Queer Voices

August 9th 2023 Queer Voices

August 22, 2023 Queer Voices
August 9th 2023 Queer Voices
Queer Voices
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Queer Voices
August 9th 2023 Queer Voices
Aug 22, 2023
Queer Voices

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Embark on an enchanted journey with us as we spotlight the glitz, glamour, and behind-the-scenes of the wedding planning industry with the innovative Shaun Gray of Shaun Gray Events. Passionate about celebrating love in all its diversity, Sean peels back the curtain on his trailblazing approach, leveraging social media to redefine what a 'dream wedding' can look like. Discover how he is shattering the traditional mold and using platforms like TikTok to spotlight love stories that color outside the lines.

Guest: Shaun Gray
https://www.shaungrayevents.com


This episode also illuminates the vibrant world of Houston-based artist, Max Xandaux. With a creative spirit that knows no bounds, Max offers an intimate glimpse into her new EP, Candy Lady, interweaving personal narratives and her unshakeable connection to Star Wars. Hear the tale of her journey as a trans individual, and be inspired as she courageously blazes her path in the music industry.

Guest: Max Xandaux
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN-dFmugDIz0Y80ad2_2RbA

Finally, we're not shying away from the hard-hitting issues. We're taking a magnifying glass to the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights and gender-affirming care, analyzing recent legal developments and their rippling effects on the community. Join us as we welcome two new voices to our team, Wendy Taylor and Joel Tatum, ready to inject fresh perspectives into these critical conversations. Don't miss this captivating episode of Queer Voices, your gateway to the beautiful tapestry of diversity, creativity, and equality.

Queer Voices airs in Houston Texas on 90.1FM KPFT and is heard as a podcast here. Queer Voices hopes to entertain as well as illuminate LGBTQ issues in Houston and beyond. Check out our socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/QueerVoicesKPFT/ and
https://www.instagram.com/queervoices90.1kpft/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Embark on an enchanted journey with us as we spotlight the glitz, glamour, and behind-the-scenes of the wedding planning industry with the innovative Shaun Gray of Shaun Gray Events. Passionate about celebrating love in all its diversity, Sean peels back the curtain on his trailblazing approach, leveraging social media to redefine what a 'dream wedding' can look like. Discover how he is shattering the traditional mold and using platforms like TikTok to spotlight love stories that color outside the lines.

Guest: Shaun Gray
https://www.shaungrayevents.com


This episode also illuminates the vibrant world of Houston-based artist, Max Xandaux. With a creative spirit that knows no bounds, Max offers an intimate glimpse into her new EP, Candy Lady, interweaving personal narratives and her unshakeable connection to Star Wars. Hear the tale of her journey as a trans individual, and be inspired as she courageously blazes her path in the music industry.

Guest: Max Xandaux
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN-dFmugDIz0Y80ad2_2RbA

Finally, we're not shying away from the hard-hitting issues. We're taking a magnifying glass to the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights and gender-affirming care, analyzing recent legal developments and their rippling effects on the community. Join us as we welcome two new voices to our team, Wendy Taylor and Joel Tatum, ready to inject fresh perspectives into these critical conversations. Don't miss this captivating episode of Queer Voices, your gateway to the beautiful tapestry of diversity, creativity, and equality.

Queer Voices airs in Houston Texas on 90.1FM KPFT and is heard as a podcast here. Queer Voices hopes to entertain as well as illuminate LGBTQ issues in Houston and beyond. Check out our socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/QueerVoicesKPFT/ and
https://www.instagram.com/queervoices90.1kpft/

Speaker 1:

Hello everybody, this is Queer Voices, a home-produced podcast that has grown out of a radio show that's been on the air in Houston, texas, for several decades. This week, wendy Taylor, who is joining our team, talks with Sean Gray about his wedding planning business.

Speaker 2:

If you can't see yourself in your vendor team, your wedding is too important to sacrifice it. Keep looking. Do not just settle for a wedding vendor based off of a good deal or that your friend used them and loved them Really. Don't take for granted the opportunity to connect with these people because they're going to put on the most important day of your life as we like to sell.

Speaker 1:

Joel Tatum, who is also joining our team, talks with local transgender artist Max Zendo.

Speaker 3:

The Star Wars comics. He was called Dark Empire. It was a whole set of comics that came out of that look and I just kind of felt inspired, like I think that would look good on me performing. So I just kind of mixed that with a dress that Jen Martini had made Also. It was like a huge dress. So I kind of merged the two looks together.

Speaker 1:

Brian Levinca and Deborah Moncrief-Bell discuss the new talent and creative changes coming to Queer Voices this fall and we have news wrap from this way out Queer Voices starts now.

Speaker 4:

You're listening to Queer Voices. I'm Wendy Taylor. Today we're going to be talking to Sean Gray with Sean Gray Events. He's a local wedding planner here in the LGBTQIA Plus community. Sean, how are you today?

Speaker 2:

I am so good, wendy, how are?

Speaker 4:

you, I'm doing well. I heard that you are nominated for an OutSmart Magazine Gayest and Greatest award. Do you want to tell me about that?

Speaker 2:

I was very excited to find that out. My company, sean Gray Events LLC, is nominated for Best Wedding and Event Planner for the OutSmart, gayest and Greatest Readers Choice Awards for 2023. It's my third time being nominated and I won the award back in 2016. So I'm back to reclaim my title.

Speaker 4:

What can you tell us about Sean Gray Events?

Speaker 2:

I've been an independent wedding planner here in the Houston area since 2011. Serving all love stories. It's very important to me when I started my company that every wedding that you would see in magazines are represented in mainstream media. They all look the same Same couple. You can just check out the scenery and you're seeing the same thing. And so as I evolved and got better at the craft, when I came back under Sean Gray Events LLC last year, I made a commitment to myself and everybody that if love is love and y'all means all and all that great stuff, then we were going to show what all of those love stories look like and not just one particular mold of what a wedding day can like. And so I really pride myself in trying to push not only myself but the entire industry, that representation matters, and we can't expect our couples tomorrow to be excited about our work if they can't see themselves in our work today.

