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TQ Nation Exclusive VIDEO Interview: Mark Angelo Cummings

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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


Join the REVOLUTION!

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TQ Nation EXCLUSIVE Interview: Rocco “Katastrophe” Kayiatos

Rocco Katastrophe

TQ Nation had the opportunity to squeeze into the busy schedule of San Francisco based rapper and producer, Rocco “Katastrophe” Kayiatos for an exclusive interview.

Katastrophe got his start in 1997 doing poetry slams which led to rapping and making beats in 2002. He has taken hip-hop to the next level by traveling down the ultra-lyrics highway. He can spit about education, gender, culture and do it all with musical emotions ranging from pounding-reality rage to flirty shake-yer-booty tunes.

He has created three solo cd’s, toured the US and Europe multiple times and has been featured everywhere from Showtime’s “The L Word” to several documentary films. He was named “Producer of the Year” by Out Music Awards and his video for the song “The Life” was on MTV networks LOGO top ten hit list for twelve weeks.

Last year, Rocco teamed up with renowed photographer, Amos Mac, and together they have successfully produced the FTM quarterly magazine, Original Plumbing. Rocco holds the title of Assistant Editor.

Want more? I suggest you dive into his amazing talent for yourself by checking out his website HERE, becoming his fan on Facebook and friending his a$$ on Myspace. Of course, you also need to see him in person so make sure to keep informed of his next scheduled tour. You can also meet him at an Original Plumbing release party which happens every quarter.

Not to mention, he is also a TQ Nation citizen! *wink, wink*

TQ Nation

Exclusive Interview

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

RK: I don’t know if I know what has had the most impact. I was one of the first transguys making music and discussing my transition from a stage. I figured out I was trans in 2002 and performed the entire time I transitioned. My first CD dealt heavily with issues of early transition, some of those ftm specific songs were featured on the L Word. I know that I reached a lot of young trans guys looking for their reflection in culture during that moment. That felt important and cool. A bunch of young dudes wrote to me during that time about how they used a couple of those songs to come out to their parents. I never set out with the goal of affecting the community, I just want to be real about my life and struggles and if people relate or get something from it, that is a big bonus.


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

RK: Nothing too out of the norm I think. Had a couple bras tossed my way, sweet fan letters etc.

TQ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

RK: God, I can barely see ten days from now. I try to just think about each day and not worry about the future too much. This has served me well so far.

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

(Photo Credit: Jessica Miller)

RK: Only get to pick one? Well, I can’t, there have been too many. I would say direct influences have been my sister and my mom and dad, for all believing in me and pushing me to do anything and everything I felt inspired to do. My parents really accepted me for exactly who I am and supported me every step of the way. Even when I told them I wanted to be the worlds most famous Transsexual rapper!


My girlfriend, writer Michelle Tea, when she said “jobs are for quitting” meaning I never needed to find a career path other than the artistic one I am on. James Kass, director of Youth Speak! He gave me my first job right out of high school, teaching and performing poetry. All the queer artists brave enough to put their identities and art out there and create space for others to
follow suit. And most currently Amos Mac for conceptualizing and bringing me on board with Original Plumbing. This project is changing my life and the world forever. The project is magical and so is Amos!

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

RK: I can’t quantify. Maybe surviving adolescence and thriving in adulthood. Making money as an artist!

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

RK: I was offered a spot on VH1’s “The White Rapper Show” and declined because I wanted to keep a certain level of anonymity. I like being gaymous or sublebrity. I think the hardest part is having people feel like they know me without knowing me. It feels a little imbalanced. Overall it’s cool though.

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

RK: Do what you are driven to do and worry about the result later. If you get caught up in wondering what will happen, you will never just make stuff. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you can’t. And everyone has an opinion, but what other people think of you is ultimately none of your business.

TQ: How did Original Plumbing magazine get created? Tell us the story.

RK: Amos was going to create a zine to showcase his pictures of the guys in our community he’d shot and he told me about it. The more we talked about it the more inspired we both got about it. I asked if I could help and we decided to run it as more of a real magazine than a zine and to commit to making it for a full year and see how it went. Well, the response was immediately overwhelmingly good. And now we are committed to doing it forever. Neither of us is short in ideas or inspiration and the world is full of guys that are willing to model, so we are set.

