Renowned artist and activist P. Carl uncovers the intricacies of transitioning and finding himself anew in his memoir, Becoming A Man. Carl is an award-winning producer and dramaturg, and co-founder of Howlround, a free and open platform for theater-makers worldwide. When working with Claudia Rankine on her new play “The White Card,” Carl was transitioning, and this book came from that experience. “On March 16 of 2017 I become a man, a white man,” writes Carl, just months after Trump’s election, two months shy of Carl’s fifty-first birthday, and just a few more months away from the eruption of the #MeToo movement.
Against the backdrop of our pivotal political moment, Carl’s personal journey interweaves with a broader mission: Carl delivers a cutting, clear-eyed dissection of gender and identity in America. Carl has a unique vantage point—having moved through the world for decades as a woman before walking those same streets as a man. And he uses his first-hand experience to shine a light on the subtle double standards and injustices that run through daily the daily lives of millions in America. Even as Carl is finally able to celebrate his arrival in the world as the man he has always known himself to be, he must reimagine masculinity and challenge it. “To construct that man,” he writes, “knowing what I know as a woman, is my work now.”
Carl delivers a singular, heart-baring story—about what it’s like to transition at age fifty, to become oneself after waiting a lifetime, and how this transformation ripples through all the habits and relationships (including his roles as spouse and sibling) he has built over half a century.
P. Carl is a Distinguished Artist in Residence at Emerson College in Boston and was awarded a 2017 Art of Change Fellowship from the Ford Foundation, the Berlin Prize fellowship from the American Academy for the Fall of 2018, the Andrew W. Mellon Creative Research Residency at the University of Washington, and the Anschutz Fellowship at Princeton for spring of 2020. He made theater for twenty years and now writes and teaches. He resides in Boston and lives with his wife of twenty-one years, the writer Lynette D’Amico, and their dogs.