Comic journey through gender labels

Comedian Michelle ‘‘Ren’’ Lunicke in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Comedian Michelle ‘‘Ren’’ Lunicke in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Get set for an autobiographical performance celebrating a Northland comedian's many coming outs.

Performer Michelle ‘‘Ren'' Lunicke, of Whangarei, is ready to perform their comedy ‘‘Ze'': queer as f***! at Dunedin Fringe Festival tonight and tomorrow.

The word ‘‘Ze'' is a reference to the gender-neutral pronoun adopted by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community and allies.

The pronouns ‘‘ze or they'' needs to be honoured, Ze said.

‘‘I feel that I'm not quite man and not quite woman either ... You can embrace me or reject me but what kind of world do you want to live in? An embracing world or a rejecting world?'' Lunicke said in Dunedin yesterday.

The show was personal, an autobiographical, episodic journey from childhood to now through many different "LGBTI etcetera" labels, Lunicke said.

"I have a really strong desire to be authentic and to have a true identity and to belong.''

However, belonging is a ‘‘two-edged sword''.

‘‘You can belong because it's the correct place for you or you have some affinity and in another way belonging can translate to conformity, which is the opposite of being authentic, so there is a tension between those two needs of being authentic and to belong to a community.''

The LGBTQI movement was about embracing diversity and recognising the infinite expressions of gender and sexuality ‘‘in a very complicated and natural world,'' Lunicke said.

Dunedin was the first place in the South Island Lunicke had visited and the performer expected it to be the first of many performances in the city.

The show premiered at a fringe festival in Perth in January at the start of an Australian tour.

‘‘[Dunedin] seemed like a great place to end my chaotic, hectic Australian tour.''

 ● The comedy is on tonight and tomorrow at Taste Merchants.


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