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Georgia Transgender Oral History Project: M

McDaniel, Ttracee

Interviewee: Tracee McDaniel
Interviewer: Ashley Coleman Taylor
Date of interview: December 4, 2017

Interviewee: Tracee McDaniel
Interviewer: A.C. Panella
Date of interview: May 28, 2021


Trans human rights advocate and published author, Tracee McDaniel (she/her) was born and raised in Sumter, South Carolina. After her high school graduation, she spent time in Myrtle Beach, before moving to Atlanta, where she worked as a cashier in a fast food restaurant, and began her career as a female impersonator. In 1990, McDaniel moved to Los Angeles, to escape from a domestically violent intimate partner, and while she was there, she worked in the corporate world by day and as a performance artist - Destiny, Your Mistress of Illusions - by night. During her time in Los Angeles, Tracee was hand-selected to perform as Diana Ross's stand-in for her "I Will Survive" music video shoot. She also featured in the VH1 miniseries, The Jacksons - An American Dream, and appeared in the film, Primary Colors.

Once Tracee returned to Atlanta, she became involved with issues around trans housing as founder and Executive Director of the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, an advocacy, consulting and social services organization specifically designed to empower the trans and gender non-conforming community.  Juxtaposed Center is also an anchoring organization for Trans Housing Atlanta Program, Inc, which provides supportive and emergency housing resources to homeless and marginalized trans and gender non-conforming people. In 2007, Tracee was the first trans person to be invited to deliver a keynote speech at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration march and rally. Also i 2007, she marched on Washington, D.C., and lobbied the United States Congress to support a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and increased AIDS funding.

In 2013, Tracee published Transitions: Memoirs of a Transsexual Women, and 2014, she became a vetted trainer for the United States Department of Justice CRS program, "Law Enforcement and Transgender Community," which educates federal law enforcement officers how to better interact with Trans people.  In 2015, Tracee was invited to brief the White House about employment and economic equity at its Trans Women of Color History Month Briefing. In 2016, she was appointed to serve a three-year term on the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, and is currently serving a second term.

Tracee organized Atlanta's annual Trans Day of Rememberance Vigils for ten years. She also served on the Trans Housing Atlanta Program's board of directors, the Center for Civil and Human Rights LGBTQ Institute Advisory Board, and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' TLGBQI Advisory Council. In 2020, Tracee was recognized in a resolution from the Georgia House of Representatives, when she received the Yellow Rose Nikki T. Randall Servant Leadership Award.

Tracee always unapologetically puts the "T" first, as she believes that trans visibility saves lives.

Abstract, May 28, 2021:
Tracee McDaniel discusses growing up in South Carolina before living in Georgia in the 1980s, moving to California in the early 1990s and then returning to the east coast to live in Atlanta in the early 2000s. She reminisces about her independent single mother who raised her in the Southern Baptist Church and her mother's ultimate acceptance of her as a trans woman, demonstrated most fiercely at McDaniel's grandmother's funeral. McDaniel also discusses the early days of her transition, including her time in Job Corps, a federal vocational program for young adults, where she met her first transgender peer and began hormone replacement therapy in Atlanta in the 1980s. During the interview, McDaniel describes her career as a performance artist, her alter ego "Destiny, Your Mistress of Illusions," and her various successes, including standing in as Diana Ross for rehearsals of the music video, "I will Survive" and appearing in "The Jacksons: An American Dream" (1992) and John Travolta's "Primary Colors" (1998). At the time of the interview, McDaniel mentioned that she was serving a second term on the Atlanta Citizen's Review Board, an oversight board for city police. This leads to discussion of McDaniel's long history as an activist for trans people, including her experiences working for the Minority AIDS Project in California (990s), establishing an anchoring organization for the Trans Housing Atlanta Program called Juxtaposed Center (2007), meeting with the Obama administration to discuss the challenges facing trans people of color (2015), and navigating advocacy efforts during the COVID 19 pandemic. 

McGee, Amari

Interviewee: Amari McGee
Interviewer: A.C. Panella
Date of interview: August 2, 2022



Amari "Mari" McGee (he/him) is an LGBTQ+ professional speaker, educator, activist, life coach/consultant, and content creator. During his professional career, Mari has been featured in Canva, USA Today, and PinkNews. He delivers educational and inspirational keynote presentations that focus on gender identity empowerment, transgender history, and family acceptance. Mari is a transgender man who, after years of gender dysphoria, decided to dedicate his life to educating and empowering the next generation of trans youth and young adults. As an inspirational speaker, educator, and consultant; Mari also brings over 5 years of experience as a transgender activist to his work. 

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