Who: James, UNO student
Artwork by: Chamberlynn McGriggs
Editor’s note: This comic is part of the Walk a Mile series, an ongoing interview-based artistic effort to promote empathy, understanding, and demystification of individuals in New Orleans with various targeted identities.
Full interview transcribed below:
Can you tell me a bit about yourself to start?
Okay, I go by “James” because it’s easier for my family because they know me as “Jamie.” I do want top surgery but not right now because it’s like $1500, and once that is complete I’m going to get my official name changed to “Fox Raphael Blake” because once that happens my family isn’t gonna be cool with me anymore. Like, they are hardcore Christians and won’t be cool with a medical transition. So, when I transition I want to go to California eventually. Yeah, so when I was growing up my mom thought I was a tomboy. She didn’t like it too much. I did run away from home, but I eventually ended up staying with my grandparents, and they taught me not to be so open about it. I do suffer from depression and bipolar disorder and, uh, I think that’s it.
Okay. Can you walk me through a typical day in your life?
Yeah, no problem. So, I’m more of an introvert, but I’ll invite people over here sometimes. But mostly I just chill. I watch anime, watch TV, do homework, smoke a bunch. Oh, I don’t know if you want to put that in your interview. Oops. Well, yeah, I do English and Math tutoring for freshmen and sophomores. And I try to do all the homework I have for the week in one day to free up my time.
Sometimes I do go out, but I have bad social anxiety, and the world is dangerous. I usually just tell people I’m tomboyish because if not I always get the “What is genderqueer?” And yeah that’s how my typical day goes. And I usually do the same thing most days.
Thank you. One last thing. If you pick one thing you want the most for people to know about ID-ing as trans, what would it be?
Probably just that, like, everyone has a family. Everyone has lives and a story and stuff. And my family would cut me off if I transitioned fully, so I can’t just up and transition fully. It’ll happen eventually, but yeah. I’ve been like this since 6th grade, and I don’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to be struggling. I wanna be jolly as hell and live my best fucking life.
I love that. That line is the highlight of the interview honestly. “I wanna be jolly as hell.”
(laughing) “And live my best fucking life.” That’s it, that’s all.