Monday, June 17, 2013

TransGriot Ten Questions Interview -Sabrina Samone

Haven't done a TransGriot Ten Questions interview so far this year and it's past time I started doing them again.  

This one features the new girl on the trans blogging block in South Carolina's Sabrina Samone, the creative force behind TransMusePlanet

Her blog is fast becoming another place to go for insightful commentary on a wide variety of issues inside and outside the trans community

So it's not only time for you to get to know Sabrina, but have her answer the TransGriot's Ten Questions

1-You're originally from New Orleans.  What's it like growing up trans in a city that has a gender bending undercurrent to it?

SS-Yes, I was in born in New Orleans, but left at such a young age, at five, so I doubt it affected me environmentally but it was obviously in the water, right? LOL. My father’s family can trace their roots there to before the Louisiana Purchase, so that African/Creole blood still runs deep. Whenever I get the chance to go back, it’s the only place that ever truly feels like home to me and it does have an infectious LGBT vibe and you can’t help but be affected by it though. Sadly, like here in Charleston, outside of the area that liberal attitude totally disappears.

2- Did you have any trans role models growing up and if you did, who were they?

SS-Not in the beginning no, I grew up in Hartsville, SC, a small town an hour southeast of Charlotte, NC and I didn’t even know there was a term, Trans, until around until my late teens when I heard of Dana International, before that it was just RuPaul, who was beautiful but I only saw him as a man dressing for entertainment purpose only and really couldn’t relate to that. The movie The Crying Game came to my town and that was an eye opener, then I moved to Atlanta and met an older Trans-woman who became like a mentor to me and kept me out of the trouble that so many young Trans-women of color were finding themselves in. I wasn’t an easy nut to crack either, so she was a saint for sticking by me, LOL.

3- In terms of your own transition, is there any part of aspect of it that with hindsight you wish you could change?

SS-Physically I’m very glad I didn’t follow the crowd and go for the quick, cheap and easy silicone route. No disrespect to anyone who has, but it was very important to me to be as natural as possible and that meant being patient and let the hormones do their job, along with a strict diet of mainly vegetables, fruit and fish, for me.

My greatest disappointment was that I did follow the crowd at the time in where looking “fabulous” or doing the next gender illusion show was the only issue. A better education was never as important, so now I find myself in my thirties playing catch up. Luckily I did have two years of college before transition, so that feeling of finishing has always loomed over my head.

4- You presently live in South Carolina.   What's your assessment of where the local trans population is in terms of building a cohesive community?

SS-For years her in SC, a Trans-girl of color’s options had been limited to being a show girl, sex worker or at best a hairdresser, if you wasn’t planning or could live stealth. As long as those you worked with didn’t know, you were ok pretty much in any profession, especially here in Charleston, which has a large “ex-Yankee” population. It’s a lot easier here than anywhere else in the state and I’ve lived all over it, which is probably why you have a better organization of Trans advocates and supporters here.

The C.A.T.S (Charleston Area Transgender Support), has made great strides here in reaching out to all within in the Trans community, that exclusion of “certain types of trans people”, is really not accepted here and that’s what I appreciate the most about it. Outside of Charleston you can still meet people in SC, who has never even heard the word Transgender and if you mention TS for short, they will assume you’re talking about a tropical storm. Ideal for living stealth, but can be very lonely.

Thankfully things are improving dramatically, there is a growing network of Trans groups throughout the state within the past ten years and a few at the helm of the LGBT state organizations are doing great work lobbying for the Transgender Community and bridging that gap that’s been a part of LGBT culture for too long, so there’s a lot of positive hope for the next generation.

5- Do you think that transpeople who live in blue states far too often have knee-jerk reactions to transpeople who live in red states?
SS-I think so.  There are pockets in every region that have their more conservative and liberal sections. Even states like New York and California have areas that are as against LGBT people as much as some parts of SC and TX. Just like New Orleans seems to be separated from the rest of Louisiana, Charleston is to South Carolina. It really depends in a red state what part you’re in, just as it does in a blue state. Syracuse, NY is not as liberal as NYC either.

6- You are Queen of the Universe with unlimited power to permanently fix whatever ails humanity.  What would be your first act in exercising your newfound powers and why?

