Serena Freewomyn

Better Know a Contributor: Mercedes Allen

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | June 22, 2008 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Mercedes Allen

Editor's Note: You've seen Steven Colbert's "Better Know a Lobbyist," but our version is so much gayer! Each weekend, we spotlight a different TBP contributor. In case you've missed any of our previous interviews, I've got links at the end of the post.

This week's featured contributor is Mercedes Allen. Mercedes has written some of the most thought-provoking and controversial posts here on The Bilerico Project. Mercedes is a graphic designer and advocate living in Alberta, Canada's redneck "Little Texas." She also writes her own blog, called Dented Blue Mercedes.

Follow me after the jump to find out more about Mercedes' "chequered past."

1. How'd you get involved with TBP?
I hounded Bil endlessly, until he said "oh, alright, already! (cuss, cuss)" That was after following TBP for some time in relative silence.

Actually, the spark was writing "Transbigotry?" which was a lot of things -- both personal real-life and online conflicts -- boiling over. My first impulse is always to defend the marginalized (why else would a non-op transsexual be pressing for obtaining and maintaining health care coverage for GRS surgery, rather than joining the "take it out of the DSM, it embarasses and frustrates us" crowd?). So that was kind of how it bubbled over, and I think it was at that point that I wanted to get that message out there for a wider audience.

And then I became an attention whore. [primps]

2. What was your coming out experience like?
Sticking needles under my toenails.

My mom was crushed. She actually said, "I thought you were just going to tell me that you're gay." None of them, family, ex- or friends of that time took it well, even though most weren't surprised (aside from mom -- denial is a wonderful thing). I started with a clean slate and remembered why I virtually ran away from home in the first place.

There was an exception. To a person, every one of my co-workers (staff, actually, as I'd managed the store) as well as my boss were supportive. The company, however, was a bit more terrified, and my transition at work was put off repeatedly until I had to go on stress leave in order to go full-time. My staff actually found out prematurely, when I was called to the store for an emergency while I'd been out at a trans function. When I arrived, the employee simply commented, "Hi [old male name], nice hair." Cute kid.

3. What book has had the most impact on your life?
Probably the Bible, by virtue of the negative impact that those who misuse and misinterpret it have on the society around me, even though it is not currently relevant in my own life.

Writing influence -speaking, Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco, if I dare say it. I don't know if my prose could possibly reach that calibre.

4. Which reality TV show are you not ashamed to admit you watch?
The Simpsons! It doesn't get any more real than that. Or at least classic Simpsons.

Or perhaps the 6:00 news. Except that's not real.

Actually, I tend to avoid television, as it tends to melt my brain.

5. Who's your favorite super hero?
Crazy Jane. Those few who remember the Grant Morrison Doom Patrol will know who I mean.

It's funny, because I wrote comics or was involved in that scene for some time and yet I loathe the superhero motif. I'm more a fan of Roberta Gregory on the avant garde side, or Maus on the storytelling side. It always seemed to me that comics provided an incredible mode of expression that encorporated the visual element of movies, without the risk of having one's story rewritten a billion times by directors, other screenwriters and the actors themselves (and a very low special effects budget!). The heart of the story could come through and maintain the integrity of the original vision. Except that the medium is hamstrung by its relative adherence to a single genre that feeds upon itself.

6. What's your favorite way to pamper yourself?
Wuzzat? No time. Someone is wrong on the Internet! Grrrr....

Check out previous interviews with TBP Contributors
Alex Blaze
Don Sherfick
Sara Whitman
Brent Hartinger
Jessica Hoffman
Cathy Renna
Waymon Hudson
Kate Clinton
Bruce Parker
Jerame Davis


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Being a non-op and fighting for SRS rights is no more illogical than me being post-op (and Intersexed at that) and fighting for not just non-op TS but TG rights in general. Gay rights too for that matter.

It's because they're all Human Rights.

Brava, Mercedes! Too bad I didn't get to see you when I was in Edmonton in February. I did get to meet several Albertans in Montreal at Dr Brassard's who have benefited from your efforts.

I think knowing that, that you have made a difference, will make you feel better than any thanks I could give you. You have my thanks anyway.

Mercedes is one of my favorite contributors. I always know that she'll get a ton of comments for writing something thought provoking.

It's nice to get to know you a bit more Mercedes! I always enjoy reading your contributions here at TBP.

The other day we were discussing why we are fans of TBP, and I mentioned that I know many of the contributors to it.

When there was a vote for favorite contributor, you got my vote.

You are one of the people on TBP who I don't yet know, but I would like to meet you some day.

Do you ever get to any of the conferences south of the border?

I'm off to Southern Comfort in Atlanta in October, and there are others in my plans.

I also go to Dented Blue Mercedes from time to time, but the last I checked, it's been a while since you posted anything new. I was a little concerned although I saw your comments here on TBP.

Thank you for your marvelous and thought-provoking articles.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 24, 2008 2:15 AM

I always keep an eye out for your posts. You do some great and very valuable work.

Good on you Mercedes!