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)

RK: I think the only thing on my mind that I want to rant about right now is how big the world is, and how in our small communities, sometimes we forget this. I think queers spend a lot of time fighting for space with each other, and that energy would be better spent making space in the larger world. We don’t have enough of a voice outside our community. I think we forget this and tear each other apart. As an artist, my voice gets heard a bit more, so then people are sometimes bummed when they feel like I am speaking for them. I can never speak for anyone but myself, I hope to speak to people and make more space for more voices to be heard. Also, I think if you don’t see yourself reflected in the larger world, do something about it. We don’t have enough time to spend it thinking or saying negative things about other people. Let’s all assume everyone is doing their best and try to love and understand one another. It is just as easy, if not easier, to see the similarities than the differences. Try a little tenderness. There is enough room for everyone. Let’s not step on each others toes.

TQ: What upcoming events, appearances or movies can your fans look forward to?

RK: I just finished a month long tour. I will be back on the east coast and midwest in April and May, look out for those dates. And support queer art, buy my new cd its good. If you buy my cd, I can keep making music about our lives.
xoxoRocco


Written by TQ Nation President, Tristan Skye


Join the Revolution: www.TQnation.com

TQ Nation had the sensational pleasure to interview the National Entertainer of the Year 2009 (NEOY) aka “The Goddess of Seduction’, Bianca Nicole. Bianca Nicole is one of the most captivating female impersonators to ever grace the entertainment stage. She has stolen the show on stages all over the nation for almost 10 years and her popularity and notoriety hits new heights with every performance.

Bianca Nicole has perfected her stage performance, but it’s her personal life as a MtF (Male-to Female) Transsexual that truly shows her elegance and strength. Bianca started to live her life as a transgendered woman in 2003 and is continuing her own personal journey to a full transition in the upcoming future. Surrounded by the love and support of her fans, friends and most of all her family, Bianca Nicole is a name that you will hear more and more as she becomes an international icon in this community.

Are you intrigued yet?….., I suggest you see her amazing beauty and talent for yourself by subscribing to her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/MissNEOY2009 , Befriend her onhttp://www.facebook.com/bncanlas and http://www.facebook.com/thegoddessofseduction . Of course, you also need see her in person so make sure to watch for her shows and events at a venue near you.

Personally, I am not only a fan of Bianca, but also an avid supporter of her. I have been extremely privileged to see Bianca Nicole perform on numerous occasions and highly thrilled when she asked me to share a stage with her for one of her pageant benefit shows in 2008. Bianca Nicole is a DIVA, both on and off the stage. Her charismatic personality and the way she conducts herself is a breath of fresh air for everyone around her. Tristan and I feel extremely honored to call her an ally and a friend.

TQ Nation had the shimmering opportunity to lip-lock (*wink*) Bianca Nicole for an exclusive interview. We asked 10 questions and received answers that were endearing, light-hearted, and uncensored about her and her life. She has proven, yet again, to be beyond an inspiration for T-girls everywhere and a trendsetter for the Female Impersonator’s Entertainment World. Not to mention, she is also a TQ Nation citizen!

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TQ Nation EXCLUSIVE Interview: Bianca Nicole

(Josh Romine Photography)

TQ Nation had the sensational pleasure to interview the National Entertainer of the Year 2009 (NEOY), Bianca Nicole.

Known as ‘The Goddess of Seduction’, Bianca Nicole is one of the most captivating female impersonators to ever grace the entertainment stage. She has stolen the show (and hearts) on stages all over the nation for almost 10 years and her popularity and notoriety reach new heights with every performance.

Bianca Nicole has perfected her stage performance, but it’s her personal life as an MtF (Male-to Female) Transsexual that truly shows her elegance and strength.  Bianca began her own personal journey in 2003 and is progressing to a full transition in the upcoming future.

Surrounded by the love and support of her fans, friends and most of all her family, Bianca Nicole is a name that you will hear more and more as she becomes an International icon in this community.

Are you intrigued yet? I suggest you see her amazing beauty and talent for yourself by subscribing to her YouTube channel and befriending her on Facebook. Of course, you also need to see her in person so make sure to watch for her shows and events at a venue near you.

Personally, I am not only a fan of Bianca, but also an avid supporter of her.  I have been extremely privileged to see Bianca Nicole perform on numerous occasions and highly thrilled when she asked me to share a stage with her for one of her pageant benefit shows in 2008. Bianca Nicole is a DIVA, both on and off the stage.  Her charismatic personality and the way she conducts herself is a breath of fresh air for everyone around her.  My husband  and I feel extremely honored to call her an ally and a friend.

