I first read “The Vagina Monologues” cover-to-cover on my patio about five years ago. The subject matter, and even the monologues themselves, weren’t completely new to me. I’d seen snippets of the show online. But the one that truly struck me was entitled “The Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy,” since it was one of only two that actually featured a queer woman.

And now I’ve come full circle: This Saturday, Feb. 11, from 7-9 p.m., I will be performing this monologue along with other female performers at UNC Charlotte Center City, with an encore performance 7-9 p.m. Feb. 13 at McKnight Hall. This annual UNCC event is called “Tales from Down There” and it features writer and activist Eve Ensler’s works “The Vagina Monologues,” “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer,” and “I Am an Emotional Creature.”

Tickets sold for the show will benefit Community Support Services Prevention & Intervention, Transcend Charlotte, and UNC Charlotte’s Interpersonal Violence Survivor’s Fund.

The producer of this show, Shannon Inman-Bauerle, is hoping for a turnout of women, couples looking for reason to see a show on Valentine’s Day, and men who want to learn more about feminism, women’s bodies and relationships. She’s also made the show more inclusive than Ensler’s original material, adding more opportunities and stories from trans women and women of color.

Musician Lara Americo, who’s also a trans woman of color, will be performing an original piece she wrote titled “Another Word for Vagina.” (Full disclosure: Americo is my lovely girlfriend.)

Trust me when I say Americo’s piece will be a showstopper for those looking beyond the usual gender binary of what it means to be a woman. Her inclusion in the production is one of the main reasons I wanted to be part of it: To be a part of expanding the conversation from pussy hat-centric white feminism to one that centers trans women of color.

“It ticks me off when the idea that all women have vaginas is normalized,” said Americo, “especially when this idea is coming from feminists. Normalizing this supports other feminist ideas that are not inclusive towards transgender women.”

Inman-Baurele is on board with the show’s more inclusive mission.

“We will speak the unspoken in a new and viable way, speak about what it means to be a woman in a world where being so is not always the easiest or the safest but they are stories that should and will be told,” she said.

To support the show’s inclusiveness, I’ve changed the title of the monologue I’m reading to “The Woman Who Liked to Make Women Happy.” It’s going to be a saucy, empowering evening.

Want to go?

“Tales From Down There.”

Mingled Cast Production: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at UNC Charlotte Center City (320 E. 9th St.).

Faculty/Staff Production: 7-9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 at McKnight Hall, Cone Center, UNC Charlotte Main Campus (9201 University City Blvd.).

Student Production: 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at McKnight Hall, Cone Center, UNC Charlotte Main Campus (9201 University City Blvd.).

UNC Charlotte student tickets are $10, and it’s $15 for everyone else. Purchase in advance here. Tickets will also be for sale at the door (cash only).

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