSWER commented that when the issue of gay suicide became more visible, it was assumed that the situation was getting worse. This was not the case; people had been dying from suicide for a long time, but it had not been discussed or attributed to the LGBT+ community.
The increased visibility of the issue made it more apparent, but it also brought an increase in hate from those who opposed it.
QUESTION: Isn’t it strange that those most aggressive about this topic are Christians, who are supposed to be guided by their conscience regarding such matters?
ANSWER: The Christian faith has not always been victorious when producing peaceful people. Throughout the past millennium, there have been countless instances of executions being carried out.
It can be annoying, yet some aspects of it are attractive.
ANSWER: I’ve gone too far in my decision to write off the church completely. I’m not interested in dealing with them unless they do something drastic. They should make Jesus a girl, appoint a female Pope, and turn all male members into women.
If they did this, then I’d consider talking to them, but as it stands, that’s not going to happen. It’s just a bunch of men in charge, and it’s all about masculinity.
In the song “Future Feminism,” BLVR has indicated an interest in a female interpretation of Jesus.
AH mentioned that, while they were raised a Catholic, they were drawn to the imagery of Christianity when they were younger.
They regarded Jesus as their first boyfriend and wanted him to take them away, but as they grew, they decided that female spiritual archetypes were more beneficial to their mythology.
Furthermore, ANSWER is not in any dialogue about the mythology of Jesus and does not believe in the system he was serving. They have no desire to be saved but rather are content to be a part of the natural world, an animal like other mammals.
QUESTION: commented that their behavior was relatively healthy.
ANSWER’s opinion is that creation should not be something one merely believes in but is a part of. They reject the male-centric fantasy imposed and forced upon us, oppressive ideas that create a sense of separation.
Christianity and Catholicism are viewed as perpetuating this sense of alienation from the earth. ANSWER thinks that if aliens did exist, it would be as if they had created religion to remove us from the environment purposely.
ANSWER goes on to point out that the subjugation of women was the first step in this process, as it pulled any connection to a female deity and the earth as a creative source and instead put all focus onto a sky god and the notion of returning to him.
QUESTION: He is vigilant in his observation.
As a child, the concept of always being watched bothered me. However, now I realize it was a way of preparing us for modern-day surveillance. A close relationship seems to exist between apocalyptic religions, patriarchal religion, and capitalism, including surveillance.
It appears that apocalyptic religions, especially Catholicism and its ideas of the end of the world, have enabled corporations to exploit the land of its resources since they are only getting ready for the coming of Judgment Day.
This idea reduces the planet’s value to something disposable since its worth is in the promise of a paradise elsewhere instead of in the feminine earth, its creative power, and the miracle of life.
I can understand why the planet is referred to as feminine, yet–
ANSWER suggested that it was not merely a code but something distinctly feminine.
QUESTION: My confusion lies in the word ‘feminine’ as I comprehend it only as a semiotic concept. The metaphors of pregnancy and the earth connected to it make sense, however.
Pregnancy and childbirth are not just metaphors; they are actual realities.
QUESTION: Even though the earth is not gender specific, it still produces life– isn’t it a form of gendering to label it “feminine”? When I consider natural reproduction, I don’t perceive it as having any gender identity but just something that can reproduce, such as trees.
ANSWER: However, trees do have distinct sexes or genders.
Do they, indeed?
ANSWER suggested that male and female trees exist, and the metaphor of receptivity and birthing versus creating is a biological reality.
He believes that the Christian notion of male-neutrality should be female-neutrality, as the earth is poetically and biologically pouring forth, birthing animals and plants.
He further states that males can create ideas in their minds yet are limited in their physical capacity to pour forth, which could have motivated them to over-throttle the environment almost to extinction.
QUESTION: But to what extent did the former reality of women passing away after childbirth contribute to their perception of being weak?
Recently, I have been suggesting some controversial ideas, one of which is that there is a genuine hormonal basis to the distinction between men and women.
In the LGBTQ+ community, we can observe the dissimilarities between males and females through the occurrence of people with female bodies taking testosterone and those with male bodies taking estrogen.
We can observe the transformation in both mental state and physicality. On the other hand, most individuals have been conditioned to think that the difference between genders is incomprehensible.
Men and women are seen as unable to understand one another’s perspective.
The adage “Men are from Mars” is commonly used to illustrate that men and women are vastly different.
ANSWER suggests that there are generalizations that can be made about the effects of estrogen and testosterone on the queer and trans community – that the former creates particular inclinations. The latter can lead to higher levels of aggression.
ANSWER further posits that this has its roots in prehistory, and that such roles were needed for survival.
He suggests that men were required to form hierarchical teams to give commands and patrol the perimeter, while women created circles to protect the children and make decisions communally.
We were discussing the topic of hormones.