TQ Nation had the shimmering opportunity to lip-lock (*wink*) Bianca Nicole for an exclusive interview. We asked 10 questions and received answers that were endearing, light-hearted, and uncensored about her career and personal life. She has proven, yet again, to be beyond an inspiration for T-girls everywhere and a trendsetter for the Female Impersonator’s Entertainment World. Not to mention, she is also 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?

BN: I think what I believe to have been my biggest role is probably very minimal in comparison, but my personality and the way I carry myself has definitely helped the standards of what most people assume the common MTF transsexual is like. People who are very naive to our lifestyle and really only go off based on what they see on TV or read in the papers. Shows like Jerry Springer, and Cops, don’t really show the best light of people in general, but especially the trans community. These kinds of shows showcase transgirls as drug-induced, lying, cheating, disease-infested prostitutes. When people meet me who are not familiar, they are very amazed at how I am NOT like what is portrayed on television; that is sad to say, but at the same time, I am glad to open their eyes and show that the trans community is not so different than what they consider “the norm”.

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

BN: Um, well craziest (cute) I don’t have any moments, but craziest (psycho)…hehe.

One day, I had met a girl through a mutual friend at the club I worked at one evening. After not hearing about her in almost a month, I heard she wanted to hang out through a friend…yes, not her, but through a friend. So going to hang out with her and some friends AS FRIENDS, she eventually started talking to me, and was telling me about this girl she had a HUGE crush on and asked me what my thought were on trying to get her attention. Well I told her something nice like writing her a personal letter, and getting her a bouquet of flowers would definitely get the message across. Later that evening when we went back to our friend’s house, she sat in the dining room writing a letter, and had a friend run to the local Piggly Wiggly (yes, they still have those in some rural areas) to grab a bouquet of red roses. As soon as the friend came back with the bouquet, the girl folded up the letter, grabbed the bouquet of roses, handed me the letter and bouquet, and ran to her bedroom and locked the door…yeah, about that…

Later, that week when I came back to my friend’s house, her roommate, I was told by my friend that she had it bad for me. He showed me her room, and all over one wall was a collage of computer printed photos of myself. (insert creepy horror music here)

TQ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

BN: Hmmm, 10 years? Well I’ve been in this industry for nearly 10 years now, and I have to say that I am amazed at what I accomplished thus far with show business and pageantry. Though when I look into the next 10 years of my life, I see myself doing other things…

~ Being established in the 9-5 career field after getting my license/degree in whatever it is I decide to do with myself
~ Having a family (whether it is just my partner and me, or if it includes mini-me’s)
~ Living somewhere out of Georgia, but not too ridiculously far from my immediate family
~ Doing more charitable work for our community

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

BN: I cannot limit this answer to one individual as there are two significant people who have played and continue to play a positive role in my life, they are my parents. Though we have gone through our hard times in the beginning of understanding who I am as a person, we have overcome those obstacles, and they love me just as much, if not more than before, for being who I am. If not for them, I would not be the humble, and down-to-earth individual with a humorous personality that I am today, and if not for them I would not be blessed with such an amazing body, tan skin, gorgeous legs, and a ever so beautiful face…I’m so kidding! But yes, my parent’s are the most significant and positive role models in my life.

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

BN: As an entertainer, most people would assume the first thing that would come out of my mouth would be winning the nationally recognized prestigious title of National Entertainer of the Year; however, my greatest achievement, and some may count it as a blessing, is having a family that loves and supports me 150% with no questions asked. My parents (and yes, biological) and sister, have been so supportive of me and who I am, I came from a Roman Catholic family and to top it off, Republican. To be the only genetic male born of my parents, I find the greatest achievement in my life thus far is having the unconditional love and support of my family.

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

BN: I’ve never really had to deal with something like this as far as safety is concerned, but privacy concerns I am not a stranger to. When I lived in the city of Atlanta, I made the mistake of living in the heart of midtown, where EVERYONE knew where I lived. I am a very private and quite individual when I do not have to work at the clubs, I like to keep things low-key. I used to deal with “friends” coming over at 3 or 4 in the morning, unannounced and overly intoxicated. It became really tiring, really quick. Now, I reside in a quaint home with a couple of close friends, in a peacefully quite neighborhood where NO ONE comes to visit unexpectedly, and I LOVE it.

