An Interview with Lucy Diavolo

This is the second in a series of interviews with transgender artists and content creators. This week, I am interviewing my friend Lucy or Lulu. I met her and her band The Just Luckies at a basement show back in October, 2017. She’s also a super talented writer! Okay, here’s the interview.

-How do you identify and what pronouns do you prefer?

Lucy aka Lulu. she/her. I identify as a trans woman because it makes me feel good in social situations, but I think my internal sense of it is somewhere in the middle or off the binary entirely. WRT sexuality, I tend to find most labels needlessly restrictive, so I usually just say I’m queer because so many people are so hot.

-Where were you living when you came out? How did your family handle the transition?

I ran away from Ohio to Chicago to come out. It was pretty hard with my family for maybe the first month. My younger sister has always been on board, but it was definitely unexpected for everyone. I’d been living in Chicago for like 6 months when I came out, and I hadn’t locked down a decent job. But my parents found resources that helped them through it on their own, and my dad went to the DC Women’s March in 2017 with a sign that said, “FOR MY DAUGHTERS: HELEN & LUCY”.

-What kind of art are you interested in making at the moment?

I just did this small painting I’m really excited about. I got a 10 pack of canvases and painted a bunch of them black so I can do scenes from space on them. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do in the foreground in them, but I was inspired to do a giant, very simple cherry red dildo the other day. I think I want to do a whole series of dildos in space.

I’m a writer by trade and a musician by hobby, so I do a mix of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, & songwriting with the pen & keyboard, too.

-What kind of media are you enjoying? (video games, movies, music, etc)

I’m playing Skyrim…again/still. My partner got me a subscription to the the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, so I’ve been reading a lot of short stories & novellas lately. Also, Black Panther was A+++.

-What are some of your influences in music?  

Musically, I’ve always been a bit of a collector. Punk was formative for me, especially acts like Joan Jett, the Distillers, the Vivian Girls, & the Donnas. Always had a soft spot for classic rock, too: Heart is my go-to on vinyl. My college friends used to get intimidated by my iPod because there was so much hip-hop, classical, jazz, and more on it. The last time I was at Bric-A-Brac for a show, I got Pat Benetar’s “In The Heat of the Night” on vinyl and I listen to it ALL the time.

-Do you have a certain moment that made you realize you wanted to come out or inspired you?

There’s definitely a moment I remember from like May of 2015, I think? I had been doing the “crossdressing” thing on and off for like 10 years at that point, and I finally bought a wig–it was a purple bob. By that point, I had been doing a lot of research, but the first time I put it it on, I kind of just knew the answers to all the questions I had. Prior to that, starting in like 2013, I was finally coming out to romantic partners with mixed results.

-If you’re on hormones, etc, did you go through a therapist? Informed Consent? 

I did informed consent at the Chicago Women’s Health Center. I tried to go to an after-hours clinic at one of the other well-known placed in Chicago, but they left me in an exam room for an hour and the nurses clearly didn’t understand why I was there because I had just come from work and was in boy clothes.

– Do you have any resources you’d like to share?

I run a group called T-FEM (Transfeminine Alliance of Chicago) at the Center on Halstead. It’s a discussion-based community group for anyone AMAB who isn’t cis or think they might not be. I also love Brave Space Alliance on the south side.

-Do you have any trans role models?

I love LaSaia Wade, who runs Brave Space. She’s a model of the kind of activist for this community that I’d love to be. Radicals like Marsha Johnson & Sylvia Rivera are always on my mind as I live my life. I also worship Laverne Cox for everything she does. Janet Mock is a model of grace and strength for me, as well.

When I was first coming out, I had like a holy trinity, though. I was starting to do research and understand my feelings when Caitlyn Jenner (YUCK, I know) came out, and seeing her on the cover of Vanity Fair made me go, “Shit, anyone can do that.” Then, Laura Jane Grace came out. I wasn’t a huge Against Me! fan to begin with–I’d seen them once on the Warped Tour and it was a kick-ass set–but when I listened to her episode of WTF with Marc Maron, I was like, “Shit, punks can do that?!” Then, a friend of mine from college came out. Her name is Patti Harrison & she’s a kick-ass New York comedian now who gets all kinds of cool talk show spots and even her own Rolling Stone profile. When she came out, I was like, “Shit, *I* can do that.”

-What are you excited about in 2018?

I just started a new job at Teen Vogue this week as a News & Politics editor. That’s pretty exciting. The band I play with, The Just Luckies, is also going back into the studio this April to record new music. It’s looking like an EP of songs about heartbreak w/ some politics, which is exactly on brand for us.

-How is your community in the city you live in?

Chicago’s trans community is amazing. First of all, it’s gigantic (relatively speaking), but still tight knit enough that I know of people long before I actually know them. I’m plugged into a lot of different circles through different groups & events I’ve been a part of. It’s a really healthy mix of activists, artists, and just generally really kick-ass people.

– What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? What’s the best job?

Worst is tough. I’ve inspected sewer lines working as municipal employee for a yuppy suburb, I’ve stacked hundreds of boxes in the back of semi trailers on graveyard shifts, I’ve worked construction with the most vile man I could’ve ever imagined, and I’ve been in factory situations with mandatory 70 hours weeks during busy seasons. My last job, which was my first full-time writing gig, was my first post-transition and I got officially hired on after 6 months of an internship. On the call where he decided to hire me full time, the big boss called me “Sir” at the end and then tried to say he used it as a “gender neutral” term. He never apologized or really spoke to me again for the year and a half that I worked there.

As far as best, it’s probably too early to tell, but I’m really excited about this Teen Vogue gig. Every job I’ve had has had its bright spots–normally my co-workers. I find a lot of value in getting along with the people I work with, so I tend to prioritize that at work. All the people in my last office were the best part of working there. When I was doing construction, renovation, & demolition back in Ohio, I had a really rewarding friendship with this dude who was a demolition derby driver on the county fair circuit.

– What is the one thing you’d want if you had the money? (piece of gear, computer, tv, idk, a leather jacket)

A sick bass head with a giant cab that’s also full of helium tubing so I can carry it like a lunch box.

– Any links for your art? Anything else you’d like to share?

The Just Luckies’ album Lovesick Politics is available on iTunes, Spotify & at thejustluckies.bandcamp.com. We’re also online at thejustluckies.com & on all your favorite social media as @TheJustLuckies.

You can find my writing & other random stuff like music videos I’ve been in, random one-off solo covers, graphic design, and what I really think about Caitlyn Jenner on my blog, satansjacuzzi.wordpress.com. I’m also @SatansJacuzzi on Twitter & IG, where I post about band gigs and other random storytelling/reading shows I do.

This was really fun, thanks for asking me!

Thanks again for doing the interview, Lucy!

(If you are a non-cis person that makes music, art, comics, lets play streams, etc, then email me your basic info and links to: fggcomic@gmail.com and we can set up an interview.) 

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