A male, gender-fluid ballet dancer is the first to dance, as a female, in the English National Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty.
Chase Johnsey is a self-identified gender-fluid ballerina who has taken extreme measures to achieve his goal of performing as a female.
He has gotten cosmetic facial surgery to appear more feminine. He also went to significant lengths to lose muscle mass, but retain strength in order to boast a more feminine physique.
Johnsey stated, “I am a small, petite guy, but I am a man. My shoulders are wider, my calves are bigger, the textures of my muscles are different. I had to cannibalize my body, make it run on energy from muscles and figure out how to lose muscle mass without losing strength.”
He continues by saying he keeps “evolving and I am pushing the limits of what I can achieve. I am trying to see how feminine I can make myself within those limitations.”
The director of the English National Ballet, Tamara Rojo, said that this was in no way a publicity stunt, but rather “is about reflecting the world we live in."
"There are different races, cultures and beliefs in our company — this is another aspect of that view,” she said.
Well, in the world we live in, it's extremely difficult for biological women to attain success in the ballet industry. Conditions that they work under are extreme, physical appearance must be impeccably maintained, and you have to be just incredibly lucky to succeed in the industry.
Now, these women have to compete with biological men who want to “shatter the glass ceiling,” because, you know, it’s clearly been entirely too easy for women in the entertainment industry. The field really needs to be more balanced in favor of men.
Wendy Whelan, a former New York City Ballet principal spoke out about her conflicting feelings over men taking women’s roles, describing it as “another hurdle" for actual women
“Living the life of a woman in ballet means not having access to the privileges that come with the patriarchy,” she said.
But, let’s just let boys be boys...or girls?