Maine’s Trans Books

Happy Pride Month! Several years ago, I made an observation… my home state of Maine has produced a fairly high number of books by, about, or connected to Trans people. I thought I’d gather those I know about here.

  • Jennifer Finney Boylan
    Jennifer is a former professor at Colby College here in Waterville, Maine. She’s best known for her book She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, which documented her transition. I’ve also attended a few readings of the book and was able to meet her on at least one of those occasions.
  • Nicole Maines
    Nicole first came to the public’s attention by fighting discriminatory practices at her school outside of Bangor, Maine. The incidents resulted in a several legal cases as well as her family relocating to Portland, Maine. She went onto star as Dreamer in the TV series Supergirl and the independent vampire movie Bit. I met her in passing at a past Portland Pride event.
  • Imogen Binnie
    I can’t recommend this book, and its very stream-of-conscience writing, enough. It’s clearly semi-autobiographical – the lead character is Trans and works in a bookshop (much like the author). Though I’d seen her band, Correspondences, a few times, I met her briefly when she was working a local bookshop.

    From the Amazon page for the recently republished version of the book:
    • `One of Vogue‘s Best Books of 2022 So Far
    • Buzzfeed‘s Summer Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down
    • Book Riot‘s Best Summer Reads for 2022
    • Dazed‘s Queer Books to Read in 2022
  • Janet Mock
    Janet isn’t from Maine, but the state gets a shout early on in the book. Her boyfriend at the time grew up in Cumberland, Maine.

So, did I miss amy others?

1 Degree of Gordon Ramsay

If you watched the recent Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episode, you would have seen chef Melissa Kelly of Primo in Rockland. Back in 2008 I photographed a few Maine restaurants for a personal photo project, including Chef Kelly. She was super welcoming and accommodating (and the food was phenomenal!). Check out a few of the photos on my website.

Good Taco Hunting

Saturday Night Live recently had a sketch with Casey Affleck playing the stereotypical New England Dunkin Donuts customer.  It jogged my memory of a celebrity meeting that happened over a decade ago.

I’ve had the chance to meet or talk to a few famous people over the years.  There are concert and record signing meetings; Wilco and Gillian Welch come to mind.  I once met the artists Christo and Jeanne Claude in a secretive appearance at my alma mater.  Then there were the times I walked by Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips and Henry Rollins in separate incidents on Congress Street in Portland, Maine.  I talked to Henry (we’re on a first name basis, clearly) about how much I liked him on Sons of Anarchy.  He looked at me kind of funny when I said it.  He was playing a neo-Nazi and I just told him how much I liked the character.  Oops.

My family and I met then-Vice President George H. W. Bush at his house in Kennebunkport, Maine when I was 6 or 7 years old.  My father was a cop and he’d invited various people from law enforcement to his house as a thank you.  I played Atari and horseshoes and swam in his salt water pool.  We had some Coke together, too.  Pretty sure it was Coke Classic, not the new formula released around that time.

So why mention all of this?  The Dunkin Donuts sketch reminded me of a time I went to Anna’s Taqueria in the Boston area.  I was visiting some friends and we decided to grab a bite to eat.  As we made our way in, a man and women were headed out.  He was tall, broad shouldered, scruffy, and wearing a dark hat and some Carhartt gear.  He bumped into my friend and quietly apologized.  The woman was in head-to-toe pink winter outwear and appeared to have a shaven head (though we debated this fact).  While it didn’t click for my friends, I realized immediately it was Ben Affleck.  He was dressed and groomed almost identically to his brother in the Dunkin Donuts video.  I guess you can take the man out of Boston, but not the Boston out of the man.

What celebrities have you met or seen in person?