Speaker 4:

What can you tell us about getting into event planning? What got you into planning weddings?

Speaker 2:

I was living in Reno, nevada, and I was in non-profit and political management and my parents had retired to Houston. I'm Texas native, born in Austin. My parents had retired to Houston in 2011 and I decided about a year after that that I would come down and have the good years left with them. So I moved down to Houston and thought, since those jobs that I'd done before weren't really transferable from state to state, I thought, well, what did I like most about those jobs? And it was putting on the press, events and the gallows and I thought, well, why not just be a wedding and event planner myself? And, between us, I had never even stepped foot into a wedding, even as a guest, before starting my wedding and event planning career, so it was definitely a learning curve, but I wouldn't trade it for anyone.

Speaker 4:

Can you tell us about how the latest Supreme Court ruling for the website designing business is affecting your business as a wedding planner?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's affecting my business. First, I want to say how ridiculous it is that we are still having these conversations, both in our court system and in congressional law, surrounding trying to restrict the rights that were already afforded to us. It's ridiculous that we're back here fighting once again just to be treated like every other American citizen. So a couple of weeks ago, when the Supreme Court ruling came down, I thought to myself okay, this is a perfect, exact perfect opportunity for the associations that so many of the weddings and event industry professionals subscribe to. This was really going to be their opportunity to show that, like they stand in solidarity for all of their members, and not just members who can hide behind a sham religious standing in order to discriminate and spread their hate that they were going to stand up and put those DEI dollars to work and say you know what, not in our house. If you want to discriminate, you can go do that somewhere else, but we won't let you be an actual member in good standing with these associations.

Speaker 2:

I thought that was a simple way that the industry could, for once, stand up and like, do something right. I was going around asking my colleagues who are in those associations like what's going on and I kept hearing oh yeah, well, you know, they just point to their bylaws and say that you know these things. We don't stand for discrimination and we'll take every step to ensure that it's not in our members. And I'm like, okay, that just sounds like a BS answer. What do you actually do? And so, when I couldn't get an answer, I decided to start a petition to make those associations stand up and either reaffirm their policies or have a firm stance on what those policies would look like if they were ever faced with them.

Speaker 2:

Because it's easy, wendy. It's easy to say, oh, that doesn't you know, that's going on over there. That's not how we do it here in our market. And then as soon as one pops up, then that'll breed the opportunity for more to pop up. And you know, in the weddings and events industry we celebrate, we don't hate. And so I started that petition to get those associations to say something. And so far, since I've started, we have right over a hundred signatures and I've had one of those associations that I can see and point to have stood up and made a public statement against the Supreme Court decision. But they're the only ones, and I would say there's six or seven associations that operate on a national level that have a little more muscle. Their silence says something.

Speaker 4:

Where can they find the petition, if they're interested?

Speaker 2:

You can go to virtualshaungrayeventscom and from there you'll see a button at the top that says End Discrimination Now and it'll take you to the petition that's hosted on changeorg.

Speaker 4:

What are some of the other things that you're doing to protect our community, to assure an inclusive experience in the wedding and events industry?

Speaker 2:

I recently sought legal assistance to have a new clause put in the agreements for all new Sean Gray events clients and an amendment for those who are currently clients of ours, and that is we have a zero tolerance on discrimination, public discrimination. So what that means is when you come to me, wendy, you've been around for a minute. When you come to a wedding planner, it's not entirely outside of the norm to already have a couple vendors that you've booked before you got to me. Or through your own research and discovery, you find vendors that you may want to work with that possibly I haven't worked with or didn't recommend to you.

Speaker 2:

The new language in our agreement says if that happens and that vendor publicly discriminates against class of people based off of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, and you did everything you could to try to weed that out, meaning you were thorough in your discovery conversations with the vendor to make sure that they didn't have a closed minded stance like that. If you did that and yet you still went on and hired them, we can walk away with no penalty to us and you will have to pay us for any work that was completed up until that point. You know, if I can't get the big associations to do something and protect our colleagues who are newer in business in markets that don't get a lot of attention from seeing this hate pop up and spread around them. I can protect myself and my clients by ensuring and, quite frankly, forcing that they don't work with vendors who publicly discriminate, because there should be no place for people like that in our industry.

Speaker 4:

You keep mentioning these associations. Can you tell me what types of associations you're referring to?

Speaker 2:

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be the Houston chapter president of the International Live Events Association, which is an international association with chapters in most markets nationally and a substantial amount internationally. What that association did is allow DJs, stationers, wedding and event planners, venues etc to come together and network with each other and get ideas from each other but also have programmed educational events, monthly, quarterly, etc. Centers who are in the events industry pay an annual membership to that association's headquarters and then also they pay monthly ticketed prices for those education events. You see associations like that in the National Association of Catering and Events, which just had their national conference in Dallas last week. Ilya's having theirs in San Antonio later in August. You have the Association of Bridal Consultants. You have the Weddings, wedding Industry Professionals Association. It's any body of colleagues, vendors in the weddings and events space coming together. That's our association's internet show.

Speaker 4:

So you talk about vendors. I know you have an extensive list of vendors across all things wedding and events. Do you have a specific list of wedding efficiency? Do you do destination weddings?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I just got back from you mentioned earlier. You were in Southern California, I was in Northern California, I did a wedding a micro wedding for about 30 people in Sonoma, so I was living it up in wine country. Nice, beautiful, intentional celebration. It was everything the couple wanted. I don't venture out internationally, but I do do some domestic international work. As far as vendor lists, I do try to keep it very fluid so that I stay on top of what's current, who's up and coming, making sure I'm giving my fair shakes and opportunities to the newbies, because I was new at once too. That list is ever changing but of course I have my preferred vendors in all categories that I enjoy working with.

Speaker 4:

What other kinds of events do you put on?

Speaker 2:

I do community festivals, community events, corporate events. We're fortunate enough I'm the event producer for the Energy Corridor District's Tree Lighting November 30th in the Energy Corridor District here in Houston. Birthday parties, basically any excuse someone can think of to host a gathering and they want it done right. They can come to me.

