When We Rise: A Wake-Up Call

About two weeks ago, I finally sat down to watch the historical retelling of the gay civil rights movement in the form of ABC’s “When We Rise” created by Oscar-winning director, Dustin Lance Black, and inspired by Cleve Jones’s book of the same title. From the moment I saw the trailer, I knew exactly what I was getting and counted myself fortunate that I had even heard of this mini-series as I don’t watch cable television anymore. However, what I didn’t expect is how much it would impact & touch my soul. I covered my feelings on activism in my previous entry, so I’ll be sticking to sharing my thoughts on show from my perspective as a trans woman.

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“When We Rise” focuses largely on four activists who became integral to the forward motion of the LGBT civil rights movement from the late Sixties into the Nineties: Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, Ken Jones, and Cecilla Chung. The major events touched on were violent discrimination, women’s rights, the AIDS/HIV epidemic, and the future of activism. However, if we are being honest here, Cecilla’s presence as the “T” element was largely silent throughout this series. This did not upset me, as I’m aware that that timeline was meant to highlight a different era unlike ours today. Being gay/lesbian was the major conflict of the period and “When We Rise” does a phenomenal job at blending directing with actual footage from key protests and events serving to educate and drive the very true realities of pain and loss home.

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The actors and filming showcased in both the past and near present periods of the series were all wonderful and largely believable to me. I connected with them and almost believed that they were the actual people they were portraying. This is especially the case for Guy Pearce (Cleve) who served as the narrative centerpiece of the series. There is a sense that every actor who brought “When We Rise” to life had a strong emotional investment in this production. After watching various interviews featuring Dustin and Ivory Aquino (Cecilla), there is no doubt that the direction of this series was meant to open the eyes of those beyond just the LGBTQ community. Not to mention, the notable star power of Rosie O’ Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg helped elevate the promotional push towards a broad audience.

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As a whole, this series served to educate those unaware of the historical battles fought and won by real people for the sake of gay civil rights and inspire the same fiery passion for the next generation of activists to keep fighting. “One Struggle. One Fight” was the resounding theme throughout the series. This goal is what made the minimal transgender representation a non-issue for me. There was so much I didn’t know about the past battles fought on behalf of the LGBTQ community that this series opened my eyes about many narratives and individuals that everyone should be aware of. Most of all, it made me consider my place in the fight for universal human rights and whether my actions to build my own pedestal as an outspoken transgender female is enough.

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To me, “When We Rise” is as much for the “LGB” as it is for the “TQ” – a solid reminder of how much progress we have made by working together rather than individually. As transgender civil rights have been front and center in the media, I believe we need this sense of cohesive love and pooling of resources within the community now more than ever to continue the fight and raise tangible awareness that we are real people deserving of equal care and protection as any other human.

As of this post’s publishing, “When We Rise” can be streamed via ABC’s website or through Hulu. I truly feel it’s incredibly important for as many people to consume this special piece of media as possible. My sincere hope is that others will feel compelled to give this a proper watch for themselves.

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Why Are You Still Here?

According to Wordpress.com, I registered this subdomain NINE years ago. This kind of blows my mind. Nine years ago, I was a Sophomore college student majoring in Interactive Multimedia (Professional Writing / Digital Media) at the very beginning of my questioning days and just discovering the world of blogging. Before that, I was a LiveJournal user regurgitating garbage like everyone else. This blog has evolved many times over and people have come and gone. I wanted to take a moment to revisit MMem’s history and say thank you to those who, for some reason, keep coming back.

Meganekko Memoirs first began on Blogspot.com and I remember those early days well of clawing through shitty CSS code. WordPress was up-and-coming & due to the potential of wider visibility and cleaner presentation, I exported all of my entries to this subdomain “meganelove” that, at the time, fed directly into my anime obsession and fetish for kawaii girls with glasses. It wasn’t all weeaboo-driven though; I figured cute anime girls would be a good way to hook people into reading it. I was mostly wrong about that. Funny enough, it didn’t matter anyway.

As my entries became increasingly more explicit – believe me, it’s really dirty in the pre-2010 archives – I fell into a cycle of making specific entries private for my two friends to read, to making the whole blog private, to opening it up again. After many years, graduating, and being a working adult, I had no way of knowing who was or wasn’t reading and, after many years, still hadn’t established any solid goals for the blog itself. So rather than stressing myself out between trying to care and not caring at all about readership or content focus, I stopped caring completely and, after a while, stopped updating indefinitely.

My life started to drastically change in 2013 and little by little I returned, writing here again about gender dysphoria, sexuality, transgender questioning and the like – what all of my past entries had vaguely eluded to. After beginning my transition and gaining ground in my gender identity, I finally found a purpose for MMem to dedicate myself to sharing my story publicly through this blog. My pre-2010 archives are extremely private and revealing, but just as necessary in giving a referential backdrop to the internal machinations of a low-middle class, black, transgender female in America. My fully realized goal would be for researchers to find valuable, telling proof within this blog to further the validation and societal acceptance of transgender people. Maybe even write about me, if I don’t formally publish my own memoir first.

“If you don’t know now you know.” – Notorious BIG

So, to YOU, the Reader, who has been reading for years, decided to start reading recently, or left and then decided to read again once I started writing again…I humbly ask you: Why are you still here? 

Whatever the reason is, I want to sincerely thank you for being a part of what I’m now trying to build. Honestly, I still feel like I’m writing to no one in cyberspace, but I do know there are some of you out there stalking me under the radar. Occasionally validating me with a Like or, bless your heart, a COMMENT!…In all seriousness though, thank you. I need you. And I want to know you’re out there. I’d love to try ideas, make suggestions, and just be a lot more inclusive in what I offer up here. So, let’s give it a try…

I’m considering investing in an official domain name for this blog & moving forward with attempting to reach and educate as many people as I can about what it means to be black and transgender. However, there’s no point in taking any action if I don’t already have a reader base I can count on to join me on the adventure.

This is where you come in; minimal effort needed on your part.

If you’re still here and like what I do, please let me know you’re out there with a LIKE or COMMENT. By doing so, you’re letting me know you exist and that what I’m aiming to do isn’t falling on deaf ears. I don’t expect much, but I’m thankful either way to anyone who has read even one of my entries.

Writing for professionals

Two weeks ago, I penned my first article exclusively for LinkedIn titled Five Basic Techniques That Saved My Voiceover Career. I was pretty apprehensive about publishing something that was meant to help professionals, while using my transgender narrative to support its basis. All in all, being savvy enough to not immediately scare people away with putting “transgender” in the title was a win for me.

Here’s a excerpt highlighting the first technique I share:

 

1. Always Be Aware Of Your Breathing

Obviously, we all breathe naturally, but it’s a little more than that. Air flow is the basis for all manner of vocalization. Without enough breath vibrating your vocal chords, your sound will generally come out rough and gravely. Be sure that you are always taking enough air in and expelling it gradually as you start and end your conscious statement.

You can read the rest of my post without needing a LinkedIn account here. If you do happen to have a LinkedIn account and enjoyed my article, please Like or Share. Or you can just Like or Share this WordPress post. Thanks in advance, as either or is much appreciated. Comments are too.

Hoping to discover more angles to approach voiceover from, as well as the human connection, as it relates to business professionals. Have to keep putting my B.A. in Professional Writing to good use somehow, you know?