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GENDER: the importance for a career

by Ronja Baerecke Sexuality and Gender become a more and more important issues in our modern society. Not just in communication, but also in a definition of personality, personal development and as part of growing up. Teens think much more in our days about what sexual orientation they have, about gender policy, transexuality and gays than the generation before did.  

The importance of sexuality for your career

Being gay always was a handicap in nearly all kind of professions. That changed at least for the creative professions. Still more complicated is transexuality. Brix Schaumburg knows what he is talking about. He was born as a woman and became a man when he was adult. Now he is already an established male German actor. Actually he plays Mowgli in the theater play “The Jungle Book”. The transformation of man into woman and the other way around is becoming more and more common in today’s society. This year for example, the first transgender actress Daniela Vega won an Oscar for her incredible performance in her movie “Una Mujer Fantastica”.

Women have less chances in the movie business

For women in general, the movie business is much harder than it is for men. If you take a look at the winners of 2018 you can simply see that there are just fewer women than men on the list. Hence the Chilean, Daniela Vega, made two incredible things happen: the generally rare chance of winning an Oscar and to win it as a trans-woman. The director of the film admitted looked specifically for a transgender actress for this role, a great risk due to the controversy that could arise if she was nominated for the Oscar’s.

How Sabrina turned into Brix

Brix does not aspire for an Oscar, he already achieved everything he wanted: He is a man and he is a succesful actor. How came the change to another gender? Sabrina, how he was called before, never felt right to him. Something was wrong and he knew that. When he was a child, his behavior was more boyish than like you would imagine of a little girl. Moving on, when he moved to Hamburg, Brix started a new chapter in his life. He started to study acting at the Musical Stage School. From that moment on, he finally got to change his situation forever. During the study and it’s curses he had to deal with his psychological issues and decided to finally deal with them. Onwards he moved to London, to study at the Academy of performing Arts for one year, in order to learn how to be an actor in a totally new way. I caught him on skype and talked to him about his present situation, his tour and the new life. We interview Brix about his view on his change in life.

Why did you decide to become a transgender actor?

Surely you know these common videos on the internet? If you looked at a documentary about transgender, you know that the first hints start at childhood. It was the same with me. At the age of 5, I was the scorer, but I've always adapted, because most of the time in life, it's easier to adapt. And then I came to Hamburg. Especially in a drama school you reinvent yourself again and again and that helped me a lot. I then watched a video with a friend by chance and at some point, the UKE in Hamburg made a documentary about Transgender Types and the name of a specialized doctor. After a few weeks I got an appointment with him. It all happened very fast. I guess my parents always knew that I was different, they just knew their child. They never visited me in the hospital before the operation, only after.

What happened to your body?

I take Testosterone tablets every day. At first, I had injections, but they were too strong. At one moment you are high up and then you are totally down. With the tablets I get the same hormone level as an average man. That's how I'm in control. In the beginning, my immune system was attacked, I was sick very often and not feeling well. My voice also changed and that hurt in the beginning as well. The change on the body is enormous and I still see differences today. The layer of fat under the skin, for example, goes away, I have thin skin. My veins come out, the hips and shoulders look different. I like to compare pictures, even today from a year ago and see great changes. For that I had to go to the gym a lot and did very hard workouts. It took a long time to complete the change and I felt like a teenage boy: mood swings, cold, anxiety, high sexual drive. Today I feel deeply relaxed, I'm grounded and somehow I found my inner peace. I am in harmony with myself and I am totally thankful for everything.

What exactly did you have to do?

The hormones do not help with everything. And if you have big breasts, then you have to go right under the knife. My pectoral muscles are over the scars and you hardly notice them anymore. At the same time everything was taken away. Suddenly I had such moments that the softness emotion in me was suddenly missing and I had real asshole moments, I did not know myself then. Body and psyche play an important role here. I know a few who have had that too and there are always those asshole-like nice guys.

How did people react?

I changed more and more radically. That was really hard for me at the beginning. It was getting a new haircut which everyone is glaring, but of course this change is much more noticeable. It has been five years now, and it's no different for anyone. Even in the village, everyone got used to it. The other day we shot some scenes nearby and many watched us. They were proud of me and who I am now. That's cool.

Did you experience any negatives?

No, luckily nothing happened to me at all. I think it's harder not to feel at home in an art scene than at office jobs or stricter workplaces, partly because there are separate changing rooms, for example. When you're in our business, everyone can do what they want. And then everyone told me, by my open and honest dealings, I've done exactly right.. I'm Brix now, so why should I say that? It's a bit intimate and familiar, but I still do not have to pin it on everyone's lips.

Do you feel hormonally better since your transformation?

It's much, much better. It also has a little bit to do with the fact that I am much calmer. Not just hormonally, but because maybe I was a little bit unhappy before too. Because there was something wrong. I can still tell you girls, what's going on with you. I think that's very good for my fiancé.

Are you crazy or rather down to earth?

I like to choose and that can turn out to some craziness. But otherwise I am more down to earth. I like to cook, I do sports, I have a puppy. I have some friends that come from the musical business, but they are too loud and extravagant for me.

Is it easier to work in the industry as a man?

Definitely. Career wise, it helps a lot, I get many requests, whereas a woman would not even get to casting. I think the girls here are still a lot tougher and more open, because some things are almost too much for me, the men are more restrained, if they are not very eccentric in general. But I do not like the superficial. I'm not like that either, I'd rather stay back there. But I think all creators are more open and more liberal. I met great people during a drag show in Tenerife.

The man has become a woman again?

I agree. Everyone says that. But basically, I'm just a man like everyone else who likes to dress up. High heels are pure sex for me, but that's dressing up for me. When I was a girl, I didn't feel comfortable in heels and dressed up as well, so there is not such a big difference right now. But now I am the right person in this disguise, not like then.

How does your fiancé handle your past?

For my fiancé, I am at the same time gay friend, best friend and man, I think. I have a bit of everything and I dont want to lose it. She thinks it's great and she is very positive about that. She also supports me with everything I do, the next project is the German television show “Ninja Warrior”. If anyone wants something, he should do it. Don't be too shy, you just got one life so you should follow whats best for you and be brave enough to do your thing.
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