The L Word’s Daniela Sea on Being the New Hot L Girl
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How about yourself? How do you see yourself on the genderqueer spectrum? How do you identify?
Well, I guess it depends on who I’m around, because I think that also makes a difference politically. Politically, I like to identify as a woman because I think it’s really important to show that there’s all different kinds of women. But then another side of me says: definitely genderqueer. I see gender as pretty fluid and it’s hard to nail down one side of yourself. I’ve always been a tomboy. I guess I just tell people I’m a tomboy because that’s the first thing that anybody teased me for when I was like 6. … It means I can be sporty and run around and do what I want to do and be outspoken and —
I think that this is one of those things that we see a lot in the queer community or in the lesbian community specifically, that some people will interpret that as “that’s a lesbian experience,” and some people will interpret that as, “that’s a typical trans experience.”
Yeah, and to be honest, I can relate with both. I’m not sure what differentiates me from all my friends who … deal with it in physical ways, you know, get surgery or taking T or using a male pronoun or something. I think really it’s the stubborn, hippie, political side of me that says I’m going to keep what I was given and make space for that as it is.
I don’t totally relate to everything I’ve read and all the research and all my friends who I’ve known for years who are now choosing that.
I didn’t know I was a girl until people started saying I was [and started] treating me that way when I was 13. I just figured I was a boy, you know?
That’s interesting how that’s changing, like I feel like trans is the new butch in our lesbian community.
Sometimes I feel like that, and sometimes I don’t. Wow, now we can finally liberate ourselves and people can be what they’ve always wanted to be, you know?
I think there’s certainly a growing visibility of people within the genderqueer and FTM spectrum. How do you think that will change the lesbian community?
I don’t know. I’m definitely sitting on the edge of my seat … I’m definitely keeping a discerning eye on that, ’cause I mean I have to keep positive and think, OK, this is another development, this is another way that we are learning to take up room and express ourselves, whether or not I personally have other feelings about it.
Sometimes I’m uncertain and I get scared because we do live in a very strong patriarchal system and I just don’t — I just want people to be able to make choices from their free will, and I always wonder what choices we are making from free will and if we can make any [at all], because we are in the system so strongly. [There are many] different ways we need to defend ourselves and our identity [to] be seen how we want to be seen. I mean, in a perfect world, I could walk around with out my shirt on. Just today I was running on the beach and then I went for a swim and I was like why do I have to wear this top? Like half the time I’ll take it off but then I’ll be scared. I don’t know if I’m scared, but I just don’t want to deal with some dude —
Like violence or something, yeah.
Yeah. … I don’t understand that but it’s the world we live in, so sometimes I could see wanting to do something about it.
I think if you’ve lived your whole life as a woman, you know when you’re not supposed to be exposed or that there are dangers in being exposed.
I’m a hard-core feminist also, and I feel our ancestor women behind us and I don’t want us to be invisible, but I don’t really think that’s going to happen, you know? I think it’s just a fear, I think we’re just gonna be all different kinds of people unified, that’s what I hope.
That’s the best case scenario.
Yeah, best case scenario. I’m trying not to give in to the worry.
So, how does it feel now to be only the second L Word cast member to be openly gay?
It feels fine. I never questioned doing it any other way. I’ve been out since I knew. I’ve been telling everybody and I think there’s something really powerful in that actually — I don’t think it ghettoizes me, particularly.
You were really visible this summer. I know you were in the San Francisco Pride parade, riding with Ilene, and —
That was fun, yeah.
Do experiences like that change how you look at the queer community?
No, not really. It was cool … to be riding and seeing all these faces looking at me and getting to see glimpses of all different kinds of people who came to the parade — people with their kids, older, younger, all different ethnicities, you know how the Bay area is lucky in that way. … I feel so strong and so part of [the gay community] since I was little, even before I knew I was gay. It’s just part of my everyday life.
So, tell me what made you fall in love with Bitch.
Ha! Well … I’d been living in Europe for a lot of years, so I didn’t know about her and I’d never heard her work or anything, which is crazy because … we have common friends. But I’d just been, you know, not really living under a rock, but just living in another whole reality.
A different world, right.
Yeah. And so I’d been in L.A. for about six months taking care of my cousin who had cancer. I’d been living in India, and then I got this e-mail from her, and so I came back. I hadn’t been back to the U.S. for two years. … And then she went into remission and she’s like, “I’m ready to take my life back,” so I’m [thinking that I’m] going to go back to Europe, but I thought I’d stop through the Bay area, where a lot of my chosen family lives, for a month or so.
When I went there, my friend Sini Anderson was putting on this cool intergenerational series where an older and a younger band of each genre would be playing in the same night. So Sini was like, will you come every night? So I came almost every night and I kept seeing this woman, and Ithere was just something about her. And I could see that she kept seeing me; we kept catching each other’s eyes and we had some different little funny exchanges, but when we finally hooked up … it was just like — I don’t know if I can explain it, but I know you probably know. It was just … like so meant to be, and it still feels like that. It’s been three and a half years, and it still feels just like we have so much to share. We’re actually really creative together; we’re a really good collaborative team with writing and music. We played on Q Television last night; we did this funny last-minute thing where I did some back up harmony with her.
So, its not hard being in love with a performer?
’Cause you guys gel on that creative spirit together?
Exactly. And that traveler spirit. I went on the road pretty soon after with her and Animal, and … we went to Bulgaria to visit some old friends of mine, and we like to travel and cook over the fire and whatever; we’re kind of ’50s in a way.
Does she get to come to Vancouver while you’re filming?
She was there for some of it. She was working on her new record for a lot of it, in New York, so she’d come back and forth. She was definitely there with me for a good part of it, and we had a great summer there. I love Vancouver.
Do you feel like she’s changed your life?
Definitely, definitely. I feel like vice versa, both ways, we’ve definitely helped each other change. In fact, that was one of the first promises we ever made to each other — that we were going to allow each other to change, and the people we knew now might not be who we would be with some years later, but … just to leave it open for change. And that’s made a big difference because we are both really different from when we met, but we’re both really just fulfilling our dreams and helping each other with that.
She helps me all the time, and she’s a great actor also. … She studied acting and stuff; she’s been performing for so long. I always have her to ask questions.
Oh, that’s great.
Do you have pet names for each other?
That you can tell me?
Let me think if I could.
She calls me Little Prince, but so do some other people; that’s my fairy name.
She calls me Little Prince and I call her B. I guess that’s not so exciting. There’s other ones I wouldn’t tell you, but commonly I call her B.
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