An image of Crissy Red
Crissy Red | Photo courtesy of Crissy Red

Crissy Red

Actor and performer a role model for living as your authentic self

Crissy Red is a performance artist and actor who has also done standup comedy and worked in film. Recently, Red played Chrissy Two Guns in Sable Sweetgrass’s work Awowakii, portraying a Blackfoot transsexual mother who is trying her best to make a good life for her adopted son — a role that Red, herself identifying as transsexual, could relate to on many levels, although not as a mother. 

“I certainly related to the traumatic childhood event,” Red says in conversation with Sweetgrass. “I certainly related to the anger that people will feel and using being transgender for their problems as an excuse. So it was a real dichotomy of going, Oh my god, I know her but I don’t know her, and… to try to get into that character and figure out how can I convey the emotions and the sorrow and the fear of being this, a mother who’s all, really, is basically at the very simple core a mom who is trying to raise a kid as best she can in this crazy, crazy world with crazy circumstances all around her. Very fascinating character. It was extremely challenging.”

Sweetgrass also talks about community and how seldom we hear from Indigenous transsexual women, which makes Crissy Red such an inspirational figure.

“When people say what you’re bringing to your community,” responds Red, “I feel like me living my life the way I do with a lot of dignity and responsibility, I am a living role model for transsexual, other transsexuals, who are maybe thinking about it…”

Tune in to this week’s Indigenous Stories podcast to learn more about Chrissy Red and the backlash and obstacles Red and other transsexual women face in the community, as well as their thoughts on the current and evolving attitude towards transsexual and transgender persons.

About The Storytelling Podcast: Indigenous Stories

Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about local Indigenous artists who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, affecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts.

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