Debutante Balls is a bitchin' title, especially for a solo show by a transgender performance artist about being white and queer in the South. Scott Turner Schofield was a middle-class girl in England, an upper-class high schooler in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is now a 25-year-old Atlanta man. Or is in the process of becoming a man. Gender, as they say in the women's studies classes that Schofield is frequently a guest speaker for, is a slippery thing. "Some people say that transitioning into a man isn't radical; that it's just going back into the binary concept of gender," Schofield said, sitting on a sun-soaked bench in the park. "I don't know. Most places I go, changing one's gender is pretty radical."

Identity politics, queer theory, whatever: I'm more interested in the debutante balls. "Debutante balls are a white Southern rite of passage," Schofield said, adding that there are more and more Yankee and African-American balls. "It's when women of a certain age announce themselves into society." Depending on one's social sphere, the parties happen at 15, 16, 18, or 21. The tradition peaked during the Victorian era, when top-shelf debs sailed across the Atlantic to come out in front of the Queen. (Sounds a little queer, doesn't it?) The balls are, I venture, sublimated sexuality rituals. The girls come out in white, wedding-ish dresses, tastefully display their opulence, invite eligible bachelors, and demonstrate their prowess as gracious hostesses. And they network: Guests include high-level judges and businessmen who own half the state. (Saudi royalty in New York City sponsor national balls, inviting the 50 most eligible debs to promenade in front of impossibly wealthy oil-baron bachelors.) "The whole thing is like homecoming on steroids," Schofield said. "And prom on acid." The Charlotte balls feature filet-mignon dinners and open bars. "And then the afterparties..." Schofield trailed off. Where the debs cut loose and the real shit comes out? "Yes."

Debutante Balls, at Hugo House this weekend, follows Schofield's multiple comings-out over the years Schofield attended friends' balls. At 16, Schofield came out as a lesbian. At 18, she came out as a radical feminist (and thought she'd inject radical critique of heteronormativity into deb-ball conversation which, predictably, makes for retrospective comedy). At 21, he came out as trans. He spent the evening telling his full transsexual story to a conservative, but surprisingly understanding, society woman. "We underestimate ourselves and each other," Schofield said. "You can walk into a situation saying 'Fuck you, I'm trans, you won't understand,' but people usually get it if you just tell them a story about yourself." He insists his show is not just for the trans-elite: "It's just a wacky story for everyone, no matter how ignorant you think you are."

Schofield's next piece, about her-cum-his trans journey, is titled Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps. "Always start with a great title," he said.