Speaker 4:

You have a strong social media presence on Instagram, tiktok, facebook, across several platforms, and you put on these short videos to help couples who are planning their weddings to not make common mistakes. You also create content for your fellow industry workers. Can you tell us a little bit about what got you started on this video?

Speaker 2:

I love TikTok so much. That is my home base. I saw around the pandemic. I saw a lot of us stay in our houses and yearn for that connection and creative outlet to just be and commiserate with each other. What I see in the more established social media networks is a unwillingness to adapt or take on new conversations. Like Facebook is always going to be where grandma and aunt Linda are commenting on photos. You get your occasional conspiracy theorist and you have to suffer through the horrific political views of Joan that you worked with 20 years ago.

Speaker 2:

With TikTok, it's much more. You're able to create something that you know to be true, that you believe without a doubt, in whatever form you're in In the weddings industry specifically. Let me bring it back to what I do In Instagram. We got so used to hiding behind a perfectly curated and polished feed grid. Couples today and tomorrow don't care about that. They want you to have it so that you can check the boxes. Consumers today want to be able to say that they know who they do business with on all sides, not only what caliber of events you do, but where do you stand on restricting women's access to healthcare? How does what happened in Louisville affect how you think about the people that you serve day in and day out. How are you keeping guests safe in a world where it becomes more and more challenging to think about things like that, when you're gathering a lot of people in one location that allows you to just turn the camera on and hit record?

Speaker 2:

When I started gaining traction I listened to what other colleagues of mine were doing. There was this photographer out of Australia that said you literally just have to turn your camera on and record. If it's a message you believe in the audience, who's going to see that from the jump, they'll watch the video all the way through, which will increase your watch time, which will make TikTok push the video out to more people. The more people that it's shown to, the more you get likes and comments and it grows from there and then they follow you and then they're into what you're doing. You can show them what it looks like behind the scenes of a wedding. You can show them in real time the look on the couple's faces when they dance for the first time at the reception. It's such an amazing network for small businesses to stop relying on just paying ads on social media, relying on traditional media to get their message out With short form video and, in particular, tiktok. You are your own media conglomerate. Help back only by what your own insecurities fear of putting yourself out there. Whatever that is on your own that you've got to work out, please do that. But other than that, you're your own worst enemy in a situation like that.

Speaker 2:

So I completely bought into it, invested it a year of my time making videos, producing content, hearing what my community wanted from me, putting out videos that spoke to them, celebrating. I go back to this. Representation matters, wendy, on TikTok, every week you can see weddings from all walks of life. I just did a little skit yesterday, a wedding that wouldn't particular be my target market in terms of vibe of the wedding. I still was able to do a funny skit and show them what it's like to have me as a coordinator on the wedding day syncing with this wedding. That happened and my point was saying that is again, people need to see themselves represented in your work if you want them to buy for. So I love TikTok and I know I went on a tangent, but I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to do that.

Speaker 4:

What can we expect from Sean Gray in the future?

Speaker 2:

What you can expect from me is I am going to continue to produce high quality events, primarily weddings, that if they're not intentional, they're not being produced by me. Meaning, if you want a really special, exceptional wedding day, every facet of that has to have an intentional meaning behind it. Don't just select linens because you like the color and it was on sale. Allow yourself to tell a story about your love with your partner through those linens, and that might sound gimmicky, but it comes back to allowing people to connect with you. And so when I look at how I approach weddings, in addition to what I'm doing on social media I just continue to see that grow and grow and evolve into ways that I can't really put into words right now, but things how I've been planning weddings in Houston since 2011,. I don't see myself stopping planning weddings anytime soon.

Speaker 4:

If you could plan the ultimate dream wedding by Sean Gray events. What would that look like, man you?

Speaker 2:

really put me on the spot, I would say I would say a Plaza hotel wedding in New York City in a ballroom I'm a sucker for a good hotel wedding. Let's go. Plaza Hotel, new York City, unconventional decor. So let's say, underrepresented couple smashing the norms and getting into a venue like the Plaza and just using the magnificent architecture and artistic details that are in that space and and making those Relate to an underrepresented couples love story, I think would be amazing. I get excited when we can shatter norms and look at things differently than how we've always done it, and so I love rebelling against the status quo or a traditional vibe and just inserting that with your own personal story.

Speaker 4:

Is there anything I might have forgotten that you would like to mention?

Speaker 2:

Wendy, I think you covered it all. I'm trying to. That was I. I kind of rambled a little bit, but um, no, I would say if I could you know if somebody's listening to this and they're about to be engaged or they're About to start planning their wedding, there is no reason why you cannot find a full slate of wedding vendors in every discipline that lines up really close to perfect with your Values and what you hold as important. And if you, if you can't see Yourself in your vendor team, your wedding is too important to sacrifice it. Keep looking, they're out there. Do not just settle for a wedding vendor based off of a good deal or that your friend used them and loved them Really. Don't take for granted the opportunity to connect with these people because they're going to put on the most Important day of your life as we like to sell.

Speaker 4:

I have one last question for you, sean. What is the most unusual request that you've had for a wedding?

Speaker 2:

So in the wedding world I you have full planning, which takes it from a to z and everything in between, and then you have what some people call day of a month of coordination, which is just somebody that comes in the last eight weeks and puts the puts, puts the finishing touches on all the work that you've done Up into that point. So I had a client like that and they had gotten a caterer for a really good deal. If I remember, it was like back in 2014 and it was something ridiculous like $12 a plate all in coming from Conroe to Katie. So, like from the jump, you're like that, don't even cover my gas. But anyway, couple or caterer was Responsive throughout the vendor responses because we confirm vendors seven days, two days before the wedding they were.

Speaker 2:

They were answering questions and being conversational in that time, confirmed last meal counts. Day of the wedding they don't show up, calling them, texting them, sending smoke signals, driving by, beating on doors. They're not there, they're nobody. Nobody will take my call. So I had to have one of our then-day managers run to the local grocery store to get refreshments for cocktail hour, but I was still up a creek for dinner that was supposed to. This caterer was supposed to bring.

