TRANS-TABULOUS. Kink's Lexi Tronic is back as the star and writer of a short film by award-winning director Guy Maddin.
It's comeback time for Canadian television's most famous tranny ho.
Lexi Tronic, one of the stars of the show Kink, is back in front of the cameras this week for the first time in five years, shaking her silicone in a short film directed by indie god Guy Maddin.
Tronic has a lot to come back from. In the past half decade, she fled her hometown of Winnipeg, plied the prostitution trade of the Alberta oil sands, worked the stripper scene of Las Vegas, counselled fellow male-to-female trannies at a women's shelter, got married and divorced, survived cancer, and finally, returned to the city she once referred to (only half-jokingly) as "the plushy/furry capital of Canada."
But let's start at the end of Kink's second season.
"I didn't realize how many freaks watched that show," says Tronic, cross-legged and sipping a Diet Coke at her favourite Winnipeg hangout, Cousins. "Guys would come up to me all the time in restaurants and say 'You're that tranny from Kink who sucks teddy bears.'"
Tronic had a hard time adjusting to her newfound fame in the same city where she used to be known as Clayton Godson, twinky star of the cult hit film Hey, Happy! Plus, she had plastic surgery bills to pay. So she packed up her makeup bag and followed the oil rush to northern Alberta — but as a different kind of driller.
"I paid for my surgery trick by trick," she says. "I have no guilt associated with it. It's a means to make a living."
Next thing Tronic knew, she met a guy who flew her down to the Nevada desert. At first, living in Las Vegas was lousy, until she fell into the arms of a hot dancer named Alex. He worked at Flex, she says, a notorious strip club in the city's 'sindustry'.
"He had a never-ending supply of drugs and money," says Tronic. "But when you have a drug-fuelled relationship, it's always going to bottom out."
After two years in America's city of sin, Tronic headed back to Edmonton. She emceed a weekly tranny burlesque show, worked at a women's shelter that accepted trans women and got back to her old tricks.
"I like working with the underbelly and the fringes," she says. "I understand those people and they understand me."
Then one night, she went to a straight club. There, she met Ryan, "a ripped and muscley Greek god." He offered to buy her a drink.
"I'm the kind of girl you don't buy a drink for," she said.
"Why?" he asked.
"I'm a little different from the other girls," Tronic replied. "I have a dick."
A few months later, they were married. But he never told his family that she used to be a he — and that she couldn't bear his little Greek children. "That created insecurity in our relationship," says Tronic.
Late one night, the two of them were in a convenience store together. A kid was filling his Slurpee cup. He turned to Tronic and said, "You're a tranny."
"My heart sank into my stomach," she says. "I was scared that it made my husband ashamed."
That's when Tronic realized she had become ashamed of herself.
The last chapter in her marriage came when she was diagnosed with skin cancer. She shrank to 98 pounds, stopped wearing makeup and stayed in bed all day.
"It hit me that my husband didn't love me," she says. "He was in love with an image of me. When I got better, I couldn't even look at him. I realized I was in the wrong place."
Things got so bad, she says, "I wanted to go home."
Back in Winnipeg, Tronic is flourishing. She's living in a cute studio apartment around the corner from her favourite haunt, Cousins, and likes to paraphrase Amy Sedaris: "I'm still doing all the wrong things but I'm doing the wrong things the right way."
Tronic is also back in pictures, as the star of a short film directed by Guy Maddin, the award-winning director of My Winnipeg and The Saddest Music in the World. Maddin's new project, premiering next year at the Berlin Film Festival, is an homage to ‘60s camp filmmaker Jack Smith.
"I wrote the script," says Tronic, proudly. "It's the story of religious battles in an androgynous world, where everyone is trans-tabulous." The film is being shot this week in Gimli, Manitoba, with the help of Tronic's tranny friends.
At the end of the interview, Tronic lifts her shirt. The word 'bitch' is still tattooed in capital letters across her stomach, a reminder of her days as 'Satan Clayton'. She says she's learned a lot since then. "Don't judge people. Live with an open heart. And learn to love latex.”