TQ Nation had the pleasure to interview the ‘Dirty King’ himself, Lucas Silveira of The Cliks. This Canadian-bred rocker has a voice that is known across the globe and a following that grows by the second.
If you haven’t already, I suggest you subscribe to The Cliks on their YouTube channel (Lucas has a few solo, acoustic covers you don’t want to miss), Fan them on Facebook, Friend them on Myspace and Follow them on Twitter. Of course, you also need to go directly to their website to catch the latest news, photos, videos and buy some sweet merch!
Personally, I have not yet had the chance to hear Lucas perform “live”, so my wife and I have been glued to his YouTube channel. We recently spent one evening in laughter after watching Lucas and his prior band-mates (Morgan and Jen) making videos aboard their bus during the “True Colors” tour with 80’s icon Cyndi Lauper. The tour also featured comedian Margaret Cho, who appears in The Cliks music video “Eyes in the Back of My Head”. After the tour’s conclusion, Lucas remained in touch with Brian Viglione of the Dresdon Dolls and now Viglione is the new drummer for The Cliks!
Lucas comes off as a really chill guy with quite a sense of humor … if he lived closer, I’m sure we’d go grab a drink and talk about everything from the serious to the sublime.
This past January, Lucas became the first Trans man voted “Sexiest Canadian Man” by ChartAttack.com in their end of the year reader’s poll (read full article). Deryck Whibley, Avril Lavigne’s ex, took the lead for a brief moment, but in the end lost to Silveira by over 1000 votes. “Oh Yeah!” We know who’s the sexiest!
TQ Nation had the opportunity to hit up Lucas with an exclusive interview. We asked 10 questions and received answers that were honest, deep and enlightening. Lucas tops our charts, not just musically, but also for his courage to be true to himself and transition in the public eye. Not to mention, he’s a TQ Nation citizen! Pure genius.
TQ: What do you believe has been your biggest role or accomplishment that has benefited the transgendered community?
LS: That’s a big question that I’ve never been asked before and truly, I have to be simplistic about this and just say being myself. I think when you are in a community that is so mainstream and people like me are usually excluded, being who you are, unapologetically and honestly, is a big step.
TQ: What is the craziest thing one of your fans has ever done to get your attention?
LS: Hmmm. Craziest? Not sure what the craziest is because my definition of crazy goes way beyond what I think most people may think as crazy. Perhaps the boldest has been right out asking me to have sex. But I’m not sure if that would be considered crazy. And there have been quite a few of those offers made. I also get people who try to touch my chest which I think is totally weird.
Once in LA, we were opening up for the Cult and a woman said she wanted to give me a hug and I of course said yes, and as she came in for the hug she planted her lips on mine. Hello! Boundaries people.
I’ve also had some unwanted ass grabbing. That’s way over the line and I don’t dig it.
My body. My space. Y’know what I mean?
TQ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
LS: Writing and recording music at a cottage in Muskoka, Ontario and only leaving when I have to tour.
TQ: Who is the one person that has played the most significant and positive role in your life? Why?
LS: That’s hard to answer because there have been a few but I have to say a person that sticks out is my Grandmother, my mother’s mother, who is no longer with us. She did something at the age of 80 that shocked me after my mother told her that I had decided to become vegetarian because of my love of animals. She, herself, decided that I, in her words, was “right”, and she stopped eating meat. Now, this is a little Portuguese lady who lived in a village of 600 people her entire life and probably left twice.
It showed me that no matter how old you are, what culture you come from, change is easier if you accept it as your personal truth.
I miss her dearly.
TQ: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far in life?
LS: Waking up and getting out of bed every morning and choosing life over death is by far my greatest achievement.
Most people take life for granted. I know I do at times as well and I know that this statement may be a heavy one to make to many people but when you’re a trans person who has to on a daily basis give yourself confirmation that who you are is not a mental illness, a betrayal of family, a betrayal of society or have to negotiate where you take a piss, then the struggle of just deciding to not give up is an achievement.
I used to wish I’d been born male. Now I have fully accepted that I was born a transgender male and I thank the stars that I have had such an amazing experience and that this experience have been the building blocks to the person I am today.
TQ: Being a face in the “limelight”, what types of privacy or safety concerns have you faced? How did you deal with them?
LS: I think the main concern I have had is that in being a trans person, I’ve had to go through my transition publicly. It’s been weird and difficult and liberating at the same time. The difficult part is particularly the issue of going through this and making my own decisions privately or coming to my own conclusions without having to be judged for them. People are watching my process and that’s really hard. I don’t feel like I’ve been allowed to go through the motions of dealing with my stuff privately. For example, the testosterone issue. My choices to do or not to do. It’s like being a teen pop idol growing into puberty and having to deal with everything that comes with it in the public eye and every choice I make is going to be scrutinized especially if I change my opinion on something or make a different choice for myself at some point.