Speaker 2:

So the closest restaurant to the venue was an olive garden and I had just gotten the bride down the aisle.

Speaker 2:

I did not let her know that this was going on behind the scenes, got in touch with that olive garden talk, spoke to the kitchen manager and Begged the kitchen manager to do an Italian buffet for 85 people, have it ready in two and a half hours, and I would send somebody over there and if he would give me 30, I wanted him to start working on it.

Speaker 2:

Now they give me 35 minutes to call back with a credit card because I would need the mother of the brides card and she was currently on the First aisle waiting to watch her daughter get married. By the grace of somebody, that olive garden agreed to do it and so as soon as the couple made their way back up the aisle after their ceremony, I'd be lined it to the mother before she even stood up and said I'm gonna need your am ex because we have a problem. Got the, got the am ex, got the catering paid for by olive garden, went and picked it up and then served a olive garden buffet for 85 people and it was only about 20 minutes late from when dinner was supposed to be served.

Speaker 4:

Holy cow. That's some quick thinking and a lot of good luck.

Speaker 2:

And I've shared that on short from video before. But what? What irks me, if I'm just talking with friends, is I see a lot of videos about like the craziest thing they ever had to deal with was like wine spilling on a dresser, or like I snagged a Strap on my dress, or you know, the champagne tower kicked over and I'm thinking, okay, that's awful, but like have you ever had a caterer not show up? Have you ever hire a private Investigator to muscle photos from a photographer that went AWOL? Like those are all the things that I've dealt with for the last 12 years and it it makes it fun and exciting, but I think it really shows how much of the Emphasis and the importance I put on your day on myself, because I know you can't do it because you have to be front and center and celebrating, so let me handle all the other stuff.

Speaker 4:

Don, I'd like to thank you so much for being here today. You're listening to queer voices. I'm Wendy Taylor. We've been talking to Sean Gray with Sean Gray events.

Speaker 1:

This is queer voices.

Speaker 7:

I'm Joel Tatum. I'm here today with premier entertainer all around, multimedia Performer, artists all around, just great person Max Zendo. Max, how are you doing today?

Speaker 3:

I'm doing pretty well. How are you?

Speaker 7:

Max, let's just get right on into it, because I'm so excited to have you on the show. It's been a while since you and I've been in the same Well, not in the same room, but I'm the same, mike again. Yes, what's what's been going on in your world? Tell us a if you sort of a little bit of who you are and what you do.

Speaker 3:

My name is Max Zendo. I'm a multimedia performance artist based in Houston. I am actually in the process of working on my new EP. I do various mediums, whether it be video, short movies, music, fashion and currently I'm in the process of releasing my my new EP called Candy Lady and my new remix Single called volcano rock. That's what's being promoted right now.

Speaker 7:

You have any upcoming dates, anything going on where we can see you live?

Speaker 3:

Hopefully within the next month. I don't have anything booked right now. I just finished one with Barbarella on June, first or second, if it was and I know that you, yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 7:

I'm sorry, max.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that it in my first, my first show for the year. So, I plan on having more, for sure.

Speaker 7:

What's going on with Candy Lady? That's your new EP, are we? Is that a full album?

Speaker 3:

How does that work? No, it's EP stands for extended play, so there's just a small Selected songs, probably about I'll probably about five songs.

Speaker 7:

I'm sorry.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and from that I am a huge fan of remixes. So, Just remixes. I like to give different variations and so what it would actually inspired the whole Candy Lady concept is that I mean huge Willy Wonka fan and a fan ever since the movie.

Speaker 3:

The book actually started off with the movie, then Discovering that there was a book as a kid and then going into A drugstore, my baby, my baby's sitters daughter, asked if I wanted to get some candy and I said yeah, sure. So we went inside and you know I was trying to figure out what to eat. So she started like naming off different candies that she saw Snickers, reese's pieces or Reese's peanut butter cups, I think a time and then she said nerds, everlasting gobb stoppers. And I was like what, ever lasting gobb stoppers? So I looked and it said Willy Wonka. And I'm like no way.

Speaker 3:

This is a real thing. And Then I started looking at you know all the other different types of candies out, discovering that it was actually and you know I knew that it was, like you know actually a candy right in front of me. So I got excited and ever since then I had this really strange Collection where I would just collect all the candy wrappers throughout the years as a kid I've been to my adult- oh really so yeah, and so what ended up happening is I went down a rabbit hole and I started like researching wrappers.

Speaker 5:

I know.

Speaker 3:

I'm weird and I I stumbled upon this website called collecting candy calm, and there's a guy that actually archives candy wrappers, food, food labels, I mean all this. You know the art of it and I was like no way. So I started looking a little bit further and I found that there was a whole process of when Quaker Oats started to release Willy Wonka bars or chocolates and then it got bought by Breakers, confections or something like that. Anyway, so at one point in the late 70s, early 80s, the candy company Willy Wonka acquired another candy brand also, and one of those candies was called volcano rocks, and I'd never seen them. It was Packaged in the Willy Wonka wrapper at some point with a little logo and I just kind of became obsessed with that. I was like, oh so if I'm gonna do songs regarding candy or inspired by candy, just the name of it, that's all it has to do, is just the name. I want to do some songs. You know, with my style, my writing, and so I came out with volcano rock singularity.

Speaker 7:

Why don't you tell us a little bit about you know what volcano rock, which I heard on your website? By the way, we wanted to feature it on the on the air, but it's a little bit too colorful for a Kpft. So if you want to listen to her, if you want to listen to volcano rock, you can actually go to her YouTube page, listen to it. But let's, let's talk about volcano rock for just a second. You have two versions. You have a hard, harder rock version, and then you have the disco version, which only heard a snippet about. Tell me about the two different versions, of why you chose to do different versions.

