Richard O’Brien: ‘Society should not dictate gender’

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The writer and star or the Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien, has suggested that society should allow people to grow up and not feel like they have to conform to a certain gender.

Ahead of his new project The Stripper, the 67-year-old spoke to The Times about therapy, fitting in and telling his children about his trans status.

He said: “All my life, I’ve been fighting never belonging, never being male or female, and it got to the stage where I couldn’t deal with it any longer. To feel you don’t belong . . . to feel insane . . . to feel perverted and disgusting . . . you go f***ing nuts.

“If society allowed you to grow up feeling it was normal to be what you are, there wouldn’t be a problem. I don’t think the term ‘transvestite’ or ‘transsexual’ would exist: you’d just be another human being.”

“I’d been fighting, going to therapy, treating what I was as though it were some kind of illness to be cured. But actually, no, I was basically transgender, and just unhappy.”

O’Brien, who uses transgender to describe feeling “in between” being a man or a woman, added: “There is a continuum between male and female. Some are hard-wired one way or another, I’m in between. Or a third sex, I could see myself as quite easily.”

On plucking up the courage to tell his children about being trans, O’Brien said their reaction was: “Dad, and your point is?”

He also revealed that Dr Frank N Furter had been based on his mother, saying: “He’s a hedonistic, self-indulgent voluptuary, and that’s his downfall. He’s an ego-driven . . . um . . . I was going to say, a bit like my mother.”