Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview longtime transgender activist Nancy Nangeroni. Nancy founded the Boston chapter of The Transexual Menace, a ‘disorganization’ of transgender activists, in 1995. She co-produced and co-hosted GenderTalk for 11 years and GenderVision for 11 programs. She served as Executive Director of the International Foundation for Gender Education and has been Chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition since 2008. An MIT-degreed engineer, she worked in industry for 20+ years, now focuses on providing leadership and tech empowerment to the broader trans community. Hello Nancy!
Most people in the USA now accept, if still resisting in some areas, the presence of transgender people in “respectable” society. We’ve forged a credible (some say leading) social movement that continues to grow. And we continue to win respect for people who don’t fit into pre-existing definitions, including definitions of what it is to be “transgender.”
|Nancy getting ready to lead trans|
participation in Boston Pride 1997.
Monika: Most people interested in gender, transgender issues and progressive politics will remember you as a host and producer of "GenderTalk", an award-winning radio talk show aired in 1995-2006 on WMBR-FM in Cambridge, MA, and worldwide at www.gendertalk.com. It was a unique project. How do you recollect working for that project?
Then, when Gordene joined the program in 1999, she brought an incredible depth of knowledge, appetite for research and commitment to integrity that took the whole thing to the next level and brought us the most amazing guests.
But from the beginning, I told the crew that it had to be fun, because that would be the only way we would keep doing it week after week. And so it was a great privilege and pleasure to do, and we got to speak with trans activists from around the world. You can still listen to over 400 of our programs at GenderTalk.com.
I read the magazine avidly for years, and gave countless volunteer hours to IFGE. Then, as executive director, I made the magazine my highest priority and we broke new ground in FTM inclusivity and international stories. But now, of course, the internet is the place to turn for news and information.
|At a recent Boston Pride.|
Many, if not most, GLB communities have been incredibly supportive of trans inclusion, and those who are resistant will either come around, or be worked around. Given the amazing progress we’re enjoying, we’d best be as gracious as possible.
My favorite actress activist these days is Laverne Cox, who plays a smart (non-conservative) trans character in a great show and is an absolutely brilliant advocate for our community.
I also found inspiration from Yvonne Cook-Riley and Holly Boswell’s wisdom around the pitfalls of binary thinking and medicalization, and Leslie Feinberg’s call for transgender liberation.
Meeting Chris Howey at Fantasia Fair convinced me that transition was possible for me, and I learned from countless others as I attended trans conventions around the US and EuroFantasia. But I’m not a fan of role models; Laverne Cox is spot on when she uses the term “possibility model” to shift people’s thinking about available choices.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
So while we’ve made gains for transgender people, there are many people around the world suffering needlessly. Ours is just one of many issues requiring serious attention, and we’d best give some attention to other issues if we want others to give attention to ours.
|Gordene and Nancy doing GenderTalk from|
KUNM in Albuquerque, NM.
I’m a member of the Beverly Democratic City Committee, and made a big effort when Obama was first running for President. I stay informed and enjoy talking politics, lobbying for change in the right direction at every opportunity.
Gordene and I especially enjoy buying secondhand or directly from artists. She is a jewelry designer who loves the southwest and creates her own style that always involves fabulous jewelry and colors. I enjoy the many beautiful items she lavishes on me. I work mostly at home, so I dress quite casually most of the time, leggings and t-shirts etc. But we love dressing up together, the wilder and more fun the outfit the better.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?