Speaker 3:

So originally, my music is, you know, underground music. There is an element of it of the music being raw or more aggressive, and I'm making the conscious decision that, you know, I want my music to be a little bit more lighter. So I wanted to honor the whole you know, original underground version making um, piecing together footage, video footage of my two performances, and I just, you know, meld them together and I created a video specifically for walking around. And then, because I wanted to have a more Listener-friendly version of that song, but lighter and without the casting, and just so it's a little bit more universal. And actually, the way Damien remixed it and Engineered it, it gives it a totally different spin and and you can actually think of it as kind of a love song in a way.

Speaker 7:

How long have you been working with the Damien thing?

Speaker 3:

Damien Dan. I think I started working with him probably around 2014-15. Yeah, he did my. He did a remix of strobe like lemonade and when I heard him do that version I was just like hope and we work really, really, really well together.

Speaker 7:

This is not the first first song you were done. I know mannequin we were gonna talk about that's actually from 2022. Um, I've heard that version before, which is an amazing version, by the way, I think. Uh, when you and I shared it on the phone, I was excited by that song. To begin with, tell us a little bit about mannequin.

Speaker 3:

So the original version of mannequin was written several years ago. I performed that as well, along with volcano rock. They were kind of paired together when I had formed them and during that time I was going through a little bit of a funk. I was a little angry, um, with I don't know. I I'd put so much effort into my performances and, um, people just expect it a lot because of because of that and the level of appreciation at some point just started to I don't know the support. So I, uh, I got a little bit of a hole with that and I just kind of wrote a song Called mannequin and the lyrics are kind of evident.

Speaker 3:

It's not just that there are, there are many things that were going on in my life During that time. So I was a little bit bitter, um. But then we did the remix, which is a little bit more kind of club friendly, and then Damien was all supposed to work on we were going to do a disco version because I kind of wanted to go with the whole disco theme, the whole disco theme. So I asked him if he'll do a remix for mannequin and he kind of went off one day, just had moment to himself and he Turned it into kind of like a love song as well, because, um, he just changed the meter of it, um it, it's quite different from the original version. So also that too is more upbeat, lighter Dancier.

Speaker 7:

How much do you contribute to what's going on in the remixes?

Speaker 3:

I say this is what I want. Um, specifically, if there's something I hear, mel melody wise, I'll go ahead and give that to him vocally. Um, I might have certain singers or other songs that I'm like kind of like this element, this vocal, this Vocal effect, can we add that? And then I just kind of give him free reign so he already has a structure of the song. So that's my input, and then my other input is just elements of what I'd like to hear, and so he'll send me a snippet of what he's done so far. Do you like this? Yes or no? Majority of the time I say yes. If there's something that I want changed a little bit, I'll make that suggestion and that's it. So we work really really well together. Um, he knows me Kind of gets where I'm going with with an idea and he runs with.

Speaker 7:

I'm assuming that it makes for smoother collaborations.

Speaker 3:

We want to work on other.

Speaker 7:

Does he also help you with? Like movies, music videos, other I mean not music videos, but your other projects as well, because you have a hand in those.

Speaker 3:

Right now it's mostly just the music. And I saw a question what was my training? Actually, I didn't have any like specific training in like class or you know, going to um college or anything like that. It was all self-taught. So I kind of went through the whole process growing up, learning, experiencing, um, I wish I could belt out, you know, uh you know a song with a song like wendy has a fabulous voice, but I'm just.

Speaker 3:

I learned to use what I have and to create with what I have, and, um, I'm appreciative for that.

Speaker 7:

A lot of people don't realize. But you're also. People forget you're a multimedia performance artist. You're, you're home. I you know what I forgot? That you do home decor, you have home decor, you do fabrics. You do other stuff as well.

Speaker 3:

So originally I first started off as a self-portrait artist where I was dressing up in costumes and doing photography and editing those photographs digitally and, um, just coming up with different looks and sometimes it would be, you know, like I said, a photo shoot. But then there would be images where it would just be a close up of my face and I would, um, add different Elements of it, say, for instance, my flower, my flower theme, anyway. So at some point I was actually printing these Photographs. Is digital art? Um, having them printed on canvas or having them mounted, sold in galleries they sold.

Speaker 3:

After that happened, I was so thrilled that I was like, oh, I felt kind of, you know, uh, it was affirming that someone appreciates my, my work. So, as an evolution, I had also wanted to give those characters a voice, which ended up me writing my first song, my first. It was a poem. At that time, I think I titled um Violet Velvet, and from there that's when I got involved in music, um, so all of this kind of just evolved. Now, probably about 2015, I started to print my art onto fabric and that became my costumes for the shows, and the more that I got involved with that, it just started to stick. I was like well, you know, this is probably easier for me.

Speaker 3:

I can really, you know, play around with this and with with the fabric, so that actually made me go into, and some of this suggestion was from our friend, gin martini, who's one of my fashion designers. She's why don't you go ahead and print? You know you can submit the your art design and have it printed with spoon flowers. I started, you know, playing around with that and when I started uploading my images, I scrolled down and it said something about products. I clicked on products and then they have your art printed on home decor like bedding, curtains, um tablecloth, diner, diner, where I said, I mean all this stuff, and I was like, oh my god, this looks, looks pretty, if I do say so myself, just because my colors are really vibrant, and I started sharing that with people and that started to get some interest and so I'm going to focus on that soon. But that's another level of uh, or another area that I've gone into.

Speaker 7:

You're listening to queer voices and I'm Joel Tater with Max Lindo. You know star wars has a huge In a lot of way you do. Why don't you talk about a little bit about that?

Speaker 3:

A part of my another niche interest that I have is I'm a huge star wars fan ever since I was a kid, and I love the whole concepts or the, the designs, the costumes that they would wear in the characters would wear in the movie. And as the years went by, the obviously, the, the outfits, costumes got more elaborate. So I started to use elements of those in my Formances. So like, if I saw, let's say, a mask, um, if I saw a mask like a toy mask, that this toy store or whatever, I'd go and get two of those, spray paint them and then use those as shoulder shoulder pieces and um, so there's that.

