When I was a kid, I used to say I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. The summer I stumbled upon an old typewriter my grandma had in her spare room was the first time I felt like I could do it (although, in all fairness, I thought all I needed to be a writer was a typewriter and a fancy sounding title). It was dusty; hidden under a ratty dish towel and some of the keys were sticky, but I didn't care. I happily slid in crisp pieces of folder paper through the feed roller and pretended I was writing my first novel. I wrote and wrote and wrote, even if no one else was reading. And even now, I've learned to write for me. If anyone else reads my work, I count that as a blessing (and a bonus).
True story: I started at Grooby as a photo retoucher. That basically lasted all of one day before Steven Grooby realized my skills were better suited for writing (and thank goodness, I was not cut out to be a retoucher!) and he completely overhauled my job responsibilities. I cannot thank him enough for that. Back then he told me maybe/hopefully he'd find me writing work someday and today, well, today I'm proud to announce that I'm the new editor of Transformation Magazine. I worked my way through the ranks at Grooby during the last decade doing a little bit of everything: blogging, website updates, social media, marketing strategy, brand building, and running our largest event, the Transgender Erotica Awards, here in Los Angeles.
These opportunities were not handed to me - I worked hard for them, and generally without an expectation of anything in return. More importantly for me to point out, however, is that I'm here because there were people who took a chance on me, supported me, and mentored me throughout my career.
When I was a kid, I used to think my name was said in the introduction of "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang. There's a little interlude in the beginning where you hear a group of people talking and once as I kid, I swear I heard my name. I remember exactly where I was at the time too - my mother was driving us to my grandparents house and I had just waved at my Grandpa as we passed by to park the car. For years I just assumed I was part of the song, until one day I listened to it and didn't hear the familiar sound of my name. I had a movie-moment just then and pieced it all together: the day I heard the song in my mother's car, it was my Grandpa calling out to me from the front yard. To this day, I hear the song as I did as a kid and it makes me smile.
For the last few years, Fran (pictured above) and I have an unofficial tradition of dancing together on stage during the TEAs closing number performed by my other very lovely friend, Hudsy Hawn. It's a cathartic, celebratory moment, and this past year it was no different. Hudsy did a stellar and appropriate cover of "Celebration" and between verses, I told her how much this song meant to me.
I don't often have moments where my personal and professional life fit together in a way that feels serendipitous, but that night was different. It was such a lovely moment to be dancing around on stage with Fran, singing along to "Celebration" with Hudsy, and jumping around and hugging so many people I've come to love and admire throughout the years.
I wrote my Editor's Letter in Issue #101 as a call for inclusion, a permanent open invitation to anyone who wants to join me on this crazy adventure ahead. Please know there will always be space wherever I'm sitting, and if not, I will make room for you.