Transgender sound designer Danny Bergeron relied on support from the North Texas theater community






Growing up a tomboy in a religious home in Denton, Danny Bergeron didn’t have a term for the way he felt, but he knew he wasn’t female, as his birth certificate reads. So in his 20s, after deciding to make a public transition, he faced the obstacle of telling his divorced mother his plan.

“I made a video,” Bergeron, now 24, says. “This video could help be my voice. I knew that I was going to be nervous and anxious.”

Danny boy BUG

That was new territory for a theater lover who has been working in the DFW theater community since majority in theater arts with a focus in scenic design (and then sound design) at the University of North Texas. “It went well,” he says, “but not where I expected it to go. They thought I was being influenced by my surroundings.”

Theater, perhaps?

Bergeron, who has an identical twin sister, always loved theater and attended UNT. While in school, he volunteered for a 2010 production of The Producers at Denton Community Theatre. “They threw me on the sound board,” he says. “I absolutely fell in love with running audio and mixing, and hearing everything come together in a production.”

In recent years, Bergeron has run sound crew and/or designed the sound for Undermain Theatre, Firehouse Theatre, L.I.P. Service, Runway Theatre, Theatre Britain, Music Theatre of Denton and Rover Dramawerks. Currently, he is the sound designer for Rebecca Gilman’s Boy Gets Girl, a collaboration between L.I.P. Service, Proper Hijinx and Resolute Theatre Project. Following that, he’ll spend a year on the road in the Dallas Children’s Theater’s national touring production of How I Became a Pirate as part of the tech crew.

He’s also a local drag king, performing as Danny Foxtrot at Glitterbomb Denton (Thursdays at Mable Peabody’s) and the Tuesday Tease at Sue Ellen’s. Last month, he was part of the annual Texas Queerlesque Festival at Viva’s Lounge. His life partner, Jackie O’Nasty, who identifies as non-binary, is on that circuit, too.

Those performances, as well as more positive representations of trans characters on TV—such as Amazon Prime’s Transparent, Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and the recent season of Showtime’s Shameless — not to mention the debate about “bathroom bills,” are bringing awareness and empathy for the journey of a trans person.

“Hopefully they’ll bring people to an understanding of who we are and where we are as being,” he says.

Bergeron knows the road ahead won’t be easy — he’s taking testosterone shots and wants to have top surgery (breast removal) — but he has support, notably from his sister Shelby. “She has been there 100 percent since I came out as transgender,” Bergeron says. “I really needed that rock.”

The theater community has been there, too.

“I think it’s getting better than it used to be,” Bergeron says. “I’ve been very fortunate, I have had super supportive casts and crew. People might slip on a pronoun… but I don’t get misgendered as much anymore.”             

— Mark Lowry

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 11, 2017.