Trans Activist and Pioneer Andrea James Offers Important Advice To Trans* Americans

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Andrea James and James St. James © WoWPresents

Andrea James is one of my favorite figures in activism and media. She is one of the first Trans women that I became aware of, back in my formative years, clumsily feeling my way through my identity. The reason she’s always resonated with me is her ability to speak without being condescending or randomly spewing forth inspirational quotes like Bob Ross painting “Happy Trees.” She could though, and I’d be fine with it. I love Bob Ross. However, her activism wasn’t limited to college speaking tours or writing books, but in shaping the way Trans people are represented in media- often by self producing content accessible to Trans identifying audiences across the spectrum.

It must have been over a decade ago where I first stumbled upon her work. I loosely recall her running a website with voice training and providing pathways to Trans related resources. It was one of the first websites I discovered in my late night searches that didn’t inundate me with pop-up ads that embarrassed me in front of my cat.

She was also beautiful, and as a young person, I’d been taught- conditioned- to believe you could not be Transgender and attractive. We were all like that creepy killer from from Silence of The Lambs, or those angry looking women doused in leather and spikes from those pop-ups.

She popped up on my television years later in a television show on Logo, which I recently wrote about, since 2018 marks Ten years since it’s debut. That show, TransAmerican Love Story also introduced me to the delightful Calpernia Addams, who was her best friend.

Incidentally, she also served as producer for that groundbreaking series and has since gone on to tell stories from the broad Trans* perspective as a writer, producer and director.

Andrea’s commitment to creating Trans content- for people like me- growing up in the midwest with little access to a greater world beyond my county lines was an important to my sense of isolation. I now possessed and awareness that there were people out there like me, and they were thriving.

To add to the list of Andrea’s accomplishemnt’s, well, if you’re a Tinder user and have opened the app to find you’re greeted by less of this lately:

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I was blocked multiple times before deleting Tinder.

We have Andrea James to thank for it.

Today, Andrea popped up in my recommended videos on YouTube. As a guest of former NYC club kid and pop culture Icon James St. James, she sat down to talk about issues relative to the Trans* community in the current political climate and suggests that, as perilous as these times might be, “The pendulum always swings back the other direction,” James says to James St. James… that’s a lot of James’ for one story. She also discusses working closely with Tinder to improve access and reduce instances of its automated system banning Trans identifying individuals for being unjustly reported. Thanks Andrea! I was banned more often than I could use it, so bravo!

It’s nice to have a little inspiration to contrast the anxiety inducing, nonstop chaos that we’re slapped about the head with every time we turn on social media or the local news.

Have a listen, take notes and enjoy.

Written by

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright phaylens@gmail.com https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co

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