Category Archives: Entertainment

REWARDS WHERE DUE

Sabrina Pandora

So here of late transwomen have taken a bit of a beating in the news, it seems.  There was the SNL “Estro-Maxx” skit which featured bearded guys in dresses mocking the hormone treatment of transsexuals.  Hey, lookie there, what a surprise, here we are again- the punchline of a joke.  Ha ha,  Look at the funny bearded men in dresses growing breasts.  They aren’t making much of an effort, just growing boobs and wearing dresses, and it’s funny because that’s what MtF transsexuals are, see?.  It am funny, am it not?

Yeah.  Belittling the struggle of transsexuals is super funny, so long as you view them as something other than, yannow, human.  I know.  We’re oversensitive and need to grow a sense of humor.  Here, have a laugh on me.

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/estro-maxx/1279560/

Again, I have to point out… if it was a commercial about taking a drug to make black people become more white, would it still be funny?  Watching them wearing hip hop clothes with perhaps some awful plaid Bermuda shorts and white knee socks?

So then we move on to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  Craig loves the gays.  Craig is sensitive to the gays and their plight.  So that’s why we get his “half-sister” played by a bearded hairy man in a skirt named “Peg”.  We get jokes about his naughty bits being on display while he sits there in a skirt with his legs open, he gets called a “he-she”, and it’s all oh so funny, isn’t it?  So long as being a transsexual is a joke, then you betcha.  It’s freaking hilarious.  Here, look for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1J1TDKptQs

Oh yeah, that was a barrel of laughs right there.  But is it really a serious problem?  To answer this, I think that Meghan Stabler, a member of the board of directors of the HRC of all places managed to sum it up best.

“We should all be shocked and appalled with what was coming out in the
current narrative of comedy. The lives of gay and lesbian people are
being woven into the fabric of TV shows such as GLEE and Modern
Family. Even though we have a long way to go before full rights are
afforded to us, we can still be shown as equals to our peers. Comedy’s
ability to mock that part of our community has significantly lessened,
but has it done so at the risk of emphasizing the focus on the
transgender community?

I think it has, and it needs to stop.

To many of us who have journeyed along the deeply emotional and
stressful path to transition our gender, the parody and acting
portraits were utterly offensive. Hidden behind and along that journey
is significant stress, deep emotion, extreme risk and even worse —
suicide or homicide.

To live our lives authentically takes deep courage mirrored with the
real fears and deep-rooted societal prejudices that all too often
manifest themselves as workplace bigotry, un- and under-employment,
loss of family and friends, and most unfortunately, harassment and
homicides.

Some will likely argue that the portrayal was humorous, a joke, but in
true comedy there is always a punchline. Unfortunately for this one,
and for us, there was no punchline, unless you regard transition as a
joke and therefore transgender people as a human punchline. In doing
so, the comic must also understand that in conveying it as humorous
comes the risk that sometimes transgender people will be the punching
bag.”

But then we get to the Living Social Super Bowl commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33jb2Ns7yaQ

Now, at first, I wanted to sigh and call it yet another cheap shot at our expense.

But then I started looking at it and considering it.

The big burly lumberjack starts getting great deals.  They open his horizons.  He moves fluidly from one experience to the next, exploring life and tasting the sweetness of it until finally we see him as a transwoman, elegant, well-dressed, hair done up nicely, makeup just right for the occasion.  She appears to be happy, confident and in control of her life.  She comments that Living Social helped her blossom, and changed her life.  And it could change yours too.

There is no mean, harsh jab here.  There is no belittlement, no human punchline.  There is no lack of a joke if you are trans.  Only a montage of the journey of one man to discover all that life has to offer and exploring what he wants from it and who he wants to be… and eventually finding herself.  It is a transwoman being shown with dignity… yes, with some humor, but it is still better treatment of the condition than I think I’ve seen in a very long time.

We are quick to come to the forefront and say when we are angry.  When we see oppression, we jump to the defense, because people need to understand that it is wrong, and that we will not sit quietly and be mocked.  We are human beings and deserve respect.  Yes, we are quick to fight, because it is still so much a part of who we are, and who we must be in a world where we have so few rights and we are fifth class citizens.

But let us not be so confrontational as to forget to take the time to thank those who see that struggle and turn a kind and even eye to it for us.  To those who might show us in a kinder and nobler light.  To those who may see us not as a joke, but instead as brave and courageous explorers of the human experience.  When someone takes the time to show us in such a light, let us take that same time that we would to vociferously defend ourselves, and instead thank those who see us as people.

