Kat Cunning is the pop-soul spirit reimagining queer storytelling

Kat Cunning is dedicated to learning. “I caught up to a lot of things about myself that would have laid dormant if I didn’t have this time,” they tell GAY TIMES. The Broadway star, actor, and singer-songwriter is holed up in Miami, ahead of a show at the Faena Theater hotel, and is currently adjusting to falling back into a normal routine. Now away from the thick outdoor humidity and unnerving LA crowds, the artist has found time to look inwards. “I definitely learned a lot more about my gender and how I identify. For anybody who’s even paying attention to their gender, it’s important to keep learning and growing every day.” Like most, Kat sought out space to self-reflect in the midst of the pandemic, especially after breaking up with their partner of five years and choosing to move away from their dream city, New York. “I’m still learning about my own artistry and having to change my relationship with music,” they explain. “But, personally, I recently gave myself permission to identify as transmasculine and non-binary.”

As the singer journeyed onwards learning more about themselves, the vision and self-discovery of transmasculine joy surfaced in their saccharine and powerfully sentimental music video for the single, Boys. The video captures a vivid sense of community and self-assurance amongst Kat and a group of trans people. “In making the song Boys and releasing the music video, I was able to talk to a lot of other transmasculine people and discover a lot of literature on what it means to be trans masculine,” Kat recalls. “While I’m not ready to go with [the pronouns] ‘he/him’ and experience looks every single day and I’m also not fully a man, I learned a lot about myself. It’s important to keep going because the information is growing every day. It’s a deeply personal thing that we then have to put into words for other people to understand.”

While the artist likes to use their platform to dig into the nuances of gender and identity, they are mindful of the emotional fatigue that can come with the territory. “It means having to disclose that you’re non-binary or trans every time you walk into a room or you get misgendered. It’s one or the other,” they outline. “It definitely gets exhausting. I also definitely protect myself. I try to be a platform that helps people feel like they’re not alone. I know that if I’m going through stuff that’s likely echoed in my community, especially in mental health.” That said, the artist assured us they also find it “cool to talk about” the intricacies of identity. Like most things, it’s about the appropriate time and place. “The traditional way to define being non-binary is that you live outside of the binary and that’s not entirely true for me. I kind of fucking love the binary. I love the silhouette of men and I love the silhouette of women, and I just think we shouldn’t be stuck in them,” they expand. “I think we should be playful with them and, unfortunately, they have a lot of power in our society. I am politically against the binary, but aesthetically I love the binary. The transmasculine side of me loves the traditional concept of a man which also resonates with me physically too. So, for me, to be non-binary and go as ‘they/them’ is a happy medium that communicates to everyone in the room that I’m not quite what you assume I am and to respect that I have a nuanced relationship to gender. I’ve taken little steps telling my friends and finding safety in communities to talk about it.”

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