An Inspiration, an icon, a role model

As usual I’ve left it far too long between blogs. Fact is I lead a crazily busy life, working full time with CalMac, running my small maintenance business and of course writing, whether that be my next book which is well underway, or writing articles or features for newspapers, magazines or organizations. Not only that trying to fit in my ongoing book signing tour, and oh yes, even a holiday, which took me to London and the south coast. Although the London part of my holiday was mostly doing all the usual stuff I like to do there, I also had a couple of meetings with journalists who were researching my story with a view to taking it to new audiences, and hopefully securing airtime on national TV programs south of the border. Although my story has received a huge amount of interest here in Scotland it has still to have any significant impact in the rest of the UK.

Thankfully, my story continues to attract a fair bit of attention from the media and elsewhere. I featured in Your Life Magazine where they included Caitlyn Jenner in the feature about my life and had she and I pictured on the same page, which I thought was interesting.

As has been the case in the past, on my media rollercoaster journey since Becoming Julie was published, I’ve often thought that the interest in my story must slow down at some point and I suppose it will eventually, even if I don’t want it to.

The above-mentioned Your Life Magazine piece had only been out for a couple of weeks in August and was still being talked about when I got a tweet from someone at the Scottish Icon Awards to say that I’d been nominated for the Role Model category 2015. This was a bolt from the blue, as for a start I’d never heard of the Icon Awards, let alone imagined that I’d be nominated.

However, I was told that the nomination was in recognition of my achievement in inspiring other transgender people through my book Becoming Julie, as my story showed that it can be done and you can become your true self, even in the face of overwhelming odds. I was told that many people were now seeing me as their role model, and someone to aspire to. But just as importantly, my book has enlightened and educated mainstream readers to the plight of transgender people, with many saying it has been a real eye opener and that they just hadn’t realized what it must be like to go through life as a transgender person, and also saying that I am an inspiration and a role model for transgender people everywhere.

Anyway, I was duly informed that an initial public vote saw me getting a significant amount of votes and I had been shortlisted in the Role Model Category. Next stage was a further public vote that commenced on 21st September where I would go head to head with 5 other finalists. I have to say that I was astonished I’d been shortlisted, but also delighted. As with most things in my life, if I see an opportunity I try to make the most of it and this was no different. Therefore, along with my publisher, Fledgling Press, I embarked on a big social media and emailing campaign to guide potential voters to the Icon Awards website where they would find the link to vote, and as far as I’m aware it was quite successful as a lot of folk replied saying they had voted for me, which is truly amazing.

  • Julie & Caitlyne Jenner in 'Your Life Magazine'

    Julie & Caitlyne Jenner in 'Your Life Magazine'

  • Icon Awards Finalist Certificate

    Icon Awards Finalist Certificate

Voting finally ended on 5th October with the results due to be announced at a big extravagant ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow. As a finalist I was sent an information pack along with two VIP tickets for me and a partner. However, I was up against tough opposition with my fellow finalists being: Derek Ogg QC – Karen Dunbar – Jenni Robertson – Jai Latto, Miss Transgender United – and Scott Rennie.

I decided to invite my publisher, Clare from Fledgling Press, to accompany me to the big evening bash. She accepted enthusiastically and the first thing we discussed was what we were going to wear. Dress code for the night was: ‘Fabulous’ so finding the right outfit was all important. I decided on something glittery with a gold-silver necklace and earrings and lots of bling.

With 560 guests including celebrities, politicians and dignitaries it was always going to be an impressive event, the star of the night being Conchita Wurst, winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, who had flown into Glasgow especially for the occasion. It was great to meet and see her perform live onstage. I have to say that the whole thing was very well staged and went without a hitch. It was awesome!!

However, although the drinks, fabulous dinner and entertainment was great, there was business at hand and the winners of the 15 categories had to be announced, and this was duly done over the course of the evening.

The Role Model category was 9th out of 15 to be announced, so it was a nervous but excitable wait, with all the usual anticipation with such a thing. Had I won, or hadn’t I? But everyone at our table was rooting for each other, which was nice.

After much ado the Role Model category was announced and it was won by Karen Dunbar, comedienne, actress and TV personality. Yes, I was disappointed, but as I saw it, I couldn’t really compete with such a big celebrity as Karen and that made me feel a little better. I had been nominated, I had received a significant amount of votes, and other transgender people now see me as a Role Model for transgender people everywhere. My story has also enlightened and is enlightening and educating cisgender people everywhere too as to the plight of transgender people. This is what is important if society is ever going to come to terms with those of us who have taken an alternative path in life through no fault of our own.

As I like to say – you’re never too old to rock ‘n’ roll, no g!

See you next time,
Julie

  • Conchita

    Conchita

  • Julie Clarke & Leeze Lawrence (Icons) at The Icon Awards 2015

    Julie Clarke & Leeze Lawrence (Icons) at The Icon Awards 2015