So thank you, Living Social.  Thank you for painting us in a positive light.  Thank you for not making us a punchline in an unfunny joke.

Thank you for seeing and portraying us as human beings.

Written by TQ Nation Contributor:
Sabrina Pandora

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Comics are NICE, but TRANS Comics are even BETTER!

TQ Citizen, Sam from New Zealand, has launched a fun and creative blog called “Rooster Tails” that depicts comics of he and his partner’s transition from female to male.

We love comics, so we teamed up with Sam and will post some of his comics every now and again on our *Shimmer, Shimmer* blog!

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Chaz Bono Interviewed by Tristan Skye of TQ Nation

Original (non-edited) article:
This year, people from across the globe traveled to Atlanta, GA for the Southern Comfort Conference (SCC), which focuses on the Transgender community.

As stated on their website, www.sccatl.org:
“Whatever your connection to the Transgender community – whether you are transsexual, a cross dresser or in between; a spouse, a partner or a family member; straight, gay, bi or omni-sexual; post-op, pre-op or non-op; young or old; married or single; FtM or MtF – if Transgender is an issue in your life, you are welcome!”

SCC celebrated their 20th anniversary this year with the theme “Party Hearty” and it took place at the Crown Plaza Ravinia Hotel September 6th – 12th. The efforts of all who helped with the planning of this conference paid off as it proved to be a very successful event. Special thanks extended to Blake Alford (President of Board of Directors) and Alexis Dee (2010 SCC Conference Chair).

The conference consists of daily informational seminars covering everything from renowned surgeons discussing their procedures to open discussions of a variety of topics pertaining to Transgender life. The seminars focus more on individual needs and the topics are more defined focusing in on either MTF, FTM, Intersexed or SOFFA’s, with some being all-inclusive.

On Thursday of SCC, a TransHealth Fair was provided which included many low-cost services and multiple free options, including HIV/STD testing and Flu shots. The Feminist Women’s Health Center hosted this event. We appreciate their support in helping to provide a bridge to close the gap with TransHealth issues.

Apart from the gourmet dining in the ballroom, scheduled events from morning until evening allowed everyone to meet and socialize. Some popular events included karaoke in the hotel lounge, casino night, Miss Kitty Meow’s pool party and the SCC formal dance, just to name a few. A shuttle was also available to take adventurers shopping at Perimeter Mall and on Saturday evening, many traveled to the New Le Buzz in Marietta where everyone felt very welcome and included.

A marketplace was setup in one part of the hotel that included vendors selling jewelry, hair essentials, clothing and accessories. There were also many make-up artists on site, including Atlanta’s own Bianca Nicole, the Goddess of Seduction. Other booths, including TQ Nation, Lambda Legal, YouthPride and others were spread out outside of the marketplace and lobby area.

One of the main highlights this year included the appearance of Trans-celebrity and advocate of sorts, Chaz Bono, who also participated in many of the events and even hosted one seminar on Media Activism Training with GLAAD Media Awards Communications Manager, Nick Adams.

Chaz mingled with the crowd each day and was very gracious with socializing. He even stood with a smile for non-stop photo-ops with those attending SCC. A documentary film crew followed him pretty much everywhere, yet I was able to set aside a time for him to speak to me exclusively for the readers of The GA Voice.

Tristan Skye: You have been an advocate for the Gay and Lesbian community for many years and now the Transgender community. What are the main goals you are trying to reach and is there a certain topic that is your main focus and priority?

Chaz Bono: In truth, I haven’t thought that much about that yet. I have been really focused on getting these projects [upcoming book, film and documentary] out and done. I also didn’t know anything about the Trans community. In the years that it took to get here that I knew I was Trans, but didn’t have the courage to transition, I really stayed away from the Trans community on purpose. I was afraid of the story getting out before I was ready for it. I have just been taking time and stepping back and seeing what the community’s needs are. With that said, one thing that immediately comes to mind is ENDA. That’s what got me involved in politics to begin with way back in 1995. That is something I have always wanted to see passed, I still want to see passed, but want to see passed with transgender people included. The only other stuff I’ve gotten really into is really young trans people. And one of the things I’m pretty interested in, especially for the kids and it’s not going to happen overnight, but seeing surgical requirements taken out of what you need to do to change your name and gender legally.