Speaker 7:

Are those pieces featured in your volcano rocks video?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, those are. Those are inspired by. I was actually going to get into that um the comics, the star wars comics. I think it was called dark empire. There was a whole um Sort of comics that came out of that look and I just kind of felt inspired, like I think that would look good on me Performing, and so I just kind of mixed that with a dress that gen martini had made also. It was like a huge dress, so I kind of merged the two looks together. So then from there, um, I actually also had a friend do a little mock-up Um star wars action figure of me of that character, but like as if it was a Kenner figure. It looks really cute. You have to see it. It's on my youtube. Briefly, I'm sorry, I totally missed this chat so I just opened it up and I've seen it. That was being asked questions, so I sorry if I didn't get to that.

Speaker 7:

Why. I think the question was have you ever been to galaxy edge at disney uh, in disney park? No, are we watching any of the disney uh plus shows?

Speaker 3:

Of course, yeah yeah, yeah, yeah, um mandalorian's, my favorite mandalorian particularly happy with season three right now. Oh, they need to finish it. It's really good. It's really good.

Speaker 7:

I kind of did. But you know what? That's another conversation. I feel that sometimes we get off topic, because once we start talking star wars, that's it.

Speaker 3:

And and the great thing too is that I'm I'm actually a part of, uh, a star wars fan podcast on youtube Called making star wars. Um, I'm usually on there like once a week, but the past few months I've been a bit busy so I haven't been on the show and, um, it's great to kind of have a different outlet, you know, being introduced as an artist in that community.

Speaker 7:

It's also very show again making star wars, it's with. Jason ward and we can find this on youtube. I'm gonna go look this up immediately. Yeah, yeah, just making star wars, the making star wars show and we're gonna finish up here because, um, I wanted to ask a question of you because I we were going to talk about it at the beginning, but I decided to wait to till the end. Um, why don't you tell us just briefly, quick, short synapses? Just talk about your, your trans journey, for just just a little bit.

Speaker 3:

I have to say that being an artist kind of opened up that for me. I, aside from feeling a certain way, you know, feeling female all throughout my childhood I didn't know how to specifically what, how to pinpoint it. But then when I, when I came into adulthood, young adulthood, adulthood Um, I still for some reason wasn't able to kind of identify where I was, if that makes any sense. I mean, because I didn't have any role models or anything like that to to kind of look to. Um, I think and I grew up in San Antonio, I think had I continued to stay in San Antonio, that probably would have sped up a lot more. But since I moved to Houston, this kind of involved the way that they evolved. So me, being an artist kind of allowed me to be more, you know, at that point, fluid with my, my appearance and probably, I'd say about five years ago, actually came out to my friends and family. A lot of people already assumed and it wasn't a big deal for them. So it kind of went fairly smooth and I live my life as a female, I work everything and just I feel very, feel very confident, I feel stable in who I am and I feel, as a result, I get the respect that I get.

Speaker 3:

People identify me as female all the time and sometimes it's just. It's just. It's not something that comes up. Hardly ever a topic comes up, so it's not something that I'm. You know what I mean. I'm not constantly telling hi, my name is. You know, I'm Max, Max Endone and I'm this. I don't do that.

Speaker 7:

You're living your life as a free-spirited artist and a woman doing your thing. Yeah, exactly, I get you. Thank you so much for being on Clear Voice today.

Speaker 3:

You're welcome, thank you.

Speaker 7:

It's always a pleasure. And, max, why don't you give out all your socials so everybody knows how to, how to reach you, how to get to you that kind?

Speaker 3:

of thing, so I'm on, I'm on Facebook. Mostly I'm on Instagram and YouTube and that'll be under Maxando M-A-X-X-A-N-D-A-U-X Search on. Do a search and you'll find. Find me it.

Speaker 7:

I can't recall how many times that I wanted to call you Xana dude, so many times Back in the day. I think I might have called you Xana dude a couple of times back in the day.

Speaker 3:

You're not the first. You're not the first. It's a play on the eyes, I think.

Speaker 7:

I think so. It really is, because when you look at it, that's the first, that's the first thing you go to, you forget that there's an X at the end.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 7:

So thank you so much. Look, thank you, queer voices for having me on. I'm Joel Tatum. I also have a podcast with Wendy Taylor, that little gay talk show. We do episodes a month everywhere on and anywhere on podcast networks. That's where we are.

Speaker 9:

I would say my name is Paul. I'm a big fan of the play IQ soon.

Speaker 1:

Martha, what that fella on the wireless? Just say Something about him. Interwebs you don't have to ask Martha. We've got all the names, dates and web page links for people, events and anything else mentioned in the show right on our own website. It's QueerVoicesorg. We even link to past shows and other tidbits of information, so check it out, queervoicesorg. Besides, martha is a cat. She doesn't know anything about websites.

Speaker 11:

This is Deborah Bell.

Speaker 9:

And this is Brian Levinca.

Speaker 11:

And Brian, we're going through some changes here at QueerVoices. Let's talk about them.

Speaker 9:

Well, I started this job going offshore two weeks at a time, which isn't very conducive to doing a radio show on the weekends, so we're kind of adjusting from that.

Speaker 11:

And they won't give you special accommodations so that you can broadcast from an oil rig.

Speaker 9:

We barely get the internet out there.

Speaker 11:

Well, that must be very different for you, because you're so community connected and plus doing the radio show. What is it like working on an oil rig, something you've done before?

Speaker 9:

I've done it before and I'm working for a large oil company and they have amazing accommodations.

Speaker 11:

Have you been able to find any community?

Speaker 9:

Well, I've found a suspected community member who is either lesbian or trans. She's from Lafayette and I'm going to approach her and kind of get to know her.

Speaker 11:

So we are everywhere and there probably are some others, but they may not be as visible or as open.

Speaker 9:

I'm there to do a job and not wave the rainbow flag, but I'm not there to hide either.

Speaker 11:

So you're there two weeks. You have to travel by plane to New Orleans and then take a helicopter and then go out to the rig. You have to spend a lot of time in transit, but once you're there you're on. What a 12 hour shift.

Speaker 9:

Well, our shift for two weeks.

