Wednesday 13 May 2015

Interview with Jackie Enx

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Jackie Enx, an Irish/American radio personality, percussionist, performer, instructor, and a founding member of such rock bands as Warrior (Virgin Records 1982-1984) and Rhino Bucket (Warner Bros and Acetate 1989-1993 and 2006-2009). Hello Jackie!
Jackie: Good evening, Monika.
Monika: It has been over 20 years since you left Rhino Bucket. What are you doing these days? Are you working on any new artist projects now?
Jackie: I’m always working on something new, I’ve always had a “next” mentality and I do work really hard at whatever I’m doing, and then it’s “next”.
Right now I’m playing drums behind SHANE DWIGHT who is a singer/songwriter out of Nashville and I’m producing, arranging, and playing with an Irish band that has relocated to San Francisco called THE GUV’RMENT.
In my heart I have always wanted to play with a few different bands, the most interesting to me right now would be THE QUIREBOYS so every day I just try to stay ready for whatever it is that comes “next”.

Monika: As a drummer of Rhino Bucket you contributed to the release of 3 albums: “Rhino Bucket” (1990), “Get Used To It” (1992), and “Then It Got Ugly” (2006). Which album do you hold in the highest esteem?
Jackie: Actually 4… I helped write and arrange the album called “PAIN” as well. I just didn’t play on it so they got Simon Wright from AC/DC to bash away in my place. As far as which one I like best, that’s a hard one… All 4 are different and all of them have some great songs and good memories attached. I’m very proud of all the BUCKET stuff and we still talk so who knows? There may be more in the future.
Monika: In 1993 you left the band. What made you leave then?
Jackie: Welllllll, I did have some “personal business” to attend to, didn’t I?
Monika: You came back in 2006 to take part in the production of “Then It Got Ugly” and left again in 2009 …
Jackie: Yep, that was interesting. I started my transition with no thought of being with the BUCKET ever again. Not any bad feelings or anything, I just had “my thing” to get on with and didn’t see a way to make it all work. I got a phone call from them some 6 years after I had left and they asked if I would come down and help arrange some new songs for their new project. I tied my hair back, put on a VERY baggy sweatshirt with a VERY tight sports bra, and went down to the studio,. They hadn’t seen me in a long time and I hoped I would just fly under their radar. Please realize that they knew nothing of the transition. 
Anyway, we worked on their songs and near the end of the sessions, they asked if I wanted to come back and play drums. I asked if they would be OK with a girl drummer. They, of course, took that as a refusal on my part but apparently once I “spilled the beans” (and then revived everyone after they all fainted) they decided it was all cool and away we went for the second time. Definitely brave and supportive on their part and it was appreciated.

During a gig.

Monika: How did you become the co-host of The Queer Edge with Jack E. Jett, a popular radio talk show?
Jackie: I was working for Triangle Media which was an LGBT radio and television company out of Palm Springs. I did sports and had a 4 radio hour show every day that was on the internet and live in Seattle. It was called the SPORTS RAGE and we looked at all the issues behind pro and amateur sports.
After Triangle got their television station up and running the CEO asked me to come to do a nightly sports show for him. I did all my own writing and editing and Jack and I hit it off pretty much right away. When he got his own show on the network, he asked me to write for him and then it morphed into a co-host situation. QUEER EDGE STARRING JACK E JETT with JACKIE ENX was born.
Monika: Did you come up with the idea of “Fun with Hypocrisy” yourself? How did you develop your radio shows?
Jackie: No, no… that was 100% Jack’s brainchild. He loved the idiocy in normal life and we would often laugh at the world around us… No shortage of topics there! People be nitwits, ya know?!?!
Monika: Can radio survive the times of TV and the Internet?
Jackie: Believe it or not I prefer the radio to the other two. When you listen to the radio, your imagination fills in many of the blanks. What someone looks like, the colors of the field of play, or anything else that may be part of what you are listening to is imagined by you and described by the person on the radio. It is not spoon-fed, you need to think, you need to be involved if you really want to get something out of it. Lying on my bed in the dark listening to music or a great sports match is quite often better than watching brain dead in front of the television.
As far as the internet, it’s obviously a great tool but to sit and be on FACEBOOK for 6 hours, I just find that absurd. I mean, come on people… There’s a big world to explore… stop watching and get out there!!! I’m of the belief that this whole “social networking” and “connectivity” is actually making us LESS social and we are more DIS-connected. That’s another subject for another time perhaps?
Monika: Did the transition change your artistic perception of the world? What does it mean to be a transgender artist?
Jackie: I wear prettier clothes now. Seriously, I don’t think it did for me but I need to say that many of my longest-running and older friends don’t think I’m very different now than I was before. I watch sports, play music, ride motorcycles, race cars, cheer on Liverpool FC and the SF Giants.
I don’t think my artistic perception has changed either. I have gotten older and I’d like to think I simply matured. Did the transition help that? I’m sure it did but I’ll never know what would have happened if I hadn’t gone through it. I am happy and thankful for all the things I have going in my life.

With her dogs.