Tristan Skye: Yes, I think that’s great. I personally feel the Transgender community has looked for a type of spokesperson, a hero of sorts that can represent us in a very positive light and receive International attention and recognition. Now that you have come out as a Transgender advocate into the public eye, portraying and reflecting us in such a positive way, how do you feel about being seen as that hero for the Transgender community and being that person that can really help take us to where we need to be?

Chaz Bono: Okay, it’s a little complicated. First of all, on the one hand I’m very pragmatic and you know I do know the importance of having someone that is a public figure out there. It really does make a difference and I’m really happy to do it. Personally, in my personal life, I do not feel like a celebrity, especially growing up with huge celebrities. I’ve always tried to walk a tight rope between being public enough to do some good and private enough to have a life and just feel normal. Personally, my goal was never to be really famous – I kind of got born into this thing – I’ve had to make the best of it. I’ve seen, especially within the Gay and Lesbian community we see really clearly what having different people come out does and so I do hope for the Trans community I can do that. I hope that me coming out about this and transitioning publically will help people who haven’t found the courage to transition yet most of all. There are some great people who speak for us in the community and most of them are ladies, so it’s nice to have Jamison Green who is just amazing, and it’s nice to be another guy out there a little bit younger for all the guys out there and especially the up and coming guys.

Tristan Skye: That’s very true. I noticed in your seminar with Nick Adams, GLAAD Media Awards Communications Manager, that there was one question that was asked, “who first heard the word Transgender or first saw someone Transgender from the media?” and I noticed that even you raised your hand. I wondered if you wouldn’t mind telling me who was the first Transgender person you can recall that you saw in the media?

Chaz Bono: I think I’m sure the first Transgender person that I heard of was either Christine Jorgensen or Renee Richards when I was really young and didn’t really think about it. But, for me I’ve kind of tracked down when I started to realize I was Trans and it was about a year after “Boys Don’t Cry” came out. Though I didn’t have like an “Ah-Ha!” moment, I think that really did have an effect and really soak into my subconscious and I don’t think it was an accident that happened. It also seemed around that time, and maybe a little bit before and definitely after, there seemed to be all this news coming from San Francisco about all these guys transitioning and that was definitely being reported atleast in the gay media. You know, where are all the butches going…all the butches are becoming guys and stuff, so that is around the time, around 2000, I think when I started to figure out what was going on with me. To me, it’s definitely the media…I don’t think there is a stronger advocate tool than the medi. I really understood that working with GLAAD and I still believe that is where you get the most done is in the court of public opinion and that’s through the media.
Overall, this event ended with great success as it provided a place for those to be themselves, especially for those who traveled from areas where they feel they still must hide their true expression of gender. It was a moment in time where the “T” in LGBTQQIA was not silent, where the Transgender community could feel like the majority, not the minority. It is such an impactful conference, that once it ends, you can’t wait for it to begin again. Until next year, my brothers and sisters, be safe and keep advocating.

Written by Tristan “Shimmer” Skye
http://www.transqueernation.com President and Co-Founder
“Best Transgender Rights Activist” – Southern Voice (2009), The GA Voice (2010)

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TQ Nation Exclusive VIDEO Interview: Mark Angelo Cummings

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TQ Review: Ian Harvie & Margaret Cho at Laughing Skull Lounge

This past weekend, TQ Nation found themselves on the guest list to attend two nights of outrageous comedy at the notorious Laughing Skull Lounge in Atlanta, GA.

Headlining the show is one of our favorite comedians, Ian Harvie, who also happens to be an openly transgender FTM.

The comedy acts of the weekend had us in stitches. Side-splitting stitches, that is.

Saturday night, our comedic host for the evening was local-favorite Trey Toler followed by the hilarious David Stone.

After our intense anticipation, Ian took the stage and we roared with applause. We just happened to be sitting so close we could tug on his pant leg (which was very tempting to do).

Interestingly enough, many patrons that attended did NOT know Ian was transgender and when this part of his act came up and you heard him tell the audience he was “born a girl” … there was that moment of “HUH?” and silence which Ian quickly had a joke for and the room again filled with laughter, but now with some faint whispers which I’m sure included questions of what was between his legs. As Ian stated, “This is the part where everyone’s eyes look down around this area,” as he pointed just below his waist.

