ORIGINAL PLUMBING, the transgender lifestyle magazine, returns to town on Friday for a queer/trans dance party at the Midway.
Original Plumbing, the New York–based quarterly lifestyle magazine and Web site for trans men and their friends, returns to the Midway this Friday for a queer/trans dance party featuring go-go boys, a photo booth, DJs D'hana and Justincredible, and a midnight performance by New England electropop act Nicky Click.
The last time OP was in these parts was for Pride this past June, and Amos Mac, publisher and editor-in-chief, loved the city so much he wanted to come right back. "Boston has such great energy," he said during our phone interview last week. (Full disclosure: I am a regular blogger for Original Plumbing's Web site, and a big fan of both Mr. Mac and his hair.)
Mac, a photographer, started Original Plumbing in San Francisco in 2009 with co-editor Rocco Kayiatos while Mac was working on a photo project documenting the female-to-male transgender community there. "I've always been a huge magazine fanatic, but I felt there was nothing that was just for trans men — our experience; by us, for us and our friends. Trans experience was often portrayed as an exposé. I wanted to create a publication just for us."
Original Plumbing has since relocated to New York, and grown from a little seed of a zine into a full-fledged national social movement. It's garnered the attention of the New York Times, Margaret Cho, John Waters, and almost 10,000 Facebook fans in the process. Adhering to the philosophy that there is no one "right" way to be trans, the magazine covers a diversity of men through personal essays, interviews, and photo shoots. The newest issue has a "green" theme and includes a feature on an ethical butcher and a piece about a guy transitioning to male in a small rural town.
Original Plumbing also features regular bloggers, beefcake photos, and swag like a NOBODY KNOWS I'M A TRANSSEXUAL T-shirt, which the site describes as ". . . a great ice-breaker for parties, school, pride events, doctors visits, family functions, late-night cruising, Bar Mitzvahs, night clubs of the straight or gay variety, protests, business meetings, and good old-fashioned day-to-day trans visibility."
The T-shirt is also an indicator of the larger mission of OP: to create vibrant community and bring a celebratory spirit of visibility to trans men. Part of those efforts include pop-up events like the Midway dance night on Friday, hosted by Mac and Kayiatos.
Though the Original Plumbing parties were initially solely magazine-release events, Mac and Kayiatos started holding them just for fun when they realized that "There seemed to be a hole in the nightlife scene for trans men. There were lesbian parties, cisgender gay men parties, and it was like, 'Where's our party?' When we first started throwing them in New York, people were coming out of the woodwork that didn't go out a lot, and they relished having a space to dance and bring their friends."
The non-denominational setting might have something to do with the appeal OP events have for non-trans queer people and allies, who show up in full force for OP events. "You can't tell who's trans or not," Mac says of the revelers, "but it's always a very eclectic crowd." Mac is looking forward to Friday's event at the Midway. "There will be gorgeous people and amazing music," he says. "The magazines will be on hand, there will be shirts for sale, and I'll be taking photos in people's faces!"
Original Plumbing @ The Midway, August 12, 9 pm.