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