To me, I was truly proud to see a brother on stage doing his thing while also educating. This might be the first time many of those people ever came face-to-face with a transgender person (that they knew of) and this allowed them to sit back, learn a bit to take home with them and laugh their asses off all at the same time. It’s a way to educate people in a non-threatening environment. Ian is making comedic history and is an icon for our alphabet soup community.

There was a certain point that I laughed so hard I almost fell off my chair. This was the point where Ian was discussing the men’s bathroom and it rang so personally true that it was nice to not feel alone and hear someone else say my own thoughts out loud. There, I was able to laugh at my own fears and triumph over them. I then knew I wasn’t the only one that ever wondered…”does my pee sound different?”

After the show on Saturday night, they all headed to a wrap party for Margaret Cho and invited us back Sunday night to also see her. Of course, how could we say “no” to that?

Sunday rolled around and as we walked into the lounge, we saw Trey and he invited us backstage to hang out with Ian, Margaret and the other comedians of the night. As we sat back there with comedic celebrities, we couldn’t feel more at home. They were such a down-to-earth, wonderful group of people. Margaret was laid back and engaged us all in a conversation about Atlanta’s longest running strip club, Clermont Lounge, where we all told our own stories of the place I noted as “where strippers go to die.”

The lights dimmed and we took our seats right in front of the stage. This time around the head guy at Laughing Skull, Marshall Chiles, took the stage and the laughter soon followed. Trey Toler was next followed by another comedian, Ryan, and then out came my wife’s ultimate fave, Margaret Cho.

Personally, I “almost” got to see her years ago at a local bar called Burkhart’s, but the crowd was a sea of people and I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of her. Now, here I was in arm’s reach of the lady that has put the world to tears from laughter, none other but THE CHO.

Needless to say, she took the stage by storm and was the ultimate opener for our man, Ian Harvie who nailed it yet again on our second night of seeing him. What a BONUS for us!

If you would like to find out more about Ian Harvie check out the EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW we did with this handsome man this past March. If you’ve never seen him live on stage, you have to do so before you kick the bucket. Add it to your list.

This was one of the best and most memorable weekends of my life and I know my wife will have her photo of Margaret Cho enlarged and proudly hung within the next few days, next to the one of the four of us (pictured above).

Written by TQ Nation Prez:

Tristan “SHIMMER” Skye

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TQ Nation EXCLUSIVE Interview: Jamison Green

TQ Nation recently had the honor to recognize a man who helped plant the tree we sit underneath today. To me, he is someone beyond a “celebrity”, he is a man who has fought the battles for many years to help bring change to the transgender community. I believe the mere words “thank you” are not enough to mark the legacy he lives.

Jamison Green, most-notably acclaimed for his book Becoming a Visible Man (2004), won the 2004 Sylvia Rivera Award for Best Book in Transgender Studies from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. It was also a finalist for a 2004 Lambda Literary Award. One of the most quotable passages of his novel states, “there is no right way to be trans.”

Not only is Jamison Green a writer, he is also an inspirational educator for transgender health, civil rights, social safety, dignity and respect.

Born in Oakland, California in 1948, Green began his female-to-male (FTM) transition in 1988 while employed with Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since then, he has paved the way in the Transgender Rights Movement for decades as he led FTM International, Inc. (March 1991 to August 1999) and currently serves on the board of directors for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, among other nonprofit educational organizations.

He authored a ‘transformational’ document in 1994 entitled “Report on Discrimination Against Transgendered People” for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. This served as the foundation for not only the protective legislation in the City and County of San Fran, but also the agenda for the contemporary trans movement.

Green was the first transman named “our best and brightest activists” in 1999 by The Advocate magazine and was also the first transsexual to be awarded the Distinguished Service Award (May 2009) from the Association of Gay & Lesbian Psychiatrists for his numerous contributions to LGBT mental health.

Green has educated across the globe, authored a monthly column for PlanetOut.com and has been in a dozen or more documentary films, including the award-winning “You Don’t Know Dick: Courageous Hearts of Transsexual Men” (1996).

Personally, it’s difficult to put into words the greatness of this one man. His solo achievements are so many that you could easily spread them out to ten to twenty others and they would still be looked on as “above average”.

It is people like Jamison Green that deserve honor and recognition. For us, they are true heroes. They fight battles and win wars that help us be where we are today. Their victories enable us to stand tall and be proud. They have been our champions and our mentors for us to carry out their legacy for our future generations.