Speaker 11:

You did a video of your mess hall and it looked like you've probably eaten pretty well on that rig.

Speaker 9:

The food is amazing and it's not healthy. So it's like fried chicken, hamburgers, steaks, pizza all the worst things for a diet.

Speaker 11:

Have you been able to make use of their fitness equipment?

Speaker 9:

Well, my husband is making me do that. So he's like you're going to work out every day. Because he saw the video too. He's like, oh no, because I have no willpower.

Speaker 11:

Well, it's good that they do give you those opportunities to be physical and to get the exercise.

Speaker 9:

It's like a cruise ship. I mean, they have a gym, they have a cinema, they have an internet lounge. They have just this massive mess hall.

Speaker 11:

Have you been able to make use of the cinema?

Speaker 9:

They have movies nights on Saturday nights and they were showing the exercises and I really didn't want to see the exercises before I go to bed by myself.

Speaker 11:

If you're going to see the exercises, you probably should have someone you can cuddle up close with afterwards.

Speaker 9:

Yeah, I was nervous. I didn't want you by myself.

Speaker 11:

We're trying to fill our way into what this looks like for Brian to be away two weeks of every month. We are taking the month of August off from producing any content, but we'll be back in September and, as you probably are aware, we've got some new folks that have joined the Queer Voices Collective Wendy Taylor and Joel Tatum and they're doing interviews tonight, as a matter of fact. So they'll be doing more content in the future and we have that to look forward to, and then we have a few other folks interested in the show and being involved. So it's always been something that could evolve and grow.

Speaker 11:

One of the things I would like for our listeners to do is there is something of interest to them that they contact us. They can contact me, deborah, at Queervoicesorg, and they can let me know what they would like to hear, something they may know about that we don't know about, that they think would be of interest to the community If they're involved in an organization. No of us particular event is going to be happening Our project that is going on that the community might want to know about. That's a good way for us to have content plus informs the community, which is part of what our mission is.

Speaker 9:

Deborah, I want to say a big kudos to you for expanding the Queer Voices Collective. I know it's been hard and kind of getting new people into the team, into the mix. It's been amazing and I'm so proud of what you've done. So I'm glad that we're expanding.

Speaker 11:

Yeah, me too. And Brett Cullum, who writes for Broadway World, has joined us as a sometime correspondent, and, of course, andrew Edmondson continues to be part of our family here. We'll keep doing what we do and we appreciate you listening both the radio audience and the podcast audience. Here's an important thing, brian. What's that? It is fund drive for KPFT. And that means we have to raise money to support Queer Voices.

Speaker 9:

So we need you to bring out the pink dollars to show that we have listeners and that we are supported on KPFT.

Speaker 11:

And the way people do that is go to kpfftorg and they click the donate button and I believe there's a way for people to designate where they want those dollars to go.

Speaker 9:

Please do that so we get credit for that, because if it goes into the general fund then they may not know that those are LGBTQ plus dollars.

Speaker 11:

And there's often premiums available. They do want people to be sustaining members, which means the pledging a monthly amount. It operates on a shoestring but we keep saying, hey, was this a ridiculous idea they had back in the day? We're going to do radio and we're not going to take advertising dollars. That way we can be free to talk about things we want to talk about and not be censored. We can have voices that might not otherwise get heard. We can promote certain kinds of music and local musicians, just a variety of things. We have our wonderful programming on KPFT that includes Democracy. Now we have I think this is the longest running queer radio show in the country almost 50 years of some form of queer voices. And then we've had After Hours, which is now facets on Saturday night with Judy Reeves and her crew. This is a home that we've been very privileged to have so that we can talk about the issues that affect the queer community.

Speaker 9:

And we've never been told that we can't do something or that we can't program something that's important to our community. We're given a lot of free reign to do what we need to do for the community.

Speaker 11:

So, if you appreciate what we do and if you appreciate KPFT, please do make your donation, your pledge of support, so that we can continue to have your voices.

Speaker 9:

And if you're thinking about me in the middle of the ocean, 140 miles offshore, for two weeks at a time trying to raise money, think about me and send some money over to KPFT and make me very happy. I would love to see that happen while I'm offshore.

Speaker 6:

I'm Michael Taylor Gray and I'm Sarah Montague With News Wrap, a summary of some of the news in, or affecting LGBTQ communities around the world for the weekend in August 5, 2023. Eight men were arrested outside a shopping center in Kuala Lumpur for holding up placards with statements such as being gay is not a crime and only God can judge. The detainees are followers of the Ahmadiyya religion of peace and light, an Islamic splinter group that claims Imam Ahmed al-Hasan as its divine guide to the teachings of Imam Mahdi. The eight taken into custody on July 29th ranged an age from 18 to 56. Kuala Lumpur police chief, dato'k Maud Shuheli Maudzan, told reporters they were charged with promoting things against the teaching of Islam and that they were released on bail after two days in jail.

Speaker 6:

A court hearing is scheduled for September. Malaysian government official, dato' Sitiya Dr Naeem, condemned the defendants in an August's first statement that called being LGBTQ a perverted lifestyle. The arrests are part of an increasing crackdown on LGBTQ people in the predominantly Muslim Southeast Asian nation. Private consensual adult same-gender sex has been illegal in Malaysia since British colonial rule in the late 19th century. Punishments can range from public caning to up to 20 years in prison.

Speaker 12:

The US House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government held a hearing on August 3rd on the dangers and due process violations of gender-affirming care for children. Republican Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana launched the opening salvo, saying no parent has a constitutional right to injure their children. Johnson called gender-affirming care barbarism and demanded that the mutilation of children should be prohibited by our law. That's right out of the transphobic playbook that's been working so well for state-level Republican lawmakers this year. Democratic New York Representative Gerald Nadler was ready to meet the distortions head-on.

Speaker 8:

Today's hearing is an all-time low for the Republican majority. In my three decades in Congress, I have taken part in plenty of hearings where I did not agree with the choice of topic, to say the least, but I am absolutely disgusted by the Republican majority's bullying, bigoted framing of an issue that would otherwise be worthy of serious discussion. What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a taxpayer-funded platform for congressional Republicans to bully transgender kids, who are already some of the most vulnerable members of our community, virtually every professional medical association in the United States agrees that gender-affirming health care for transgender young people can be literally life-saving.