SS-Well actually I would pass on that amount of power and let fate work out humanities problems. I think one of the greatest gifts God has given us is the power of free will. If I could just wave a magic wand and make the world join hands and sing together as one, it would be only temporary because I think the nature of man is to seek out his own free will and things may go to being worse than before, but I’d wish for more hope and togetherness for all in mankind, with hope and faith all is possible.

7- What are some of the projects you're currently working on?
SS-Currently I’m waiting to get in the nursing program for my RN after finishing my prerequisites, that’s number one priority and hoping I start in January 2014. There is such a list to get in, if not I may be looking at nursing programs in other areas, so that’s a big question mark these days.

Before the end of this year I hope to have my first novel, “The Premiere” on e-book. A local producer friend and I are still working on scheduling, to start work on a documentary. Unfortunately this summer my mother is going through two knee replacement surgeries, one down and one to go at this point and she is currently in rehab. Most of my summer will be spent between here in Charleston and back at her home in Hartsville to check on her.

8-  What motivated you to start your blog and what are your likes and dislikes about it?

SS-I simply started TMP as a place to practice on improving my writing skills. I had been a fan of your blog and a couple of other trans-women, just to keep up with what was going on in our community. When I decided to do a blog, my first instinct was to show my fictional side, but I was so influenced by what others like Cheryl Courtney-Evans, Janet Mock and you had to say about what was going and on the divide in the community I decided to do the same.

The other trans blogs to me only seemed to focus on “their day to day hormone regime” and “look at my transition progress pictures.” Everywhere I looked it seemed a vast majority of the blogs were only discussing taking a pill and its effects and I was baffled to why they’re not discussing what life is like being Transgender, how we’re treated in society, why is there even a divide within the community. To me, these issues were so obvious and only you and few others were even touching on the subject.

I know those type of blogs about hormones have an important informational role to play, but once one starts HRT there’s a whole life adjustment that’s going to happen ready or not.  I felt there’s too few blogs preparing the vast majority of the younger Transgender Community members for that. and so I decided to be a part of the discussion that questions our community.

If I can sum up what I feel Transmuseplanet is about; is me asking not only myself, but all my fellow Trans sisters and brothers to question things within our community, question the lack of unity, togetherness and understanding. I don’t have to tell anyone life can be difficult as a transgender person, but I will question why any other transperson or LGB person would make life even more difficult for a fellow transperson.

Regardless of race, religion, social economical status, nationality or religion, yes all Trans people differ, but the one thing we have in common is being Transgender. Unity is the only way to earn respect and equality, not only in this country but the world. It troubles me that someone with a masters degree, a home and a nice 401k, that decided to start transition at 30+, after they’ve accomplished all this, disrespects or degrades a young trans-woman of color (or otherwise), that was kicked out of her home at 17, had to drop out of high school to save her life and found herself on or in porn, be ostracized from taking part in a community that needs all the numbers it can get to fight for equality.

We don’t have the luxury of the Women’s Liberation movement that condemns such women.  We simply don’t have the numbers to be feminists with our noses stuck in the air. I say on TMP and believe in the unity and duality of being Trans.

9-Let's flip the question script for a moment.   What's the one question you'd like to ask the TransGriot you're dying to get an answer to?

SS-Probably my biggest question to you is; how do you do it, LMAO?   I notice you tackle the very negative issues at the heart of our community and often go head to head with those like the radfem hate group and others with such negative and damaging comments that if only if they took to the time to realize, undermines all of us.

If you’re white and Trans and can’t have support for black Trans people, how the heck do they think mainstream cis-gender society is going to take any of us seriously?  The same goes for Trans-men who can’t do away with any misogynistic attitudes against Trans-women.

I think you handle those issues well and any pointers would help LOL.

10-Where do you see the Black trans community in the next ten years?
SS-Well, thankfully with all what is going on with young transgender kids, I’d like to see and hope that young Trans kids can be accepted and supported by the black family. Transition much sooner in life; go to college and instead of living a life as a trans woman to just be a woman. That’s what I hope, but until then we as trans people of color have to put the pressure on our families, and the African-American community to understand and be more accepting of their transgender children, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, niece and nephew.

I’d also like to see our young Trans black women take better care of their health, protect themselves from HIV and to respect themselves more. It’s not always what you do, but how you do it. There’s a lot that rush to get illegal silicone injections and are consumed with beauty.  I’d also hope we move beyond looks and judging each other on merits of beauty alone, but strive to be more than a pretty face.


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