This interview you are about to read is not just about anyone, it’s about a man that helped re-sculpt our world and make it a brighter place. He stands for the epitome of everything I hold true and dear to my heart and soul.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

TQ: What do you believe has been your biggest role or accomplishment that has benefited the transgendered community?

JG: I’ve been really fortunate to have a long list of accomplishments, but I think the most important thing I’ve done that has had long-term impact was leading FTM International in the way that did in the early and mid-1990s.  I encouraged trans people to be visible in a way that had never been done before; I encouraged trans men, in particular, to become politically active and to build coalitions with trans women;  I encouraged trans men to hold the first FTM-focused conference in the U.S. (and to share the power of doing that kind of community building with groups in other cities; and I took the organization into the arena of politics by using it as a platform to influence legislative changes in San Francisco and in California, which are still having impact around the world.  I tried to be conscientious of the needs of others, to encourage others to actualize their goals and dreams, and to be responsive to people in an ethic of service to community.  I also cultivated high standards of accuracy, honesty, reliability, and inclusiveness.  I think that effort, even though most of it was unseen by others, has had the most far-reaching beneficial effect for the trans communit(ies).

TQ: What is the most triumphant thing you would like to see happen in your lifetime within our community?

JG: When I think of the word ‘triumphant’ with respect to our community, I think of a moment in which as many trans people as humanly possible (nearly) simultaneously feel the power of affirmation, relief, and joy all at once.  What could cause that in my lifetime?  I think it would have to be the election of a trans person to an important position of leadership – like Congress, or the presidency, or as an influential leader in another major country – and our collective realization that any dehumanizing ridicule that followed was being viewed as a completely fringe reaction.  That would be pretty triumphant, I think.

TQ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

JG: In 10 years I will be 71 years old, but I want to still be able to backpack in the Sierra.  I would still like to be writing and speaking, maybe doing less but making more money than I do now (I hope!).  I’d like to be able to take a vacation now and then (so would my wife!).  And I’d like to be associated with a world-class research and education institution or organization, tapped into the engines of social change, so I can continue to make a creative contribution to both the intellectual and the practical world.

TQ: Who is the one person that has played the most significant and positive role in your life? Why?

JG: I think I would have to say my father.  He taught me a lot about how to relate to the world, he taught me how to develop my values, and he taught me how to learn from my mistakes.  He was a real gentleman; he knew how to appreciate his surroundings, he was modest, he knew how to laugh, and he was kind.  People loved him.  My mother loved him, and he loved her.  And even though he and I didn’t always agree about things—and sometimes we fought furiously!—I always knew I could rely on him, and he appreciated my independent spirit.

TQ: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far in life?

JG: I once dreamed of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Nobel Peace Prize.  I had planned to win at least one of those by the time I was 25.  When I hit 25 and realized I was very far from ever achieving those honors, I realized I needed to change my expectations.

Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that, for all the political, altruistic, and progressive work I’ve done, and for all the energy I’ve applied to creating change in the world, and all the awards I’ve been given, I believe my greatest achievement so far in life has been raising my two children to be good people.  My daughter is 25, and my son will be 21 this month.  I love them so much, and I am so proud of them.

I feel like the thing that makes human existence important is love; and parental love has a unique possibility to be truly unconditional.  To see the effects of one’s love manifested in the world by beings that are separate from you, whose imaginations and capacities and accomplishments may far exceed your own, and to know that what you have done with your love is good, is utterly humbling.  And though it is not the kind of achievement for which I will ever receive an award or a prize, I feel my children’s goodness is the most human –and therefore greatest—achievement of my life.

TQ: Being a face in the “limelight”, what types of privacy or safety concerns have you faced? How did you deal with them?

JG: I used to worry about privacy and safety a lot more than I do now.  There have been times when I’ve gone places to speak where I’ve wished I had a body-guard, and once when I brought a good friend who was an off-duty police officer who I knew could watch my back effectively.  But I’ve learned that unless we are breaking the law, or being deliberately antagonistic or obnoxious, we (as trans people) usually don’t attract as much public attention as we might imagine we do.  I try to relax and not to take up too much space in the world.  I just try to do what’s right and what’s good, be considerate of others, and otherwise I mind my own business, and encourage others to do the same.  That policy has kept me pretty much out of trouble.  I realize things are different for some trans women, and I’m mindful of those discrepancies.  I also want to say that I know how it feels to be taunted, publicly ridiculed, punched and beaten because you are trans – it’s just that for me those things happened before I transitioned instead of during or after my transition.  And that, to me, is indicative of the sexism in our society.  I don’t want people to misinterpret my current ability to be relaxed in public as the simple result of male privilege conferred by testosterone.  My experience in public is much more nuanced than that, and my awareness of trans issues much more complex than that.  It’s also true—now—that my age has an effect on how I’m perceived and noticed or not noticed depending on the context in which I find myself.

