Ulelli: Hi, this is Ulelli and I am here with…?
Antony: Antony Seales.
Ulelli and Antony: Guyana.
Ulelli: So, thanks for agreeing to do this project with me Antony. So, just tell me a bit about yourself, a bit about your work.
Antony: Well, I basically peer educate; I go out into the fields, let’s say at bars and restaurants, and so on, and I distribute condoms and I communicate with persons on a day-to-day basis with the ongoing HIV virus that is spreading. We do prevention and HIV testing and yes, that is basically what I do.
Ulelli: Ok, so tell me a bit about yourself in terms of your home life.
Antony: My home life, in general, my home life is as normal. I have a loving Mom and Dad. I don’t have any discrimination or anything. I don’t have any hatred going on but what I really have right now is a good family and they are really accepting towards me. It’s like, I feel just fine and I am just me, just that person.
Ulelli: Nice. Why I asked you to do this project is because I saw you, I saw a photo of you on Facebook and I thought it was pretty cool and interesting that you were brave enough to dress the way you do. Can you tell me a bit about the shoes, the ones you are so in love with?
Antony : Well, the shoes that I am so in love with, I was long searching for a guy, like a male shoe, that has heels with it and I am so glad that I finally found it. Especially for the person that made it. I am very glad that they made it to suit, imagine a person like me actually wanted a shoe like these and it is possible, and that person that made it, I am very thankful and it makes me feel satisfied right now because with this shoes I feel satisfied because it is one thing I have accomplished in life and that I could actually walk with it in society and I feel free to walk with it in society. I feel very... it’s like three inches and I feel it pushes me up and even when I went in a place to have a line up, I am actually seeing over everyone how it’s like three inches tall. Yes, so it is cool, very cool. I would encourage any guy to wear it. It doesn’t mean that you are dressing in any opposite way. It could suit any guy. A guy could walk in very masculine and he could wear this shoe and he could look masculine, even more masculine and all, because guys back in those days with their afro and so on - like, in the 70s I am talking about - used to wear this shoe and they used to look awesome with it. The only thing is that I wear the pencil bottom which is quite different from the 70s when they use to wear the bell bottom which used to cover the shoes and you don’t see the shoes but it’s quite awesome. Very awesome shoes.
Ulelli: How do people behave? What is your experience when you walk in the shoes on the street and where do you go?
Antony: Well, basically, I just walk around like anywhere. When I have some “me time”, I basically just go out and have a walk, have a lunch and so on, you know, at some restaurant and I basically just walk around in town like any other normal person. I don’t feel anyway whilst walking in the shoes but whilst walking through the streets I get some good remarks and some bad ones also as you know, it’s something strange, it don’t usually worn in Guyana. And it looks quite strange to some persons especially persons who don’t know much about the 70s. They might say, “What is that he is wearing?” or, “What is this, what is going on here?” You know? And it is quite funny. I just laugh it off and I don’t like show any negative. I try to be as happy as possible, being happy is the greatest thing. The good comments that persons would usually say are, “Wow, that’s an amazing shoe”’ I was in the pharmacy the other day and I was like checking out this product and a guy was like, “Damn man, where you get that shoe from? That shoe look so cool, man! Where did you get it from?” I told him online and he said, “Oh ok, that is cool, is that the only colour they have in them?” Because this one is a white and I was like, “No, that is not the only colour, it has black, it has silver, it has white, and it also has some funny zebra-looking colours but I don’t find that one interesting.” But I find the white, the pure black and the pure silver very nice. It has some shiny ones too. If you could go online you could check it out and very cool stuff. And especially ladies, for the woman, especially the vendors, they would say, ‘“I like your shoes, I like your shoes.” And so when I walk around in town, yeah, very great. Those are the comments I usually get.
Ulelli: So, what do you want to tell people who do not understand much about gender expression, how people dress differently to suit their feelings? What do you want to teach them? What do you want them to know?
Antony: I want them to know that you can. For me, my gender expression, I decided to look for something that is close to masculine but it could suit anybody, anybody could wear it and it’s like close to my gender. These shoes, you can see from the front, it looks like masculine shoes and so on, and the only thing is that the heels make it look different. But guys used to wear these shoes and for me, my gender expression is very, I don’t like put out myself into the public one, but my gender expression is, I try to keep it as normal as possible. But all persons out there that decided to do anything that would distract the public and so on, I encourage them to do it but just know your limits and your laws and so on. Because, each country is run by laws and it could be quite not easy for some persons, especially guys who want to wear a female heel in public. It could be very… that is why they have to do it in the nights and so on; at a party where there is persons like you, you can be able to associate with and it’s quite normal to wear it there. In public, there are persons of different cultures and different backgrounds and so it might not be easy for persons and so gender expression is you needing to know your limits and I would encourage anybody, we are not in a normal society, especially if you wear something strange, it could be strange forever, since persons don’t know and the opposite gender, you wearing it could be quite strange. You could get discrimination and those things but wearing shoes in public, I have not received any, I have received bad remarks but it is just talks only. It is just really talks, it’s just like a gay person walking through or a person of the LGBT community walking through and they getting these remarks. It’s just something like that.
Ulelli: Alright, is there anything else you want to add?
Antony: Well, I am very glad that I am doing this gender expression project and that they can feel free to express themselves but do it in a cautious way so that you could blend in society, whatever society you are in.
Ulelli: Thank you.