Human beings have developed different abilities to prosper and survive. Males and females have evolved skills and specialties to collaborate and endure challenging conditions.
Those skills are now leading us to an impasse. Many men, in both America and the Middle East, are more inclined to unite with each other than with the women from their societies. This is to keep the female aspect repressed, and women subjugated.
They are joining forces, entertaining one another’s enthusiasm for military behavior, and intensifying these war games, just as they did in the prehistoric era.
They unconsciously comply with the instructions of their hormonal systems without really questioning why they are taking such actions.
Suppose all men in the world had to take estrogen treatments for six months, or if all our leaders had to take estrogen treatments. How would this alter things?
It would be incredible.
ANSWER: People think it’s absurd that men are reluctant to adopt a more feminine approach to global governance, even though it would benefit everyone.
Mothers want to raise their children in a safe, healthy, and sustainable environment, while traditionally, the male thought process has been seen as more logical.
Women often don’t want to admit that their estrogen makes them more intuitive and emotional, while some scientists claim that they can think without gender-based bias.
However, it’s impossible to be gender-neutral because people use their testosterone or estrogen for their thought processes.
QUESTION: Although the distinction between male and female biology has been used to uphold oppressive systems, it is not the enemy, even if it is grounded in reality.
Many feminist talk centers around breaking away from stereotypes about males and females and the notion that biology dictates certain tendencies. Much of this opposition is a reaction to how women have been treated.
Women were frequently criticized for being overly emotional and irrational, with the Victorians deeming them “unclean.” Nowadays, we understand the importance of feeling, intuition, and thought.
Combining all of these different systems is best to come to a conclusion that is not only right but also feels right.
QUESTION: But what would the process be to make these changes on a large scale? It would require convincing people to accept something they are already hesitant to agree with.
ANSWER believes that transgender people have much to offer in understanding their dispositions and predispositions. They have a history of emotions and can educate male communities about them.
ANSWER shares a powerful experience from their family, where a hypermasculine person started to become more emotional with age.
It was later revealed that the cause of this shift was a brain tumor on their pituitary gland producing more estrogen. ANSWER believes that big things can happen when collective consciousness shifts, and they are uniquely positioned to help oversimplify this process.
QUESTION: Oh no.
ANSWER: This family patriarch had a behavioral change that seemed to appear before anyone knew what was happening, and it struck me.
What if there was a future society that only made a significant decision by taking into account both the masculine and feminine perspectives?
Those in charge would have to consider both the logical, rational side and the emotional, intuitive side to make the best choice.
The character Tiresias is mentioned in QUESTION.
ANSWER: When making decisions such as pressing a button to go to war, it is essential to consider the feminine perspective. We often believe there is no other system beyond communism, capitalism, and socialism, but what if there is room for something new?
This possibility is fascinating and something I have just recently begun to contemplate. We have come so far technologically, but our mental and spiritual growth has yet to keep up.
When John Lennon was shot, Yoko Ono’s response was groundbreaking in American history. She didn’t seek revenge; rather she suggested that the man needed help. This is the future of how we will treat each other.
QUESTION expressed joy regarding the other person’s optimism.
QUESTION: What other course of action have you considered? Do you plan on quitting?
ANSWER: Anesthetize yourself. I appear to have arrived at that state.
ANSWER: I was overwhelmed by the thought of it all for a long time. Then, the concept of new systems not being created inspired me. We must develop as a species in several remarkable ways, and we can all help with that.
There is still so much to fight for worldwide. It’s expected that all the coral reefs will be gone by 2050, and the oceans will die in the upcoming century. It’s a perfect time to do what we can.
I’m discussing with the media and connecting my work to such ideas. Despite this, I will still come out of this interview feeling embarrassed by my lack of knowledge.
QUESTION: Don’t worry!
ANSWER: I still want to do something, even though I need to become an expert. Laurie Anderson’s song expresses how only an expert can solve the problem.
I’m aware of my lack of expertise, and I know Bob Dylan would be critical of me for attempting to change things when nothing can be modified.
Nevertheless, if everyone joins in, even if it’s just talking to the person next to them, it could help. I’m not as hopeful as Bjork–
QUESTION: Who may the individual be?
I have a more favorable outlook on life now than in college. I now have a more positive outlook.
ANSWER proclaimed that having hope is good, offering some form of utility.
The impact of technology on our lives cannot be overstated. It has been integral to our daily routines, from work to leisure activities.
Its presence has allowed us to accomplish tasks much faster and more efficiently, while also providing us with a wealth of information and entertainment.
Technology has also enabled us to connect with people worldwide, allowing us to collaborate and share ideas. All in all, technology has had a profound effect on our lives, making them more accessible and more enjoyable.
Adam Drucker, better known by the alias Doseone, has said his initial attraction to rap was as much about the……