Saturday, 3 March 2012

Radio Interviews and Being Accepted as a Person even when you are a transvestite

The BBC Radio Berkshire interview happened on Friday March 2nd.

If you’d like to listen in, there was a little over 19 minutes of talking, so I had to split it into two pieces for YouTube which has a maximum item length of 15 minutes.

So … part 1 is here:

Part 1

And part 2 is here:

Part 2


The pictures aren’t of the actual day. The one of Bill Buckley came from his website. The one of me was taken in Windsor a while ago. I was actually wearing the same blouse and cardigan at the interview.

I took a day of annual leave from work. And it went something like this.

It’s 9:00 am and Sally wakes me. Toot brushing. Shower. Coffee and cereal. Shave. Moisturise. Makeup. Dress.

10:50 and Andrea is set to go.

A little nervous.

The car radio is tuned in to BBC Radio Berkshire.

Somehow the listening makes me more nervous. Everyone sounds clear. Uncomplicated. Easy to understand. Gulp.

I’ve been in the car just two minutes.

The lady on my Sat Nav says “Turn right”.

But I drive straight on.

Silently she re-routes.

I’m more nervous than I think.

I decide to turn around when possible and the engine stalls.

I must be even more nervous than I think.

I change my mind about turning round and follow the re-routed route.

On the Radio Bill interviews a local lady who has brought in some Goat’s fudge (fudge made from Goats milk) that her goats produce.

A recorded piece from Anne Diamond about a lock that would shoot you if you tried to use the wrong key to open it.

Travel news. Weather.

It’s a little foggy. But not bad enough to affect traffic.

Tom Tom is programmed to avoid motorways so it’s a short route and takes me through Twyford and Sonning on my way to the studio at Caversham.

11:30 and I’m outside Caversham Park, where it all happens.

A little on the early side, so I drive past and re-program the Sat Nav to take me towards the pub that I’m to meet up with Tina at once the interview is over.

Enough traffic to make me turn back before reaching there.

11:38 back at the BBC.

The security barriers are impressive.

I press the intercom button.

“Hi. It’s Andrea Wright … the Anne Diamond show.”

I have quite a deep voice for an Andrea, But they are expecting me.

The barrier descends into the road and the green light flashes.

I drive towards the car park and pull into a space.

On the whole, I feel nervous but relaxed.

I#m not sure what the questions will be nor what angle things will be approached from. But the people that I’ve spoken with on the phone have been really helpful and positive. So although nervous, I’m not feeling worried.

It’s a short walk from the car park to reception.

It’s strange the things that go through my mind.

How is my deportment? Am I walking in a lady-like fashion?

At reception I introduce myself. Sign the visitors book. Receive my security pass. The ladies at reception are totally un-phased. They make a phone call to say that I’m here.

I take a seat beneath the large TV screen that quietly plays the BBC News service.

Across the way there two guys sit and talk with each other.

And then, someone arrives to collect the three of us.

We’re escorted towards the studio.

Gareth Owen, a movie producer and BAFTA judge from Pinewood studios heads for the studio … I’m due next at midday.

I visit the ladies.

Back in the room beside the studio I’m offered a coffee.

I chat with Andrew, who’s waiting for Gareth, and, I think Marie, who works at the radio station.

Andrew tells a little of his experiences as a contestant on The Weakest Link.

It’s getting close to noon.

Gareth arrives back.

I psyche myself up.

A siren kind of noise begins to sound.

It’s a fire alarm.

We have to evacuate.

Oh my gosh!

I follow people outside.

There’s Marie (I think … but I didn’t catch her name at the beginning) with Bill and she introduces me.

I’m wondering if the interview will ever happen and am glad that it’;s not raining and that the cardigan I’m wearing is nice and warm.

Bill offers goats fudge sweets all round. Coffee flavoured and very nice.

In an odd kind of way the surprise of the fire alarm going off is a bit of a tension reliever. And it’s really nice to have a chance to say hello outside of the studio atmosphere.

The radio listeners are presently listening to music.

Surprisingly soon the alarm stops and the all clear is given. We head back inside and I’m escorted straight to the studio.

Bright Eyes (Art Garfunkel) is playing.

I take a seat opposite Bill, behind a microphone that has a green covering.

The music ends.

The interview begins.

And how do I feel about the whole experience now?

Very positive. The people were all great. Bill Buckley is a lovely guy. The questions were put together in a way that provided an opportunity to say a little about how I got to be where I am.

Of course … after the event … with some time to think … there are lots of observations:

  • wow … I said kind of and I guess wayyyyy too many times
  • there are so many things that I didn’t say that I would have liked to have said … other people that have made such a big and positive difference to me over the past few years on the journey that I’ve made to self acceptance … people like Fiona Floyd, Billie and Kathie, the group that meet for TV Dinners, the Surrey Swans and friends that include Laura, Tina, Emma, Nikki and many more. Places like Pink Punters and Cafe Rouge.

I missed out a whole lot more than I said … but 20 minutes is a short time.

I’m glad of the experience and really grateful to Catherine Bolsover at BBC Radio Berkshire who first contacted Billie and Kathie about the possibility of doing this interview and followed it all up and organised it.

Towards the end of the  interview, Bill asked:

What’s your ultimate aim both for you and for transvestite people generally? Do you have any kind of dreams or hopes particularly?

My response was:

I think, I find it very satisfying and comforting just to be able to kind of walk out in normal places like town centres and things and for people just not to take any notice really. Just to be treated as a human being.

Bill: You just want to be accepted.

Andrea: Yes, exactly.

And I think that captures the essence.

And as Bill said:

Well we’ve come a long way when you think how life would have been either for me as a gay man, or you as a TV, even 20 years ago. Certainly 50 0r 100 years ago. My goodness. Hooray for that.

And yes, things are changing.

And hopefully just little things, this interview will help in that.


Pretty Sissy Dani said...

Fascinating interview...nice to hear your voice. So, have you seen any increase in traffic to the blog?

Andrea said...

Thanks Dani.

A small increase, but nothing spectacular. It was a really worthwhile experience though.