Transgender musician, poet and artist Bruce Laker aka Phaedra J. Kelly sadly passed away on the Isle of Wight earlier this month.
65-year-old Bruce was well known in the trans community around the world and famously created the term ‘gender transient’, which was included in the Oxford English Dictionary in the 1990s.
It describes a person who does not want to be a man or a woman, but someone who experiments with both identities.
Lost the fight to meningitis
Bruce’s son confirmed to friends on Facebook that his father had lost the fight against meningitis.
He suffered two heart attacks, the first in the hospital waiting room, the second a while later, but after seven hours of holding on, his body couldn’t cope with the organ failure.
Isle of Wight Hidden Hero
Bruce/Phaedra features in the Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes exhibition at the Museum of Island History, Guildhall, Newport. It runs until May this year, so worth popping in to see.
Bruce/Phaedra founded the International Gender Transient Affinity which worked to change laws and improve understanding of issues facing the trans community.
Founding member of the band Electro Magnetic Workshop, as well as the Ecurbrekal Poetry Band, Phaedra had a distinctive style and performed widely on the Island as well as collaborating with the likes of skateboard company, Wight Trash.
With at least three published poetry collections under her belt, Phaedra also performed at Bestival in 2017 after it moved to the mainland.
Understanding ‘gender transient’
As pointed out by Zagria in their obituary of Phaedra, several books quote her as saying:
“It’s about a discipline of duality with an open mind, without changing sex with hormones, with pills, with injections or surgery, living one’s dualism as much as possible. If I am Phaedra, I allow elements of Bruce through, and there is no self-hating or loathing going on.
“If I am Bruce I allow elements of Phaedra – it’s horses for courses, but like the transvestite, and to some degree the trans person living full time, I live with a separate identity. I have accepted my separate identity as well.”
The funeral service takes place on Friday 1st March, 2.15pm at the Crematorium.
Flowers are welcome and all enquiries via William Hall Independent Funeral Directors, Newchurch (898 688).
Our thoughts are with all Bruce/Phaedra’s family and friends.
Thanks to Mike for the heads-up