Gia Drew is a 52-year old transwoman who serves as the director of Equality Maine: an organization in Portland, Maine that provides educational programs to support the LGBTQ+ Community of Maine. Her life experience has greatly prepared her for this role, and she shares that with us in this interview. Her story is vast as it spans over several topics (as indicated in the “keywords” section), several different states, and two very different regions of the country. Gia struggles with coming out as trans for her entire young adult life as she navigates bisexuality, hypermasculinity, social pressure in K-12 schools, fear of HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and her marriage to a woman, with whom she moves to a very rural community in Vermont where her queer community disappears. Finally, Gia, as a transwoman, makes a spectacular appearance for the first time at a Portland Pride Parade as she comes out in her forties.
This interview is unique for its seamless story-telling. Gia is an excellent narrator as she captures the emotion, whether it’s devastation or ecstasy, of growing up in a world mostly inhospitable to queer individuals. She discusses the power of love, and is deeply introspective and provides commentary on her motivations and is both critical and sympathetic of her past. This also provides an interesting study into the art of grief, and moving forward, as well as the twisting narrative of her life.
Ms. Drew makes mention of the work of photographer Anmette Dragon in her interview. You can see a selection of Annette Dragon's photographs HERE.
Transwoman, Transgender, Coming out, Sexual Assault, Catholic Church, HIV/AIDS, Drug use, Isolation, Queer community, Marriage, Divorce, Pride parade, Maine TransNet, Art Teacher, Public school teacher, Depression, Suicide, Vermont, Boston, Savannah GA, Syracuse University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Alternative subculture, Goth subculture, Gay clubs, Gay bars, Family relationships, Filene’s Boston, Alcohol use and abuse, Violence, 80’s culture, High school, Masculinity, Sports, Shame, Mentorship, Role models, Big families, Sibling relationships
History of Gender | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Oral History | Women's Studies
Kersey, David and Prior, Katie, "Drew, Gia" (2019). Querying the Past: LGBTQ Maine Oral History Project Collection. 54.