Speaker 12:

However, to Texas Republican Wesley Hunt, such unanimity must mean that the American medical establishment have absolutely lost their minds. Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania reminded her Republican colleagues that they are not doctors. Let's be clear.

Speaker 5:

Congress has no business interfering in parents' freedom to make decisions about appropriate medical care for their children. The idea that politicians are more qualified to judge the medical value or necessity of gender-affirming care than every major medical organization is absurd. Make no mistake today's hearing is not about protecting children or parents' rights. It's a cynical and, frankly, dangerous political attack on transgender children and their families, driven not by science or facts, but by polling and political strategies determined to mobilize conservative voters through fear.

Speaker 6:

On the US state level. This week, laws denying the rights of transgender people and the right to drag continue to be addressed in federal courts. The Chicago-based US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Indiana's trans young people and school staff should be able to use sex-segregated facilities on campus that match their gender identities. That includes bathrooms and locker rooms. Justices cited the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. States are barred from abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States and denying to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The court's opinion acknowledged that the US Supreme Court could intervene in this or similar cases. The claimants were represented by the ACLU of Indiana.

Speaker 12:

Kentucky's ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender young people will remain in effect even as its constitutionality is being challenged. So says a three-judge panel of the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The same three judges had already allowed a similar measure in Tennessee to stay in force during a constitutional challenge. The Cincinnati, ohio-based 6th Circuit is one of the country's most politically conservative appeals courts. Temporary injunctions are blocking comparable bans in Alabama, florida and Indiana.

Speaker 6:

The right-wing group Parents Defending Education has lost its bid to delete anti-bullying protections for transgender students at Ohio's Allentangie local school district. The policy also bans harassment or bullying on campus based on race, national origin, sex and a number of other immutable characteristics. Us District Chief Judge Algenon Marbley noted in his ruling that trans youth are threatened or physically injured in schools at a rate four times higher than other students. He went on to write Intentional misgendering has the effect of creating a hostile environment for transgender students on account of their gender identity and thereby causes a substantial disruption. In a statement, the Allentangie district said that the decision affirms our commitment to maintaining a safe learning environment where all feel welcome and supported.

Speaker 12:

A male or female performer who adopts a flamboyant or parodic female or male persona with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and makeup will not be arrested in Montana For now. Us District Judge Brian Morris temporarily blocked enforcement of the anti-drag measure this week. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed the law in May. A trans woman and an independent bookstore are taking the lead in a legal challenge that says it infringes on free speech. Their lawsuit claims the measure is so vaguely worded and confusing that it could be used to ban many types of performances. Judge Morris is expected to review his temporary injunction later this month to see if it should be extended.

Speaker 6:

Oklahoma's Republican Governor, kevin Stitt, virtually erased the existence of his state's transgender citizens on August 1st with an ironically titled Women's Bill of Rights. Executive Order Stitt is limiting definitions of gender and state law to a person's biological sex assigned at birth.

Speaker 1:

There are some that don't want to recognize the important distinction of biological womanhood. Today, we're taking a stand against this out of control gender ideology.

Speaker 4:

Nicole McAfee of the advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma called the order a thinly veiled attack on codifying discrimination against transgender women, as she told Oklahoma City TV station K-O-C-O it seems to open several pathways to harm, it seems to further sex-based discrimination in our state and in a place where outcomes for women as a whole are sort of on all of the worst lists.

Speaker 6:

Stitt's anti-trans executive order is almost certainly going to face a legal challenge.

Speaker 12:

Finally pride in the park was supposed to be a celebratory, family-friendly afternoon in Watertown, wisconsin, a city of about 23,000 people located halfway between Milwaukee and Madison. The July 30th event included food trucks, artisans and other vendors, a drag performance and a drag queen story hour. The armed en masse neo-Nazis were an added attraction. The swastika brandishing invaders ambushed an already planned protest by the group known as Gays Against Groomers, which quickly distanced itself from the threatening and uninvited neo-Nazis. Gays Against Groomers builds itself as an anti-trans LGB organization that seeks to protect children from seeing drag performers. It purportedly has ties to notoriously anti-queer Republican governor Ron DeSantis. Ohio's Democratic governor Tony Evers called the neo-Nazis' appearance a disgusting and direct attack on our state's LGBTQ community, communities of color and Jewish Wisconsinites. Global police officers prevented any violent confrontations. An estimated four to five hundred people had an otherwise enjoyable afternoon at Watertown's Riverside Park.

Speaker 6:

That's News Wrap, global queer news with attitude for the weekend in August 5th 2023. Follow the news in your area and around the world.

Speaker 12:

An informed community is a strong community News Wrap is written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucille Chappelle, produced by Brian de Chésor and brought to you by you, thank you.

Speaker 6:

Keep us in ears around the world at thiswayoutorg, where you can also read the text of this newscast and much more. For this Way Out, I'm Michael Taylor Gray. Stay healthy.

Speaker 12:

And I'm Sarah Montague. Stay safe.

Speaker 1:

This has been Queer Voices, which is now a home-produced podcast and available from several podcasting sources. Check our webpage QueerVoicesorg. For more information. Queer Voices executive producer is Brian Levinca. Andrew Edmanson and Deborah Moncrief Bell are frequent contributors. The News Wrap segment is part of another podcast called this Way Out, which is produced in Los Angeles.

Speaker 10:

Some of the material in this program has been edited to improve clarity and runtime. This program does not endorse any political views or animal species. These views, opinions and endorsements are those of the participants and the organizations they represent. In case of death, please discontinue use and discard remaining products.

Speaker 1:

For Queer Voices. I'm Glenn Holt.

Wedding Planning and LGBTQIA+ Inclusivity
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Star Wars Art and Trans Journey
Arrests, LGBTQ Rights, and Gender-Affirming Care
Queer Voices Podcast and Contributors