My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

Mandy Goodhandy is Tranny!

By Drew Rowsome

Mandy Goodhandy should need no introduction. Anyone who has seen her hosting gigs, her stand-up, her spanking fetish videos or, if very lucky, shared a shot and the chance to bask in her wit and warmth, never forgets her. A personality too big to be contained by any confines and with her new musical production Tranny, she strides into the mainstream spotlight. 

Mandy Goodhandy: I have performed on stage for many years, in a variety of genres, from professional music theatre, cabaret, drag and as a stripper. I have not performed in music theatre for over 30 years. I thought it was time to walk the boards again, with a twist of comedic song and dance.

I had a death scare with silicone injections that went wrong in 2013 and with a lot of soul searching, I realized how much I missed the theatre. Plus I think being out in the mainstream is important for trans people. I hope to educate a little regarding my experience as a sex worker and a trans person.  But with a bit of tongue-and-cheek, comedy and music . . . peppered with just a little politics.

I had gone to Buddies a couple of times to see shows by the Scandelles. I love their shows! Especially Sasha Van Bon Bon and Kitty Neptune, who have always been great supporters of Goodhandy's nightclub (now Club120). And Todd Klinck and I appeared on Needle Exchange with the talented and always charming Keith Cole. And I also had the pleasure of meeting Patricia Wilson and her awesome wife Helene at events being held at our venue. Since then I have always felt so welcome and safe at Buddies.

There is only me onstage. Dressed and, fleetingly, in the flesh. However I have been given lots of help. There are video pieces from my business partner Todd Klinck and my "lovely gay assistant" Joey Wargachuk.  Plus the talented eye of Mitchel Raphael who created the image with the rubber chicken for Tranny.  That image was also used in volume 4 of the 10X10 portraits celebrating queers in the arts.

I have the best business partner in the world. Todd has supported me on this project from the beginning. And he took on a lot of extra work to help make this happen. I am so hoping to do the same for him some day when he decides to get back into writing. He has a huge talent as I am sure a lot of people reading this will be aware of.


Drew Rowsome: We’re all familiar with you as a comedian, raconteur and a glamour icon, but a little birdy told me that the stage has been specially refitted for tapdancing . . .

Tranny is a mixture of aspects of my life past and present. I think it will be up to the audience as individuals to decide what it is. If I can make them laugh at least once during my 45 minutes to an hour show, then I will be happy. If they relate to any of this show, I have done my job. If they walk out and have learned something they did not know before regarding sex workers or trans people, I will be ultimately thrilled. And we will see if your birdy was telling the truth.

Most of my YouTube channel contains material with me as a host, though I do have one video that showcases my set at Absolute Comedy in 2013

Some of the material is being used in this show plus more material added.  I will be incorporating a couple of comedy style stories and two song parodies, for more variety.

The word “tranny” is a loaded one that, in the wrong hands, can be even nastier than “faggot” or “nigger,” but it is also, like those two words, a term of affection used by the community referenced. Are you trying to reclaim the word, defuse the word, exalt the word, exploit the word, or do you have an agenda all your own?

I used the word "Tranny" for branding purposes.  Obviously it looks and sounds like "Annie".  I also used it for my graphic novel Little Annie Tranny in 1997 with illustrations by John Herbert (Fortune and Men's Eyes). It is no means meant as a slur against trans people. I have my own personal opinions on the use of the terms "tranny" and "shemale." But it is a subject that requires a lot of explanation on my end.  I guess the easiest way to put this is, trans people just have to trust my intentions. Like a lot of other trans people out there, I have an agenda and a message. I am just doing it in my own way. None of us should be bullying others into thinking as they do. We are not all of one body and mind. We are like everyone else, individuals. And as individuals are entitled to our own opinions and beliefs. This could go on for a long time, so I will leave it at that. I think activists have done and are doing an amazing thankless job, regarding making strides for sex workers and trans people. But I see myself more of an advocate, and have not contributed to a lot of the hard work that is being done in the trenches. Trans people can do anything they put their minds to. We matter and one of your own is singing dancing and entertaining up a storm to the best of her ability.

I get very angry when I see what the senate is doing to stall both C-36 and C-389, the legislation about stalls.  It is criminal on their part in my opinion, to endanger their citizens. I also get angry about the fact that we are still not being recognized and counted in the government census, something I wrote directly to human rights and my close minded MP in Pickering back in 2001 and we are still not recognized.  And the fact that my British passport allows me to define as a female but my Canadian passport still does not. I have taken most of the anger out on stage by pointing out how ridiculous these things are in a humorous form. I am hoping that Tranny will help to bring more awareness to people in the mainstream.

Being in the television show Kink helped a bit by showing that trans women exist, that we have a voice, that we can also be business people. Even if other trans people out there did not agree with the title "Miss Shemale World" or the fact that I filmed gay adult movies. They have to understand that it was shocking enough to get media attention as far back as 2002, with not a lot of people knowing about trans people.  It is now up to all of us, to continue educating the mainstream on terminology and how we wish to be interacted with. And my classic film Mandy Goodhandy Spanks 100 Boys Spanking will play a small cameo role in Tranny.

Who is Johnny Fantasy and how does he fit into the show?

That question will be answered during the opening number of the show.

What do you hope audiences get from Tranny?

An education and futher understanding of sex workers and trans people.  If not, they at least will get a coupon for a "one eats the other eats free" at 120 Diner, and perhaps a minimum of at least one smile during the show.

Is Tranny more political or personal? Or can those concepts even be separated when it comes to you?

Interesting question.  You know me only too well Drew. Everything I do and say generally combines both.

Tranny runs Thurs, March 26 to Sat, March 28 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.