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Lucas Silveira Interview - Interview with Lucas Silveira of The Cliks

Transgender Lead Singer


Lucas Silveira - Lead Singer of The Cliks

Lucas Silveira - Lead Singer of The Cliks

© K. Campbell
Updated July 25, 2007
Lucas Silveira is the openly trangender lead singer of Toronto alt-rock band, The Cliks. The Cliks first caught my attention from their stand-out track on L-Tunes. I didn’t know anything about this band, but I googled them and downloaded their CD Snakehouse. Now it seems I can’t turn on Logo without seeing their music video “Oh Yeah.” They just returned from Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour and had a few days off before heading off again on a 16 city tour ending with an appearance on August 23rd on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Lucas Silveira took a few minutes to talk to me about making out with Margaret Cho, Cyndi Lauper’s admiration and life as a transgender heart throb.

Lesbian Life: Tell me about the True Colors Tour. Any special memories?

Lucas Silveira: There were tons of them. The fact that we were on the tour period, was amazing to us. We were all walking around really flighty saying, “I can’t believe this is really happening.”

At the first show in Salt Lake City [Cyndi Lauper] said I’m supposed to have a greet and meet with the press, but I’m pushing it forward because I really want to watch you.” She watched as we played our set and when we walked off the stage she said, “You fucking rock!” That was pretty thrilling.

Margaret Cho Make Out

And hanging out with Margaret Cho was pretty memorable. The second show was at Red Rocks in Denver. I’m at the side stage and she’s being very flirty with me, but you know she’s a comedian and I thought she was just, you know, being fun. And she looked at me and said, “I’m going to make out with you after your set.” And I was like, “You’re funny, Margaret, you’re really funny.” Well, I finished the last song, I unplug my guitar and I start to walk off stage and I see her walking toward me. I hear her say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Cliks!” and she grabbed the back of my head and stuck her tongue in my mouth, in front of an entire audience. They loved it. It was just really fun.

This is really funny because I had read that Margaret Cho had a crush on you and I was going to ask if you made out backstage.

(laughs) No we made out ON stage. It was pretty public.

You’ve been getting a lot of attention for being transgender. Does this bother you or do you welcome the opportunity to educate?

I welcome it. I don’t know about the word educate, because I can only tell people about who I am. But if I can open up people’s minds to talk about it, if I can cause some kind of incentive for people to start communicating with each other and open up the dialogue, that’s great. It has never bothered me. I’m a pretty realistic person and I knew from the second that I came out, when our album got signed, I knew that it was going to be a focus for a lot of people.

I don’t in any way condemn anyone asking me about it, or say, can we please talk about something else. It’s something to talk about and that’s ok with me. I know that end of the day, it might be something that’s getting attention, but if my music sucks, then it’s not going to continue. People get reeled in by this fascination and then they listen to the music and they say, oh, it’s pretty good. And then they stick around. And that’s the important thing, the music, but I have no problem talking about the fact that I’m trans.

You’re not taking testosterone because you don’t want to mess up your singing voice. Do you feel like you’re making a sacrifice?

When I first realized that I wasn’t going to be able to go on T, I was very, very disappointed. Because I thought, finally, I’m going to be able to do this. But then I started doing the research and I discovered that it would do what it would do to my voice.

Essentially what testosterone does is it thickens your vocal cords. For about a two-and-a-half year period, you sound like a teenage boy going through puberty. Your voice is squeaky. As a singer, I know where placement is. I can go (he sings La, la, la, la, la) and if I took T and it started to modify my cords and I would go “La, la, la, la la” but it would come out “Ooahlagaya.” I can’t risk that. Because to me, my voice is number one. I couldn’t possibly deal with the fact that it could be damaged forever. I know guys who have gone on T who are singers and they’ve told me, it takes a long time to get to the place where you can actually sing and then they tell me, it’s never the same. I’ve never heard one guy tell me he got exact control back.

A Different way to be Trans

But because of the choice that I had to make, I started looking at trans in a very different way. I feel really invisible as a trans man because I’m not able to take Testosterone. I don’t have the visual aspects that a man has, I’m not hairy, my body is different.

I had this really interesting conversation with a friend of mine, a trans guy. He made the decision not to go on T. He said, “I feel if I did Testosterone, it would make me invisible as a trans man.” I’ve been hanging onto that because it just made me think so intensely about walking in this world having everybody treat me as male and having achieved this male privilege that a lot of guys who are trans feel like they’ve attained.

I started thinking about that because I feel like, not only am I a voice for the trans community going out into mainstream, but there are guys like me. We’re they guys who are truly in the middle. I’ve had top surgery, but I’m not doing T. And to tell you the truth, I don’t know if I ever will. I feel very comfortable being where I am right now.

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