Sunday, April 23, 2006

Tommie Ross

There have been many women, trans and non trans who have inspired and motivated me at various times during my life long journey to become a Phenomenal Transwoman.

From time to time I'll talk about them and the qualities that they possess that I admired so much I've incorporatd them into my own unique expression of womanhood.

I'll start this series off with Tommie Ross.

I was first made aware of her existence courtesy of a 1980 article in the Houston Defender, one of the local African-American newspapers. The article mentioned that she performed at a club in Montrose but declined to give its name or location. I had a pretty good idea where it was and the club's name. Studio 13 on Westheimer Rd.

I rolled up to Studio 13 on a Sunday show night and watched Tommie perform for the first time. Houston during that early 80's time period before the initial wave of HIV/AIDS deaths decimated their ranks was a hotbed of female impersonation. We had Naomi Sims gearing up to win Miss Gay America at the time and Hot Chocolate was about to leave Houston for the bright lights of Las Vegas.

I marveled at Tommie's on stage elegant moves which extended to the way she carried herself off stage. She was cordial to her fans and always presented herself in a regal but not arrogant demeanor. I got the chance to talk to her at a short lived Black Houston GLBT club called Uptown-Downtown in 1990. I discovered that she's not only quite intelligent but plays a mean game of pool. She'd heard about me and seen me around the clubs. Tommie is a person that I always wanted to explore the possibilty of forming a friendship with but my increasing involvement with state and national level transgender politics and her pageant schedule kept that from happening to my chagrin.

She's living in the Memphis, TN area now and has gone on to capture the Miss Continental title in addition to countless others in her legendary career.

Thanks to that Defender article, I got the opportunity to discover a window to the African-American transgender community, meet a quality person and began traveling that winding road that led to me becoming a Phenomenal Transwoman in my own right.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

I just saw Tommie Ross in Savannah last weekend. GORGEOUS, smooth, looks you straight in the eye.

What surprises me is that she was around when Hot Chocolate and Naomi S were here in Houston. I thought Tommie was about 30-35, stretching it at 35. Wow.

Class act.