During an appearance on the It Happened in Hollywood podcast, John Cameron Mitchell talked about Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Mitchell said that he “wasn't seeing” his world in the New York theater scene at the time he conceived Hedwig.

“AIDS was reaching a frenzied peak in the mid-1990s. I just wasn't seeing the things that moved me onstage,” he said.

He collaborated with rock musician Stephen Trask, workshopping Hedwig at Squeezebox from 1994 until it finally opened off-Broadway in 1996.

Hedwig was based on a babysitter for Mitchell's brother “who was also a prostitute,” Mitchell said.

In the musical, which became a cult film in 2001 starring Mitchell in the title role, Hedwig is forced to undergo a botched castration as a teen.

Mitchell said that Hedwig was not a transgender story because Hedwig was “coerced into a mutilation.”

“He was a boy who was quite comfortable in his gender and was coerced into a mutilation, really, by a boyfriend, mother and really the patriarchy, if you think about it,” Mitchell said. “[Coerced by] the binarchy that says you have to be one or the other for certain things to happen, for you to get married and so on.”

“But it's not really a trans story. There's all kinds of gender fluidity and exploration. But to be trans you have to want to be. You choose to be,” he added.