Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chain Reaction Interview

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (PTHC) held at the Philadelphia convention center.

I went there for two days: Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, I volunteered to work a shift at the Equality Pennsylvania table with two wonderful friends, Beth and Lilia.  A bonus was finally meeting Daye Pope of that organization.  I thought she was quite nice, but I don't think she was too impressed with me.  Oh well.

I bumped into so many people, including many Vanity Club sisters.  Among them were the legendary JoAnne Carroll, who is currently President of Trans-Central PA, who run the Keystone Conference.  I also ran into my dear friend, the gorgeous Kimberly Moore, who was there running a table for TAVA (Transgender American Veterans Association).

Me, Kimberly Moore, Joanne Carroll

Part of the festivities was the raising of the Transgender Flag at Philadelphia City Hall.  Many people from the conference walked the couple of blocks to see this, including me.  As everyone waited in antici...


...pation, Molly Daly, a reporter from KYW News Radio 1060 was conducting interviews.  I was one of the people she selected.  I'm told that part of what I said was broadcast the next day, but I didn't hear it.  There was also a small news item on their web site.

Screen capture.  See me?

Molly Daly interviewing me.  Photo by Christina Tali Warburton

More on this later.

During the conference, I heard that National Geographic Magazine had a booth set up for pictures.  Another transwoman and I (whom I will not name) walked to the booth, only to discover that they were only interested in Trans Youth.  I guess we older folks don't matter.  Anyway, we all got to talking and the other TG and I started discussing our suicide attempts.  Casually.  Like we were talking about our first cars or something.  When, where, method...  And it occurred to me how common it was for TGs to have suicide attempts.  So common that it's assumed among us that we've all tried.  Horrifying.

Anyway, I had dinner with several people, including Joanne, Kimberly, the amazing Julie C, and Rebecca Juro, who was a delight!  Several people couldn't finish their pizza, so I decided to take it home to feed my roomie/bestie Linda (the Pizza Nut.)  However, walking back to the car along with Kimberly and Joanne, we passed some homeless people.  I decided to give the pizza to them.  Linda could feed her damn self!  (hee hee)  Then, it was the long drive out of the city to home.

The next day, Linda and I drove in together.  We saw many more people, including VC Sister Kelly Metzger.  Kelly was less than a week away from having THE dream come true.  (I hope she is recovering well!)  :)

4 VC Sisters:  Kimberly, Kelly, Linda, some fat chick

We walked around a bit.  That night, Kimberly stayed with us.  One the way out of town, we stopped at Valley Forge Park, where Kimberly had never been.  We drove around and I gave her the brief tour.  And of course, there had to be pictures.

Kimberly and Linda at the Valley Forge Chapel

We then went back to the apartment, freshened up and went to dinner at one of Linda and I's favorite places:  Rock Bottom.  Drinking and more pictures ensued.

Dramatic Selfie, my view

Then to another haunt:  McKenzies.

At McKenzies

Then back to the apartment, where we listened to music, drank, and talked until 2 AM.  The next morning, Kimberly was up early to get back to her table at PTHC.  She seemed to be moving a bit slowly.  Can't imagine why.

Ok.  Fast forward a few days.  I received a message from Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director of LGBT Affairs for Philadelphia City Government.  I never met her, but she apparently heard of me.  You see, a reporter reached out to her, trying to find me.  Stu Bykofski of the Philadelphia Daily News heard my bit on the radio and was intrigued enough to find me.  He wanted to know more.  So last Friday, I drove back down to Philly for an interview.  As I arrived very early, I decided to walk the two blocks down to Independence Hall.  In heels.  In the heat.

I've done smarter things.

So I showed up to the interview all sweaty, and looking my best (eye roll.)  Oh, and he neglected to mention that there would be a photographer.  Great.

So, he had many prepared questions, and follow ups if needed.  I gave him contact information for a few people, including Linda and Wife.  The interview lasted an hour and twenty minutes, after which, we found the photographer.

He was a staff photographer with the newspaper, and had been one for over thirty years.  He looked like an old hippie, and he walked with a shuffle. He had a look to his eyes that he was a person who had seen a LOT in his time, and now he was stuck with the unenviable assignment of trying to make me look human.  He was quite nice, and he took pictures for twenty some minutes, after which we parted ways.  I drove back home, coated in sweat.  I haven't seen the pictures yet.

After it all

The article will see print Friday.  If I remember, I will link to it.

Oh who am I kidding?

In any case, I don't know where this could lead.  I know this will be published on-line as well.  I know better than to look at the comments... but can I resist?

Maybe I'll get more speaking gigs.  More writing jobs.  Maybe rainbow colored unicorns will come flying out of my ass.

Who knows?

If nothing else, I had a wonderful time making new friends and catching up with old ones.

Be well!

Random Sophie Pic taken minutes before posting this


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