The Catherine McGregor Story
Still Turning Point: The Catherine McGregor Story
By Priscilla Jackman
Based on interviews with Catherine McGregor
“Gender transition is traumatic and one’s past really does become another, most alien country. I still cannot fully grasp what it will be like to see others experience my joys, sorrows, triumphs and abject failures through a stage show. (Catherine Elizabeth McGregor)
Still Turning Point: The Catherine McGregor Story is the story of a human being born into the wrong body. In the time-frame of this play we watch Malcolm McGregor eventually emerge as Catherine Elizabeth McGregor after a journey of drugs, alcohol, self-abuse, and (almost) suicide.
The psychological dimension of this story is fascinating. Malcolm immersed himself into the most ‘masculine’ of lifestyles, thinking that this would obliterate that female presence in his soul. It didn’t of course, but instead fueled a lifestyle of substance abuse and psychological denial until a pivotal moment came when his only choice was death ... or life as Catherine Elizabeth.
We hear of the torturous moment Malcolm revealed his inner self to his wife, the woman he loved more than any other, and a women he knew that he would lose with this revelation.
We also hear of Catherine's many faux pas. One example is Catherine's ungracious response to the news that former Army Chief General Morrison had won Australian of the Year; another foot-in-mouth put many of the her trans-community against her, when she expressed her belief in having ‘to pass’ ‒ to be seen as a women by strangers ‒ when many of her community who are far more fluid in their sexuality, considered this proclamation ‘unhealthy’.
There are wonderful little moments of joy and humour in Still Turning Point. When airport staff give Catherine a boarding pass printed ’Catherine Elizabeth’ rather than ‘Malcolm’; Catherine’s propensity to take a handful rather than an individual pill or drink, this habit turning her into an emotional mess when (over)taking female hormones and ‒ a sweet insight into the medical profession ‒ when her gallant surgeon offers Catherine his arm on the way to her life-changing surgery.
Voyeuristically, a marvellous insight into the heart and mind of a transitioning human. Statistically, a journey few take and fewer still survive.
Sydney Theatre Company
Until 26 May