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Trans Singer Encounters Mother (and Bathroom Laws) on Tour in the South
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

November 2, 2017

Transgender singer Tom Kennard poses at a rest stop urinal somewhere between
Birmingham, AL and Knoxville, TN (Photo: David Wallace)

Joyce Arterberry takes her seat front and center in the Civic Auditorium in Knoxville, Tennessee. She’s driven five and a half hours from Indianapolis, Indiana with her daughter Amy to see her son, Tom Kennard, perform with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on tour.

Getting ready backstage, Tom is excited and nervous. He’s fretting about the seats he bought for Joyce and Amy. He’s one of 250 singers on the tour and wants to make sure his mom and sister get a good view of him up there under the lights.

“Do you think they can they see me?” he asks anxiously. Tom’s also wondering whether his mom will like the scarf he crocheted for her as a gift. “She picked green to go with her pea coat,” he says. He plans to present it to her after the show.

Joyce is also excited — she’s had her hair done specially for the occasion — and, similarly, a little bit nervous: It’s been many years since she last saw her 67-year-old son sing.

Listen to a version of the story that aired on The California Report Magazine, and read the full web story at KQED Arts, here.

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