I think I’ve also been put in this poster boy bubble, which at first scared the shit out of me. I’ve now come to accept that it’s just the nature of being the first of something. The pressure came off my shoulders when I decided that I didn’t have to be a perfect human being, that in fact it was my humanity that would bring about the normalcy of the situation.
Like anyone in a position similar to mine, there are people who at times have deluded ideas of how close they are to you. But again, I think that’s the nature of sharing something so personal like your music. In a way, they do know a part of you, but that part is mainly what I simply call a human connection. They feel they know you because something in a song I wrote moved them.
I am very forgiving of these exchanges as I find them endearing at times but to be honest, a few have been right down creepy. And when I say a few, I mean less than a handful.
Those are the ones that concern me. When someone approaches me as though they’re my close friends.
TQ: What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
LS: Know what you’re willing to give and what you’re willing to take. Understand that it’s a business and take care of your own. AND never, ever, ever trust someone who says “trust me”. Ask for every detail you are entitled to right from the get go, because if you don’t, you lose control of your life. And never take no for an answer. But mainly, just be nice to people. It’s so easy.
TQ: Recently, I found out that you have chosen not to take testosterone. What advice do you have to other NOHO (no hormone) trans guys who battle feeling “less trans, less man” than others who take “T”?
LS: To begin, I think the choice not do T is a very personal choice based on many different variables. No one is ever “less trans,less man” for doing so. That is such an ignorant way of thinking that it barely makes sense to even try to discuss how senseless it is. I am a believer that the binary gender system will soon be out the door and that there will be a movement that acknowledges the variables within gender identity. At least, that is my hope. Guys need to do what most makes sense to them and how they emotionally or physically want to deal with their own personal transition. It’s different for every single guy I know.
Secondly, because for no other reason I think it’s important on a forum like this, I will officially come out as saying that I have made a personal choice to go on T as of 6 months ago. I never made a choice not to go on T. I was under the illusion and had been fed the myth and due to lack of medical research and resources that as a singer, I would completely lose my ability to sing. That was about 5 years ago.
I made a discovery last year that this was indeed not true. Starting with an online discovery from my now pal on genderoutlaw.wordpress.com, I came to find a world of trans guys on T who sing. I contacted probably every single one of them and asked a million annoying questions and they were all more than willing to share their knowledge and experience with me.
From Joe Stevens of Coyote Grace to Geo Wyeth of Novice Theory (now known as Jive Grave) to a great kid on You Tube named Caleb Shcaffer. All amazingly courageous guys who took a shot in the dark with T and singing and have all been unbelievably successfull in their journey. I wish someone had contacted me and told me that what I was saying wasn’t true. It’s actually something I think about a lot, but I guess everything happens for a reason and that reason on this point to me is that there are so many myths out there concerning trans health because there is such a lack of research and support given to our community. People think transitioning has a set of guide lines and it doesn’t. It’s absolutely different for everyone.
As for the voice, so far so good and I see myself going into this with a lot on my shoulders but the need for me to transition physically was undeniably messing with my quality of life so this is the choice I personally had to make.
Does it make me feel more of a man now than then? No. But it does make me feel more in my body. But again, that’s a personal situation and not something every trans guy needs to identify with.
So again, in this situation I feel as a public figure I’m letting some guys down who have chosen not to do T for their own personal reasons. This is what I mean by the pressure. I don’t want to let anyone down but I also need to follow my own personal path.
TQ: TQ Nation is giving you a personal soap box – What do you want to say? (include your spout outs: vents, complaints, thanks or anything you want people to know)
LS: The main thing that I swear pisses me off is the lack of health care knowledge and support from the medical and mental health care community all over the world. It’s so sad to see trans people losing their minds over something as simple as getting a script for T or E. It makes me so angry because in my city, Toronto, we have an amazing facility called the Sherbourne Health Care Center that specializes in Trans health care and even though they don’t have all the hard facts, at least they are trying and it’s the beginning of what could be an example for other health care providers to mimic in their own practice.
TQ: What upcoming release/tour can your fans look forward to in the future?
LS: At this point, I’m just trying to get my head together around keeping a new band to go on tour. Due to a switch in band members and in management, it’s been a slow moving situation to get back on the road. Which to be honest, I’m ok with because I think I would have lost my mind had I started T while on the road. I needed this time and the universe allowed for it and I’m very happy about it.
We should hit the road this summer and hoping to get another release out later this year.
TQ: Lucas, THANK YOU so much for taking time from your busy schedule to do this interview. I know all of your fans anticipate what the future holds. All I have left to say is … “Oh Yeah!”
Written by TQ Nation President, Tristan Skye
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