Sunday, February 15, 2015

Trans Faces #13 Aurelius Mark Angel/Dj Soul Manifest: ...The Music Man

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

UPDATE ON THIS INTERVIEW:
During the time of this interview, Aurelius and I were engaged,  officially as of March 1 2016, they are no longer my partner. Yet, he remains a multi talent trans man, that is worth the readers here get to know. I will always wish him well, and success in our new lives without each other.


This Valentine's weekend would not be complete unless I mention the man that has renewed my heart and spirit. After an amazing week of celebrating our love for one another, as I often do, and sentimentally reflecting on how we met, our first day, the day he proposed, where he then smiles and replies, "awww...here we go" lol. It's one of those girl things he often teases me about, but yet he listens intently as I reflect on every detail of the day he proposed; the chill in the Charleston W.V. air, the waves of the Kanawha River splashing onto the boardwalk, the clear W.V. sky revealing millions of stars, how he nervously kneeled reading his hand written, proposal poem, while shaking with ring in hand.

Over the past, nearing two years, since we first had a chat online (March 15 2013, lol), I'm surprised that each day that I think I could not love him more, the next brings our hearts even closer than either of us ever imagined. I've come to know a man that is proud, a genius intellect, a man of God, a wild sense of humor, and the hardest working man in trans society. The male opposite of me in so many ways, he is a leader, an advocate that craves no applause. His very struggle with West Virginia law has changed the law for the better for every other trans person there to come. I'm amazed at the time and concern he takes with trans-men from so many places that come for the typical advice one seeks as they begin their journey. His passion for music, art, and photography.

Recently, 'Big A', as I call him, has joined with me here on TMP to smooth the rough corners, and our continued drive to be a voice in the community, as editor. He's the music man and currently in the process of creating a CD of songs. A jewelry designer, not too mention his talents at personal training, and renovating homes.

This Valentine's, I got a second year to spend with my soul mate, and there is no better time to share with my readers why this man is my personal favorite among Trans Faces (or any face for that matter)...now it's your time to get to know Aurelius Mark Angel aka Dj (drop the beat) Soul Manifest.


1. TMP: How important is trans visibility to you, and why do you feel it's important to set an example of self acceptance to a younger 'genderation'?

Aurelius Mark Angel: I think trans visibility is very important. We have the "LGBT" community which we are lumped into but receive no support from, so I feel we as trans people have to set a a good example both in and within our communities. It doesn't have to be anything radical. Just being the best you can be is a way to show the world that we do exist, and that we are like everyone else. It's important for the younger generations to see that others came before them and made it, and they can to.

2. TMP: We as trans people struggle with loving who we are, but do you feel there is an difference between loving oneself and accepting oneself?

A.A.:  Well, I think you have to really accept yourself in order to be able to love yourself. I think it's definitely a struggle for trans people to come to terms with our situation, however I also feel a great strength from such a journey is inevitable. It is in our strength and courage that we really realize the extent of our power as trans people. We are beautiful people!

3.  TMP: How was coming out to family for you, and what is the one thing you appreciate from them?

A.A.: My mom was actually the one that approached me when I was 15. I didn't know anything about the trans world, even though I grew up in NYC. I hung out at gay clubs and bars, but never identified with being gay. Later on, in my late 20's, is when I came out to my dad as trans. My mom had already passed away when I was 16. My family, for the most part, are very supportive. I still have some that refuse to use correct pronouns but I choose to limit my contact with these people. If I don't respect me no one else will. That's the one thing I can say about my family that I appreciate; all the ones that matter have been supportive and respectful of me.

4.  TMP:  You lived a few years in West Virginia, when some think of W.V. they may not think liberal and accepting. How was the atmosphere for you?

A.A.:   I was hesitant to move to WV after living in NY and other major cities my whole life. I knew that, at the age of 33, it was past time to start my transition. I wouldn't live much longer if I didn't make some changes. I dreaded the thought of trying to transition in WV but it actually went a lot smoother than I thought. I went through the local phone book and dialed all the Dr.'s till I found one that had experience with trans hrt. I got my letters from my local Dr.'s and had surgery down in Florida shortly after that. My WV hrt doctor even performed a srs related surgery for me. Shortly after that I had all I needed to petition the court to legally change my gender on my birth certificate. It took a year and 3 different lawyers to get WV law changed so they wouldn't require bottom surgery for trans people to get their documents changed. It was worth it! I thank God everyday I can live my life in freedom.


