Gay Pride Month Spotlight: Renee James


Name and occupation:

Renee James, author, writer

How do you show your gay pride?

I’ve been an active member of the transgender community in Chicago for many years. This year I am launching a mainstream suspense novel that is narrated by a transwoman heroine. In addition to a good story, “Coming Out Can Be Murder”, gives non-transgender people the opportunity to experience our issues by identifying with the heroine and sharing our challenges and sensitivities.

Are there any issues within the gay community that you’d like to change?

I would like the transgender segment of the community to become better organized and a more effective partner in the pursuit of equality and justice for all.

What do you think about Obama’s support of gay marriage?

I think it has been measured and pragmatic, and that’s a good thing. In our politically divisive times, partisans on both sides of the political spectrum want to force their will on everyone else, but cramming equality down the throats of the political right would just create the long term war that we have over abortion. Obama’s approach may allow moderate voices in the Republican Party to orchestrate general, bi-partisan support for the proposition of equality for all.

If you could take a magic pill to be “straight”, would you?

No. “Coming Out Can Be Murder” actually started out as a fictional journal I wrote as a way of exploring what my life would have been like if I had transitioned in my late thirties, rather than living in two genders. But even before I began that journal I had reached the conclusion that I wouldn’t change anything about my life, including my gender conundrum. It has been interesting and challenging and fulfilling, and being on the fringes of society in a non-threatening, humanistic way is something that agrees with me.

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