I do get recognized in public sometimes, but it’s usually by people who want to say “thank you.”  I’ve never been approached by anyone negative.  The only ‘death threat’ I ever received was from another trans man who I think was having a bad day.  I’ve received email from a few fundamentalist ministers who want me to “stop trying to destroy gender,” and I either ignore it or if I feel up to engaging with them I’ll tell them that’s not what I’m about and I encourage them to read my book.  I never heard from them again.  But I’ve been on an airplane with several people reading copies of a newspaper with a life-size photo of my face on the front page, and no one recognized me or said anything to me, not even the flight attendants.

TQ: What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

JG: Don’t expect to get rich doing this work, but if you truly care for people you can be richly rewarded in the form of connections and opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.  Show up, care about others, and have integrity.  That’s what I’ve tried to do.

TQ: What inspired you to write the book “Becoming a Visible Man”?

JG: Many people inspired me to write the book because so many people seemed to be touched by the passion with which I spoke (years ago) about the dignity of trans lives, and the struggles that trans people endured to find their individual balance and get their needs met in the face of complete rejection.  I think there are many people now who have no clue what it was like before the internet to get reliable information about transition.  And there were just a handful of books available that had any specific information for trans people who were male-identified.  I knew I could reach more people with the book than I could reach one-on-one, and a book has a kind of intimacy that allows people to take in information gradually and really absorb it.  I was really happy that Vanderbilt University Press was interested in publishing it, because university presses keep their books in print much longer than commercial publishers, and I knew it would take a while for people to find the book (because reviewers don’t pay much attention to trans topics), but the book would hold up over time.   I’m proud of the book, and I think it will continue to serve the community for a long time to come (even though some of the information in it will become anachronistic) because it provides a historical context for what have become our community’s foundational issues and goals.  And it’s personal enough to be engaging on an emotional level, too.  I hope someday it will be called a ‘classic.’

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)

JG: I want to really thank all the people who were there for me in the beginning of my transition;  I want to thank all those who helped build FTM International in the 90s, and those who took it on after I left.

I want to encourage trans people to cultivate patience – strategic patience.  That doesn’t mean we can’t be passionate, or angry, or sad, or anything else at any given moment.  But what we are asking the world to do in response to us is a huge change, and it will not some quickly or easily.  We’ve made amazing progress in the last 20 years, and that’s been done on the shoulders of some very brave and determined people who have not yet been given the recognition and honor they deserve.

Most of all, I want to express my real love and appreciation for my wife, Heidi, who married me in 2003, and who has been an incredible partner in my work.  She has done so much to support and care for me, to collaborate with me, and to help me think things through.  She also stepped up in an amazing way when the mother of my children passed away two years ago, and helped me and my children deal with all the emotions and practical details of adjusting to the resulting changes in our lives.  Plus, she’s beautiful, smart, sexy, and she has a fabulous sense of humor.  I got so lucky when I met her.  And I want to encourage trans people everywhere who have partners to express your appreciation and love for them.  Don’t let a day go by without doing something that tells them you love them and you value them.

TQ: What upcoming events/writings/documentary films can your fans look forward to in the future?

JG: Right now, I’m finishing a dissertation for a PhD in Law – it’s about the Kantaras Case (a 2002 Florida divorce and child custody case in which a trans man was adjudicated male in the trial court, and then had his maleness taken away by the Court of Appeal).  Ultimately, I’d like to take some of the work I’ve done for that project and tell more of the story of that case in a way that could interest a wide readership.   So that may be a book.  That’ll be a while, though.

I’ll be at a bunch of conferences in the fall of 2010 – mostly professionally-oriented, and I hope to be back on the speaking circuit in 2011.  I think I’ll be keynoting First Event in New England in January 2011, as a starter.  Maybe I’ll have time to update my “upcoming events” listings on my web site before the end of this year!