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

BN: The best piece of advice I ever took was what I always lived by and learned on my own. “Let the ‘can’ts’ and the ‘don’ts’ push you to climb the steps of the ‘can’s’ and the ‘do’s’.” In other words, let the skepticism of others make you want to achieve all your dreams, and let the people that genuinely what to help you do so. I grew up in the entertainment industry having some people tell me that I will never go anywhere or be anyone within our community, but I had people that believed I could do whatever I put my mind to. Another piece of advice I would give is to be humble. Attitudes of grandeur are unbecoming and people will remember you in a negative light. I couldn’t have gotten where I am today by being a bitch who thought everyone was beneath me and everything was owed to me.

TQ: Notably being one of the most beautiful and talented Entertainers with a large following, it’s not surprising that you are a very desired woman within the community. One thing everyone wants to know: what are you looking for in a partner?

BN: Wow, if I haven’t been asked this question enough..lol. I have been with men, women, and transguys. With that said, it should be apparent that it is not what is in between the legs that I seek. I look for genuine, considerate, and sincere individuals with a masculine spirit and look, but also with a slight sensitive side. Being in the show business industry, I do not need someone who is constantly jealous, possessive, or has trust issues. I am popular and am constantly socializing and networking; the person who is going to be with me cannot have insecurity issues. In my everyday life, I need that person to be someone who is family-oriented, whether it be their family or my family. I seek someone with goals and ambitions, and a drive to want to do something with their life other than live at a bar.

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)

BN: My 2010 philosophy is “I don’t give a fuck!” so there will be no vents or complaints. I am a pretty happy person and have learned that not everyone is going to understand or agree with the way I live my life, and I don’t give a fuck! 🙂

However, I do want to thank my fans for supporting my art form because if it weren’t for all of you who believed in my talent and beauty, I would not be standing here as who I am today. To my friends, some have come and gone through the years and through different stages of my transition, to those of you who made an impact, I thank you; to my friends who have been there since the beginning and are still around…I love you unconditionally. Speaking of unconditional love, to my mother, father, and sister, for supporting me and my life completely and whole-heartedly. I am so freaking lucky to have you all by my side, and God has a special place for people like you, at least in my book you should. I love you.

TQ: What upcoming events, appearances or movies can your fans look forward to?

BN: As National Entertainer of the Year, I have numerous appearances all over the nation, in fact, I am just back in from appearances in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Honolulu. Dallas, TX; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Las Vegas, NV; Buffalo, NY; Phoenix, AZ; Washington, D.C.; and of course, Atlanta, GA, just to name a few. (Look for a full 2010 list of appearances on my profile)



Written by TQ Nation 1st Lady, Sicily Skye

Join the Revolution: www.TQnation.com

TQ Nation had the sensational pleasure to interview the National Entertainer of the Year 2009 (NEOY) aka “The Goddess of Seduction’, Bianca Nicole.  Bianca Nicole is one of the most captivating female impersonators to ever grace the entertainment stage. She has stolen the show on stages all over the nation for almost 10 years and her popularity and notoriety hits new heights with every performance.

Bianca Nicole has perfected her stage performance, but it’s her personal life as a MtF (Male-to Female) Transsexual that truly shows her elegance and strength.  Bianca started to live her life as a transgendered woman in 2003 and is continuing her own personal journey to a full transition in the upcoming future. Surrounded by the love and support of her fans, friends and most of all her family, Bianca Nicole is a name that you will hear more and more as she becomes an international icon in this community.

Are you intrigued yet?….., I suggest you see her amazing beauty and talent for yourself by subscribing to her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/MissNEOY2009 , Befriend her onhttp://www.facebook.com/bncanlas and http://www.facebook.com/thegoddessofseduction . Of course, you also need see her in person so make sure to watch for her shows and events at a venue near you.

Personally, I am not only a fan of Bianca, but also an avid supporter of her.  I have been extremely privileged to see Bianca Nicole perform on numerous occasions and highly thrilled when she asked me to share a stage with her for one of her pageant benefit shows in 2008. Bianca Nicole is a DIVA, both on and off the stage.  Her charismatic personality and the way she conducts herself is a breath of fresh air for everyone around her.  Tristan and I feel extremely honored to call her an ally and a friend.

TQ Nation had the shimmering opportunity to lip-lock (*wink*) Bianca Nicole for an exclusive interview. We asked 10 questions and received answers that were endearing, light-hearted, and uncensored about her and her life. She has proven, yet again, to be beyond an inspiration for T-girls everywhere and a trendsetter for the Female Impersonator’s Entertainment World. Not to mention, she is also a TQ Nation citizen!

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TQ Nation EXCLUSIVE Interview: Lucas Silveira

Lucas Silveira of The Cliks (Photo by Dave Golden)

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 NATION

EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW

 

 

 

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?

