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Everyone has a story that should be heard. I'm here to collect.

Jessica McGuinness // Advocate, Superhero

Every since I was a little kid I would talk to just about anyone concerning any topic that should come to my tiny little kid brain. This trait has hung on and into my adulthood, thankfully allowing me to meet a lot of really cool people who have become my friends.

I met Jessica McGuinness at a local bar and we struck up a conversation filled with comic books, the bill of rights, and countless other nerdy things. Since then we have developed a friendship over playing Dungeons and Dragons together. Jess, as I call her, is a funny and outspoken friend of mine who happens to have also been born a biological boy. Today's interview is about her journey to finding her real self and becoming the woman I know and love today.

So far, I've mostly interviewed creative people who discuss some personal struggles but intentionally deflate and brush off discussion of the deeper and more personal aspects of their life. This is understandable. It was an incredibly different experience asking direct questions about someone's very stigmatized lifestyle and Jess handled my nervousness and curiosity with grace and understanding. She is an advocate in her field, speaking up and sharing her story not just with me but speaking at colleges and in the book, American Heroes: Coming Out From Behind the Badge, by Greg Miraglia.

This is another interview that went a bit long but tells a very important story. If you are interested in learning more about transgender issues and how you can be an advocate, please check out Persad here in Pittsburgh. 

I can't stress how important it is for all of us, gay, straight, trans, whatever - it's our responsibility to speak up and treat one another with respect.