First I have a book coming out in 2011, probably late summer or early fall, entitled “The FTM Guide to Sexual Health.”  I’m working on that now, but will be focused more on it as soon as the dissertation is done.

I’m also working with the University of California, San Francisco Medical School to develop primary care protocols for physicians treating trans people, and educational programs for physicians to go along with that – this is a great opportunity to improve trans people’s experience and capacity to access primary health care.  It won’t be too visible to the general public, but I hope people will ultimately experience its effects.  You can see some of the great work going on at UCSF at http://www.transhealth.ucsf.edu.  Another similar project I have in the works is leveraging the wins we’ve had in getting employers to negotiate with their health insurance carriers to offer trans-inclusive healthcare plans.  That’s a long, slow process with lots of angles and complications, but it’s something that I believe is important.  My colleague, André Wilson, is doing a lot the leg-work on that project, and he deserves a lot of credit for helping move this issue forward, based on my conviction (proven correct in our win in 2000 for City and County of San Francisco Employees) that the benefit doesn’t have high costs, and that exclusions are based on long-standing prejudice and ignorance.

I’m also working with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, developing position statements that I think the Board of Directors needs to take that will encourage other global institutions to take our health, safety, and civil rights more seriously.  I’m a member of the WPATH Board of Directors (first trans person elected to the Board who was not a medical professional or a lawyer), and I’ll be termed out in the fall of 2011 (after 8 years of service).  I have to decide next year if I want to run for president of the Association, or take a break!

I’m also working with a team of grad students from several universities to analyze the data I collected last year in two surveys on sexual behaviors and sexual health – one survey for trans men, and one for partners of trans men.  There’s enough data for three or four journal papers, and I expect these will be papers that energize the field of sexuality research.

There’s a possibility I may do a second edition (a completely new text) of “Becoming a Visible Man” because my publisher has expressed an interest in that.  That wouldn’t be out before 2012.

I don’t have any film projects in the works.  I’ve never originated any of those; people have always come to me.  I’d love to do more creative work with film and with writing and photography.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to feel like the practical work I’ve seen as needing to be done has played out, and I can get back to being the artist I wanted to be when I was young (or an older version of that artist).  But I sure can’t say I regret doing the practical work I’ve done!  It’s been an honor to be of service to trans people everywhere.  We may not have seen our triumph yet, but together we have already changed the world.

Written by TQ Nation President & Co-Founder,

TRISTAN SKYE

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TQ Nation EXCLUSIVE Interview: Amos Mac

Amos Mac (Photo Credit: Austin Young)

TQ Nation had the marvelous chance to interview the infamous photographer and co-creator/ editor-in-chief of Original Plumbing Magazine, Amos Mac.

Amos Mac is a world renown trans artist who documents a realistic view of the queer community through his camera.  He has been featured in publications like the annual documentary photo book “Cutter”, BUTT magazine, McSweeney’s, Maximum Rock N Roll and in every issue of Original Plumbing.

Original Plumbing is a quartley publication that documents the society of trans males through photography and was inspired by Amos Mac’s vision.  A vision that became his full time reality in June 2009 and hit the stands later that year to become the first ever “magazine dedicated to the culture and sexuality of FTM Transsexuals.”

Amos Mac’s revolutionary vision is unique. Why?  First, it is a dual creation between the great minds of Amos and his co-conspirer Rocco “Katastrophe” Kayiatos, which has combined the forces of two extremely talented and artistic transmen in depicting a very real look into their community that, up until now, has remained hidden.  Most importantly, Original Plumbing is a very intimate and behind the scenes illustration into the lives of female-to-male transsexuals, which has opened the eyes of the world, and for many FtM’s has helped eliminate their feelings of isolation and awkwardness in their own skin.

Fascinated?  Interested in finding out what all the fuss is about? Check out  OP TV, Fan OP on Facebook, Follow OP on Twitter & Amos Mac on Twitter. Of course, you also need to go directly to Amos Mac’s website to keep up with his latest photography, events and news.

When TQ Nation was flushed with the opportunity (*wink*) for an exclusive interview with Original Plumbing’s, Amos Mac, we were honored! We asked 10 questions and received answers that were comedic, to the point and full of his energy. Amos has already made a huge impression within the community and is on his way to establishing the most profound documented historical magazine of our generation.

Not to mention, he’s a TQ Nation citizen!

TQ NATION
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

TQ: What do you believe has been your biggest role or accomplishment that has benefited the transgendered community?

