The core of Amethyst’s Universe is a cycle of 12 poems that tell the story of spiritual discovery, self knowledge and transformation. They explore a deep search for identity caused by conflicting gender and cultural norms. As a result of these contradictions, I created an alter ego who is the fullest expression of my femininity. Amethyst’s journey is their struggle to express gender diversity in a world of conformity. Their drama plays out against a lush imaginary dreamscape and they tell their story from inside this world where they are free to express themselves without facing the rejection, cruelty and manipulation of the world.
This fragile, bubble-like dream world is Amethyst’s retreat from the real world. It is a haven where they can feel loved, safe and accepted by all. Amethyst’s Universe is an exploration of a fantasy existence and becoming dependent on it. An awakening and transformation occurs when Amethyst’s bubble bursts and they are confronted by a deep questioning of identity and metamorphosis. I have used the pronoun “they” in rewriting this now, back in the 90’s we just used he and she. Amethyst truly was non-binary and at that time we called it androgynous and gender variant. The character was inspired by ancient traditions of two-spirit people and gender non-conformists in various cultures.
This performance of autobiographical poems was written by me and performed in collaboration with composer Tobias Tinker and musicians Guy Thouin and Evan Green who brought their skills in Indian classical and jazz to create a world music sound popular in the mid 1990s. I was contextualizing my existence and vision of gender identity through Greek mythological references, memories of past lives, childhood trauma and surviving the AIDS/HIV epidemic by being celibate. I wrote most of this work while living in Los Angeles, then some in Karachi and finally in Montreal where it was all edited and came together.
The performances received mixed reviews in the mainstream. What I was communicating wasn’t fully appreciated except in the GLBTQ community. Thankfully the project was well funded and I’m grateful for having accomplished what I came to Canada to do.