5. TMP:  The one thing that stood out to TMP, is your contribution on a state level for the welfare of all W.V. trans people to come. Could you tell TMP readers, what was that process like and how has it changed documentation for transgender people in W.V.?

A.A.:  It was a difficult process because I faced a lot of discrimination from the first 2 lawyers I dealt with. I even had one return my money and tell me I would never win. I wanted to go rub it in her face we the law finally passed. I was very proud to have been part of helping things be easier for those to come. It's about time there were more laws passed in our favor. By getting trans issues in the court system we are educating mainstream people about our situations and that they are valid. With this bill WV passed, WV residents who wish to change their gender on their birth certificates will no longer be required to have genital surgery.

6.  TMP:  How lengthy was the legal process of setting a new gender documentation template in W.V.?

A.A.:  Well, once I started actually working with an LGBT friendly lawyer who came recommended through The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, things went smoothly from there. With this particular lawyer it took 6 months, but I spent a year total with the runaround I got from the other lawyers. Once the papers were filed it was really a matter of getting everyone's signatures. The Office of Vital Statistics didn't really put up a fight. We had provided evidence from other states which had a similar law in place. The only thing that stands out in my mind is the Director of Vital Statistics saying that he "didn't want any pregnant men running around WV", that's why they still require sterilization. Still not the greatest.

7. TMP: You've recently caught the attention of a satellite radio station featuring new dj's. What inspires you to make music and specifically the type of music you do?

A.A.:  I love music! I come from a background of musicians and artists. My dad is a classical guitarist and artist, and my brother can really shred on a guitar. There's just something so freeing and satisfying about making music. Knowing that I can make something that some one else will listen to and really enjoy, the way I enjoy music, is really exciting to me. I love a lot of different styles of music. My faves lately are indie and electronica. I like the energy and urgency of EDM. It's also the most fun to me to make because you get to experiment with so many different layers of crazy sounds. It's just a lot of fun and I hope my music continues to spread!


 8. TMP: Where would you like to see your music go this year?

A.A.:  I am planning on putting out an album soon in the next few months. Also, I am experimenting with new software and with adding my own vocals from my poetry, so I'm eager to see where this direction takes me. I know I want to constantly keep changing and growing. I like to push myself.

9.  TMP:  I'm honored that you are also an editor here at TMP, but this is not your first round of being an editor. Tell our readers your history as editor and the magazine you launched several years ago.

A.A.:  Thank you, I enjoy working as editor for TMP. I like getting to know a lot of people's stories. It's nice to know we have a place like TMP where we can come for support and knowledge of the world around us. I think it's important our community have that so they don't feel so alone. Yes, I edited and produced Soul Manifest magazine from 1991-1994. I was a literary art magazine geared to the gothic underground. It featured short stories, poetry, art, book and film reviews, as well as music reviews. I accepted contributions from all over the world and it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know people and experience new outlooks. I have always enjoyed working in the media. I like that I can be a part of something where my creativity is being appreciated.

10. TMP: I like to ask, if you could tell the world something about Aurelius Mark Angel and you knew everyone would listen, what would you like them to know about you?

Aurelius Angel/Dj Soul Manifest:  I would like them to know that I am a decent, goodhearted person. I would like for them to know the hardworking, disciplined side of me. More than anything I would hope that people could see the passion I put into living my life. I try to live my life in a way that I think life should be lived; with purpose and on purpose.




I'm so glad my readers have gotten the chance to know my Valentine and the talented man he is. So I'm hoping the community can support our brother's music and stop by his following links, to follow and purchase these great mixes.

To Follow Aurelius Mark Angel/Dj Soul Manifest
Facebook Dj Soul Manifest Page
Google Plus DJ Community
Dj Soul Manifest Twitter
DJ Soul Manifest on Nimbit (music for purchase)
Dj Soul Manifest on Tumblr
Dj. Soul Manifest on SoundCloud
The Soul Manifest Jewelery Collection

         

 



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