LSWriting 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?

‘Dirty King’ by The Cliks (2009 – Tommy Boy)

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

Join the Revolution: http://www.transqueernation.com

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TQ Nation EXCLUSIVE Interview: Ian Harvie

Ian Harvie (photo credit: Kevin Neales)

If you know comedy, you know Ian Harvie. A trans funny man who has audiences rolling on the floor in laughter across the globe. If you can’t catch him in a city near you, then I suggest you  subscribe to his YouTube channel, Fan him on Facebook and Follow him on Twitter.

Sidenote: The word on the street says you should do all of that too … even if you are one of the lucky kids and Ian comes to your town! That’s your BONUS!

This summer he will be swinging by my side of town (flipping “EASTSIDE” sign) and I can’t wait to meet him face-to-face.

Besides his comedy, Ian is as real as you get. He has a humble personality and a “dripping with honey” sweetness. The kind of guy you want as your best buddy, have a “bromance” with and scream out, “I love you, man!”

Ian tackles everything from gender to politics to the funny conditions and dispositions of human beings at their core.

Here’s an example of Ian’s personal “philosophy”:

“I was born female, there is no question that I understand this. I believe that ‘female’ is a biological and legal term; while my gender is something that I get to create and modify myself. I do not consider myself ‘male’, however I do identify as a man – the two are not necessarily connected for me. These are words I like to use when describing my gender: Butch, Trans, Trans Man, Tranny Boi, and Masculine. I don’t feel like I was robbed of the correct biological sex, I believe I was born in the right body, I just may want to change it a little bit. Really, who hasn’t felt this way about some part of their body?”

Most notably, Ian was scooped up by one of TQ’s other favorites comedians, Margaret Cho (we love you & your tattoos!), and she toured with Ian nationally and internationally which then landed Ian on TV shows, gracing the channels of LOGO and CBS.

TQ Nation had the opportunity to hit up Ian with an exclusive interview. We asked 10 questions and received answers that were so honest, real and enlightening it made us want to give Ian a great big bear-hug and a” smoochie-boochie” on the cheek. We really just think he’s super! Not to mention, he’s a TQ Nation citizen! What a smart guy!

TQ NATION EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW

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

IH: I hope that it’s Trans visibility. I don’t want be a comic without being a positive image.  Making people laugh and educating people are important and absolutely connected for me.

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

IH: I was on tour this past fall with Margaret and there was a meet and greet back stage after a show in (I think) Buffalo and this girl with a big group of her friends insisted that I spank her. She said she wouldn’t leave until I spanked her as hard as I could. She was not bare-assed or anything, she was wearing a pair of jeans, standing in the painted white, cinder block hall backstage in a big theater with all her friends standing there, waiting, like ‘come on, do it’ looks on their faces.. Our tour crew needed to get our next destination in a timely manner, so I did what I needed to do, I took a single swipe almost as hard as I could and we loaded up our van and went on our way.

TQ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

IH: Having love and a family, still touring doing standup, maybe producing different projects, writing for others, writing on comedy shows, creating and collaborating, traveling, and frig, I hope exercising more..

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

IH: There’s just not one. There’s so many, and since I’ve got the microphone, I’m gonna share.

My Mom, Dad and brothers have shown true unconditional love throughout many things that I’ve brought to them, that they didn’t understand at first. Not everyone who is Trans can say that about their parents and family. I’m incredibly lucky to have them role model what real love looks like, if I forget, I just look at them.

All of my relationships, friends, partners, partners who became friends, have all taught me and molded me to the good human I am today, I’m so grateful for all of them.

The one who was my friend and became my partner, my beautiful girlfriend Sarah, who is rarely shocked or shaken. She is my anywayfriend (which I heard last night on The Practice), the one who knows about my ego and all my flaws and she loves and accepts me anyway. I can only hope that I add to her life as much as she adds to mine.

I have to mention one of my best friends and mentors, Margaret. She changed my life in so many ways, my comedy career is definitely part of that, but she keeps teaching me things that are unrelated to comedy. Encouraged fearlessness and sharing insight just when I need it.  I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard with someone, I will always remember this time in my life.

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

IH: I spent a lot of years not being okay with my body. Thinking: ‘who would ever want to fuck me?’ After lots of therapy, getting clean and sober, being honest with myself, a commitment to spiritually feeling better, and the decision to modify my body, I think my greatest achievement is loving myself and my body for the first time ever.