AM: I feel that launching Original Plumbing magazine has benefited the trans male community for sure.  It’s something I’m so proud of, and I had no idea that the response to it would be the way that it has been so far.  It’s giving trans men a space to be highlighted and appreciated and giving us all a soapbox to talk about the issues we feel are relevant, and also it’s just so important to be more visible and acknowledge that we exist and we’re all out there and that we all have different stories. I also feel that my photographs of trans men are important for historical purposes… I’m documenting a culture and a group of men who have not been visible for very long and I’m trying to change that.

TQ: What is the craziest thing one of your fans has ever done to get your attention?

AM: Ha ha! This question makes me feel like a Backstreet Boy or something. My life doesn’t really work that way.  I’m not exactly a performer or someone who is publicly seen on a stage, and the work I do doesn’t exactly warrant a crazy fan base. Does it?  I mean unless I just don’t know about it.  Plus in general I’m the type of person who is very approachable so when fans want to get my attention, they’ll usually just email me or walk up to me at an event.

TQ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

AM: Still photographing, showing my work and publishing. Documenting queer existence in whatever form it has taken on in ten years.

TQ: Who is the one person that has played the most significant and positive role in your life? Why?

AM: Queer and trans artists and allies who have come before me. There are so many, I can’t pick one! Writers, photographers, sex workers, activists, performers… the people who were out there creating art or causing a scene while I was still figuring out my place in the world. All the people who gave me something to read and dream about when I was young. Also, so many of my friends, people that I spend my days and my nights with. The people closest to me inspire me daily. If you want me to name names, here’s a mixed list of all of the above : Rocco Kayiatos, Rhiannon Argo, Tuck Mayo, Leslie Feinberg, Michelle Tea, Max Wolf Valerio, RuPaul, AA Bronson, Cookie Mueller, John Waters, Tammy Faye, Austin Young, Pee Wee Herman, Daniel Nicoletta, George Michael, Michael Alig, Tara Jepsen, Kirk Read, Larry Clark, Ben McCoy, vintage porn, and all the drag queens I hung out with in Arlington, TX in the year 2000. To name a few.

TQ: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far in life?

AM: Original Plumbing magazine. And my moustache.

TQ: Being a face in the “limelight”, what types of privacy or safety concerns have you faced? How did you deal with them?

AM: The privacy and safety concerns I have usually revolve around meeting new people who do not already know me and me figuring out/obsessing over/struggling with how/if/when to disclose to someone that I am trans. Mainly I am referring to these situations in the cases of meeting new people when it comes to dating and/or sex, and how to live a safe life where I’m not putting myself at risk (physically, emotionally or otherwise) by disclosing. A plus side to this is that because of the work that I do, people often assume or know that I am trans, at least in some communities, so that is half the battle for me, because I’d rather people already know.

TQ: What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

AM: It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have! Just keep shooting. Seriously.

TQ: What is the most interesting or memorable photo shoot you have done?

AM: Every one is pretty memorable for me. Even if I’ve just met the model that day and then never hang out with them ever again, I feel pretty bonded to them for life. From the hundreds of photos I’ll take during a photo shoot with one model, there will always be that one photograph that I single out that forever reminds me of that day or time in my life, or relationship to that specific person. I mainly shoot queer artists, a lot of writers and performers, gender variant individuals, drag performers, people who I feel are iconic in the queer community, so it’s impossible for me to choose just one shoot.

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)

AM: Press is dying, and that makes me really sad. Support your favorite magazines, authors, and zines-makers… Purchase them at your local bookstores. Keep print media alive, and keep the stores alive that give printed matter a home.

Also, I love cats.

TQ: What upcoming event/tour can your fans look forward to in the future?

AM: I have two exhibits that focus on trans men I’ve photographed, both in San Francisco — One at the LGBT Community Center (called “The Boys of Original Plumbing – Past, Present & Future”) March 31-May 13th, then another exhibit at the Lexington Club in San Francisco, which will be up from June 22nd for a month.  I’ll be doing a huge Original Plumbing model search at that June 22nd opening party, which happens to fall during Pride week madness.

On June 24th, as a part of the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco,  Rocco Kayiatos and I are curating a multi-media event featuring 6 different trans male performers.

Then, in April 2011 I’ll be on Sister Spit tour with Michelle Tea and an all new line-up.



Written by TQ Nation 1st Lady, Sicily Skye


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