In this collection of interviews, Joe Wenke focuses on the issues and challenges faced by the LGBTQI community. With the drive toward marriage equality going strong—and hopefully ending in the Supreme Court this summer—Wenke wants to emphasize the other battles that need to be fought and the conversations that need to keep happening.
Wenke came together with 18 leading agents of change in the community. The book transcribes the conversations that he has with each of them about an issue that they are passionate about. The list of conversationalists include Gisele Alicea, aka Gisele Xtravaganza, trans fashion model; Elegance Bratton, filmmaker; Hida Viloria, chairperson of the Organisation Intersex International; Kevin Fisher-Paulson, author and captain with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department; and Rabbi Amy Bernstein, spiritual leader and community organizer.
Each conversation is unique and tailored to each person’s experience as a member of the community. Wenke and Alicea talk about her experience of being discovered on the street by an agent and asked to model. They talk about her decision to be open about being a trans woman in a field that might not accept it, and they get into her time with the ballroom scene and becoming the Mother of House Xtravaganza. With Bratton, Wenke dives into the film Pier Kids and the struggles faced by homeless youth who identify as LGBT. They talk about Bratton’s experience being homeless and the relationship with his mother that led to him joining the military. Viloria talks about her experience being an intersex person, and what exactly that means. They discuss the medical field’s view of intersex individuals, as well as the way medical terminology may be causing indirect discrimination. Wenke asks Fisher-Paulson about his experience fostering infant triplets with his partner before they were abruptly taken away from them. They discuss the way one social worker destroyed a family and community that the children had inspired because he didn’t believe gay men should raise children.
With each new conversation, a different aspect of LGBTQI culture comes to light. It presents topics that range from spirituality to medicine to economics to family, each area showing a conversation that needs to be had in the public and legal sphere in order to reach true equality.
The Human Agenda by Joe Wenke is now available from Trans Uber (http://transuber.com/).