One thing I’m especially proud of is I teach young (and older) kids music and I’m unaware of any parent or student being “on guard” or wary of me. I’m simply me. If a parent has pulled their child out of my class because they are “afraid” of my influence on their child or some other “fear”, I am unaware of it.
I truly believe that I am accepted for being a good person whether I’m male, female, or whatever a non-understanding person may consider me. I don’t actually care what people may think of me gender-wise. I spend exactly 0% of my time and effort trying to convince people to think a certain way about me gender-wise. I do care that they respect me as a person.
Monika: Contemporary music has produced a new wave of transgender female artists, just to name a 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 Effect, Namoli Brennet, Sissy Debut, Koko Jones, Jennifer Leitham, and many others. Are we going to see more and more transgender artists in mainstream music?
Jackie: Unfortunately I know none of those names. For me personally, I don’t want to be listened to because I’m a TG person. I’d love you to listen to my music because you like the music. If I hear any of those bands and artists mentioned above and like what they are doing creatively, I would find it a cool and happy bonus that they happen to be a TG person as well. If I like music, painting, poetry, or whatever, I don’t care who or what did it. Race, gender, for that matter species… if the aliens from Mars create something I like, I’m IN!!!
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Jackie: What is the situation? For me, I’m happy and blessed. I don’t get every gig I want, I don’t win every race I enter and not everyone feels I’m attractive. Do you know anyone who does? This can get a little deep here but here’s my thing. I try to be “just another person”. I don’t strut around in micro miniskirts and 5” heels. I don’t wear tons of make-up.
Quite often when I see problems that some of the TG community is having (and I NEVER look, I simply have to almost fall over it in the news) I see problems that were SELF-made. In a perfect world, we would all be accepted for who we feel we are. The problem is this planet called Earth is far from a perfect world.
In my personal opinion, I am a TG … I have learned to accept that very simple fact... I didn’t choose my birth gender and neither did you. I am not ever going to be accepted as a “normal woman” by SOME… Oh well… I have so many more important things I’m involved with than spending all this effort on making someone else think the way I want them to. They want to think I’m a dude? Lol … really? OK then… Good luck with that! Obviously, you are judging me based on things I had nothing to do with. If they want to think I’m TG, well I am TG!!! Why do so many TG people seem to not want to be what they are? “Oh my God, they “read” me… They “read” you as exactly what you truly are. A TG human being. Why is that so horrible?
Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Jackie: I jumped in with both feet about 1994. I actually didn’t know the term “transgendered”. I was reading a newspaper article about a guy who transitioned and it hit me like a lightning bolt. Once I understood what was what, it was time to go… I did try to do it right. I got professional help and took my time.

Doing her radio show in the mid-'90s.

Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Jackie: Nope…
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
Jackie: ALL of them…
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Jackie: Worried about all the usual stuff. My mom, work issues, all the same stuff we all worry about. This is a hard world, adding something “outside the box” can make it harder. The world likes things that it can understand and put on a certain shelf.
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Jackie: I probably don’t know too many. I see very very few movies and haven’t read any TG books. I do have an opinion on daytime television shows like the Maury Povich Show. They don’t care about you as a person or us as a community. And the worst part is we let them do it. We walk like lambs to the slaughter. Why would anyone, ANYONE, go on a TV show, walk down a catwalk in a line of TG women with some genetic women mixed in with the crowd yelling their opinion if whether you are male or female. Are you f@#&ing kidding me?!>!
I think in a nutshell, I’m simply someone who believes that this is a very personal journey. It is not easy, I’m not going to let the media or any other thing that has a vested interest use me, abuse me, or judge me in some twisted way for a small-minded laugh. And I don’t watch anyone else who does allow it. It must be horrible to have a life that leaves you so hungry and needy for attention, that you will let anyone do anything to you so you can get on TV. Part of it is simply where we are as a society. Sad and pathetic.
Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBT communities. Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBT group?
Jackie: I’m so happy you asked me that! I have always thought that we should not be part of that grouping and here is why. L, G, and B are all based on sexual preference. What part of T is sexually based?
I know gay Trans people, I know straight Trans people and I know Bi Trans people. We are a GENDER-based group, not a SEXUALITY-based group and once again, I think this leads to confusion about what and who we are in the eyes of the world.
I want N.O.W. (National Assoc of Women) to fight for me. That is a GENDER-based group. They are fighting for women’s rights. That’s a much better fit for me.
Monika: Is there anyone in the American transgender society whose actions could be compared to what Harvey Milk was doing in the USA in the 60s and 70s for gay activism?
Jackie: I’m sure there are but I don’t know of them…
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Jackie: I’m single but I feel loved by many. I’m not lonely and with all my interests and projects I have a lot going on. I need to add that I am happily single and prefer that to all the drama I see in most relationships.
Being TG has been a challenge in the love department. I haven’t found the right person for me and I simply got to a point where I realized I was pretty satisfied doing my own thing. I’m not going to try and fool someone. I AM A TG. If that is going to cause concern for you, we shouldn’t date. I am not your closet play-thing. I am not something to be trifled with. I am not a “curiosity”. And despite what you may think, being TG does not mean I will drop to my knees at the first hint of interest.
Being TG is NOT a sexual fetish. And no, you can’t “try my heels on”… (Yes I have experienced had ALL of those things.)

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Jackie: Maybe… I think I would rather disappear into the desert of Joshua Tree and watch the sunsets. One never knows…
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Jackie: DO NOT RUSH. DO NOT RUSH. This is not a game; there are no “do-overs” if you mess it up. Getting a vagina does not fix your problems, real life is out there and real life is a challenge for almost everyone, male or female.
PLEASE talk to a psychologist. Go out in the real world in the persona you are going to be. Use a good deal of time to see what life is going to be like. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that this whole journey is too expensive, too emotional, and too harsh for many people.
Get a support group that has experience at this. LISTEN to them. Do NOT surround yourself with only people that tell you what you want to hear. DO NOT RUSH! If you decide to “go”, stay focused. The transition never really ends. It’s the never-ending journey… just like life. Cheers!!!
Monika: Jackie, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Jackie Enx.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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