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

IH: I have not experienced any privacy issues really. I think when you’re as out as I am, there’s little ‘new’ to discover, I’ve likely said it all on stage at some point. But if you mean the other translation of privacy, I live in Los Angeles, where it’s so huge (14 million people in the greater LA area), it would be a little hard to try to find where anyone lives, etc. I really think no one cares enough about me or what I’m doing to try to disrupt my life or invade my privacy or even stalk me at shows. Maybe that’s a little naïve..? But there are, of course, always safety concerns for all Trans people, and I’m no different. I do tend to watch my back a little more when traveling in places I’m not familiar with, especially overseas! I definitely rush in and out of the men’s restroom in public places. But I think (maybe falsely) because I’m soooo out, that I forget sometimes to be more concerned about my own well being. I think ‘what’s the big deal, I’m Trans’ and go about my business, but forgetting that it’s not really like that yet out there in the real world. Some day it will be like that, where little to no one cares. I look forward to that.

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

IH: Write tons. Be funny! Always say yes, the best jokes come from new experiences.
It’s okay to be afraid, but just put it your pocket, and jump, the wind will catch you.
Trans people need visibility in the LGBT community, so if you get nervous to go on stage, remember you’re doing it for you and for them and that should help your feet move to the stage.
Be honest and leave a piece of yourself on the stage.
Love yourself like no one else.

TQ: How did you first get your start in comedy?

IH: I started in my home town, Portland, Maine at the comedy club there. I took a comedy writing/performance workshop with a great guy named Tim Ferrell. How he found me was divine for sure! He taught me joke writing structure and editing. After the class was over, I began performing right out of the gate and haven’t stopped for over 7 years. I performed all over New England and decided that I wanted to chase this dream and to do so I needed to move to LA or NY. I grew up in Maine! It’s fucking cold there, so the choice was easy for me, LA all the way. Since moving here I’ve had some great opportunities and I just keep saying yes to everything. It’s been a ball!

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)

IH: I’m always kind of surprised that there are so many people out there that think that they don’t understand how Trans people feel. I especially love when people play confused or fascinatingly concerned when the word Transgender is mentioned. For those who think they don’t understand, I challenge them with this notion.

No one out there in the entire world feels 100% okay about their body. NO ONE! And if you do, then you’re the freak. There are so many people out there that are, what I like to call Bio Trans. These are biological women who modify their bodies to be more feminine and biological men who modify their bodies to be more masculine. When a biological woman elects a breast augmentation procedure so she can feel more feminine in her body, how is that any different than me taking mine off to feel more masculine in mine. The core feelings that motivated us to change our bodies are the same. There are so many people out there that have these feelings, what they do with them, varies from person to person but In my book, everyone is a little Trans.

When I first came to understand that I was Trans, I felt alone and I thought I was the only one who had ever felt at odds with their body. There was even a brief period for me where I wrestled with feelings of resentment, and used language like ‘robbed of the correct sex’. Which was strange coming from me because I’d always been this eternally optimistic person; being resentful didn’t suit me. So I started looking at my life, body and birth name with acceptance. At first I had to fake it and in no time it seemed to become true. I was accepting of my given, biological body, but absolutely knowing that I could, if I wanted to, change it. And since then, this is how I’ve made sense of things for me.. I believe that sex is a biological fact and gender is something that I get to create; it’s changeable, fluid, and infinite. And I am not the only person who has ever felt these ways. I think everyone has felt at odds with their given body at different times.. wanting something different, wanting something more, wanting less of.. I think everyone has felt this way at some point in their lives and our feelings are what connect us to each other; that is what make us alike and understandable to each other.

So in my book, we are all a little Trans. And if you need examples of other Bio Trans folks, just look at Cher, Dolly Parton, Charro, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers and Bruce Jenner.

I went from feeling completely alone to feeling like this is something that we all have in common. I don’t feel so different anymore and that keeps me from feeling alone, no matter where I am.

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

IH: I am booking lots of college shows these days, so let me know if you’re school needs a Transgender funnyman. I’m working tons of Pride Festivals and Comedy Festivals all over the world. I’m headlining at mainstream comedy clubs around the country. I’ll be on some LGBT cruise ship vacations this summer and fall 2010. And I encourage all people to hit me up about doing house shows near places that I might be performing. If you want to know when and where I’ll be, please go to www.ianharvie.com and look at my tour schedule.

Love you, mean it!
XOXO Ian

TQ: I love you, man!



Written by TQ Nation President, Tristan Skye

 

Join the Revolution: http://www.transqueernation.com

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