Kate Bornstein was ecstatic when she saw her name light up a Broadway marquee in New York City. The gender-nonconforming author, activist, and performance artist has spent her summer starring in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men at the Hayes Theater with costars Ty Defoe, Josh Charles, Armie Hammer, and Tom Skerritt.
Unfortunately for Bornstein, with all the wonder and glamour that accompanies a turn on the stage comes the hecklers and rude theatergoers. During a performance Wednesday night after Bornstein delivered the opening line of the show: “Good evening ladies, gentlemen, and the rest of us,” a woman called out from the audience “You’re not welcome here.”
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Though it could be very upsetting knowing someone bought a ticket to your show just to disrespect you in front of an audience, Bornstein and her costars turned it into a rallying moment of love. While other audience members reportedly told the heckler to be quiet, Bornstein wrote a warm, thoughtful Facebook post.
“She couldn’t have been more wrong,” wrote Bornstein, referring to the woman saying she was unwelcome. “The cast, crew, and company of “Straight White Men” have been warm, welcoming, and inclusive of me and the other trans actors in the show, Ty Defoe and T.L. Thompson.” She continued, “I don’t know who she thought she was talking about when she claimed that I’m not welcome. I was not shamed by her. I was puzzled. What could have caused this woman’s outburst?”
Bornstein concluded with a thought that the woman may have had someone close to her undergo a gender transition that “troubled her greatly, to the point that she just boiled over when I took the stage. Look, ‘Straight White Men’ is a great work of art. And great art does upset people. It happens all the time. Please know that I’m not upset, or afraid. I’m more than ever proud to be part of this show.”
Bornstein's costar Armie Hammer also shared his thoughts on Twitter, telling the disruptor to “feel free never to come back” to the theater.
To the woman in our audience who felt it was appropriate to yell, “You’re not welcome here!” at Kate Bornstein, our beloved friend, co-worker, and now family member..... feel free never to come back.
— Armie Hammer (@armiehammer) August 9, 2018
Straight White Men runs through September 9 at the Hayes Theater. Find ticket information here.