Hello Emmy, thanks for taking time out for this interview with Pride matters and chat about yourself and your work.
Could you briefly tell Pride matters about yourself?
I grew up openly gay in a white straight town, but couldn’t be anyone but me. At the age of 17 after watching a guest on “The Joan Rivers Show,” I decided my destiny was to be a transwoman and began writing my book. It wasn’t until I was 39 that I was able to financially support myself and come out. It’s been the most exhilarating and important decision of my life. My friends, family, and coworkers have been 1000% supportive. My work actually interviewed me for our intranet which led to me being interviewed with an industry magazine. Once I began my transition last year I decided to revise my book. My favorite part of my transition has been creating this trilogy.
What is the trilogy about?
Classic love story of boy meets girl. They fall in love. Internal forces tear them apart. Girl meets another boy. First boy returns. And the struggle between both boys begins. Did I mention the girl use to be a boy herself?
The Ice Princess is much more than your average trans love triangle. Set against the Hollywood backdrop, Desiré defies stereotypes as well as ascends on her journey into acting while balancing the loves of her life, her two families, and her sanity. The sequels are The Family Portraits & The It Girl.
Who is your favourite character and tell us more about them?
My fave character is Desiré. It was nice being able to live through her and create a world around her. She is a black transwoman whose family and friends support her like me, but unlike me she’s had some REALLY tough choices to make. She’s part me, part whom I’ve always wanted to be, and part whom I never want to be. She’s flawed and sometimes unaware of those flaws, but mostly she wears her heart on her sleeve which I can appreciate. As the trilogy evolves you see her grow and change as a character as well as her priorities.
My second favorite character is Joseph. He’s basically my version of a unicorn. The guy every trans woman has always wanted to encounter. Someone who accepts and loves you despite yourself. I love writing his internal struggles and love for Desiré.
Do you see yourself in any of the characters?
Every character I create is a small part of me. Desiré is obviously the biggest part of me. She’s whom I speak my hopes, fears, and reality through. But Joseph and Shayne are a part of me too.
As a writer it’s scary, but I have to tap into the part of me that’s dormant and not so pretty. The anger and hate, the judgmental and opinionated, the weak and scared. Almost every character I create has the tiniest sliver of me in them, but after a while they take on a life of their own and become their own voice
Do you think there is enough support for projects out there like yours and if not how as a community can we make it better?
I do not feel there’s enough projects for trans characters at all. It sucks because just like any other group we can play multiple facets. We could see trans characters as wives, mistresses, grandparents, friends, attorneys, doctors, teachers, sex workers, all of that because that’s whom we are yet Hollywood REFUSES to show us as anything other than simply sex worker mistresses.
How do we address the lack of trans characters on mainstream media?
Instead of casting the same known Hollywood blond actresses for a trophy wife role why not a trans woman? Can you imagine the impact if we cast Candis Cayne in Emily Blunt’s role in “The Devil Wears Prada” or Alexander Grey in Yaya Dacosta’s role in “Whitney Houston?” Can you imagine? No one wants to “normalize” us. And that’s the biggest problem. We can never be anything more than an afterthought if no one makes us a priority. They say they support LGBTQIA yet NEVER cast us.
When I say the impact I mean the impact on LGBTQIA youth. The kids KILLING themselves because they don’t have role models and think about, it’ll never get better. We need to show them it will.
So what’s next?
I am hoping to help Laverne Cox carry the torch. I want to create more transgender characters in literature but also move towards more roles in film and TV. It’s my responsibility as an author to now help my community and youth. I’ve had such a wonderful transition; I need to help others see the light. If I can prevent one person from harming themselves I have accomplished a lot; if I can prevent more than one I now found my reason for being born.