|Courtesy of Simone Whitlow.|
I also was doing a lot of co-vocalist stuff, lots of close harmony kept up high in the mix. Inspirations beyond the band? Hmm is a pretty long list.
Simone: Nothing at the moment. I hope to soon but do have a lot on my plate at the moment with a day job, sideline selling electric guitars online, hopes to study via correspondence in 2015 and, umm, a few kgs of post op weight to shake.
I have a new project mind mapped out, I would love to develop and launch though when I can free up the time. I do have around 20 unfinished songs I would love to come back to though and release in the near future though, should I be able to fit it all in.
Monika: Did the transition change your artistic perception of the world? What does it mean to be a transgender artist?
Simone: I would have to say yes I think though god only knows what is down to transition and what is down to growing as a human being in general. Pre-transition I wrote mostly 3rd person narrative or when writing first person it was in character; I found in transition I really was writing more as ‘myself’.
I think there was more a sense of ‘honesty’ too in what I was willing to bring to the table. For one we did a heavied up cover of The Exciters’ ‘Tell Him’, cause I thought it was a cool song. I don’t think pre transition we would have done it.
Monika: The contemporary music has produced a new wave of transgender female artists, just to name few of them: Mina Caputo of Life of Agony, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Marissa Martinez of Cretin, Amber Taylor of The Sexual Side Effects, Namoli Brennet, Sissy Début, and Jennifer Leitham, and many others. Are we going to see more and more transgender artists?
Simone: OMG I hope so! I think a lot of us trans girls are artistic, articulate, talented folk whose voices should be heard. Of course the more of us out there the more we become understood, which is a win for all.
Monika: Is there a similar wave in the New Zealand?
Simone: Unless the girls are all stealth, not that I’m aware of. I don’t believe I’m the only one though. I would love to see more trans musicians in NZ, from my experience they would be made to feel very welcome by most.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the New Zealand society?
Simone: I think a lot better than the various societies and support groups of New Zealand would give it credit for sometimes, New Zealand have a reputation for being welcoming and open minded with good reason IMO. Not to say there aren’t battles to be fought, in terms of medical access and a number of points of law to specifically safeguard against discrimination etc …. But my experience of New Zealand is it is a very accepting place for trans folk.
Monika: At what age did you transition into woman yourself? Was it a difficult process?
Simone: Truthfully I started quite late, at 31, after a few stumbling attempts earlier. There were some problems along the way; I did lose a few friends and for some time shut myself away from several other friends, while cocooned away. I had trouble with one particular mid level manager at a former job, who in retrospect I should have taken to court for discrimination – though I was worried it would void good work references from other managers there.
My relationship with my parents is better now than it ever has been (they both even went over to Thailand with me for my GRS, to look after me) but, you know as much as you’re on a journey so is everyone you love and transition can be a rough journey for family sometimes.
Overall I’d have to say anyone I cared for and who cared about me is still on my side, those who mind really don’t matter and those who matter ultimately don’t mind… and to finally be your true, authentic self the odd bit of discomfort is a small price to pay.
|Courtesy of Simone Whitlow.|
I greatly admire Janet Mock. On a local level Racheal McGonigal, Roxanne Henare and Jacquie Grant are three ladies I greatly admire, respect and look up to.
In the past I have commented that you don’t leave kids with cleft palettes or other deformities that preclude them from living an ordinary life, and over a life span the Government subsidies on higher doses of hormones and androgen blockers than needed post op accrues to much more than the one off cost of GRS so economically it makes sense IMO….
In terms of some of the stuff I see in my newsfeed from conservative American states, and around Transgender day of remembrance etc. there is a much bigger frontier than that needs navigating.
|Courtesy of Simone Whitlow.|
Jacquie Grant IMO did a LOT for Trans people, for a lot of people in general in New Zealand. Of course, Georgina Beyer put New Zealand on the map in some ways, former mayor and MP and all.
This year has mostly been about prints, and earth tones and a lot of sheer fabric I guess, oh and maxi dresses for casual wear. I am mad about jewelry, blue stones especially (Sapphires, Topaz, Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli…. Tanzanite have to be the most incredible stones ever to come out of the ground) and in spite of being 6.0” in bare feet do love a good 2 ½ inch high heel.
A few years ago one of the flatmates, an actor who was quite famous over here in his 20s started working on developing something but it really didn’t reflect the reality of the flat terribly much, for one he was in talks with pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior to be part of the show, as a kind of online, skyping version of Home Improvement’s Wilson, and apparently was open to the concept but … well god knows, it never got past concept hehe… I think I’d love to work on that, Ultimate Warrior imparting wisdom or not.
Create a transition plan. Take transition photos so your can look back at how far you’ve come. Maintain a sense of perspective in all ways. Don’t expect just cause people love you that they will get it immediately, they now have a journey to go on too.
Keep in mind you are in the process of embarking upon becoming the true, authentic you so strive to be the best you you can be in every way you can.
All the photos: courtesy of Simone Whitlow.