Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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The Alexandra Billings Story

About Producer Alexandra Silets

Alexandra Silets is a producer for WTTW. She received her undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and her master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. After working at other television jobs in Chicago, Alex joined "Chicago Tonight" in August of 1997. At WTTW, she has worked on a variety of award-winning shows including producing "Chicago Tonight," "Chicago Week In Review, and "The Cheap Show," a Chicago version of "Politically Incorrect." She honed her documentary skills while working on WTTW's weekly documentary series, "Chicago Stories," which focused on the quintessential people, places and events in Chicago's history. In 2007, she co-produced a groundbreaking documentary on the history of Chicago's Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual and Transgendered community. "Out & Proud In Chicago" won a Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism by the Society of Professional Journalists for Best Public Affairs Programming. It also finished third in an international competition, The Hugo Television Awards sponsored by the Chicago International Film Festival. Her next documentary for WTTW is about the extraordinary life a transgender actress. "Schoolboy to Showgirl: The Alexandra Billings Story" will debut on WTTW-11 on June 19 at 8:30p. She is also working on a four-part series on Women's Health for Channel 11.

About Host/Narrator Cin Salach

Chicago poet and performer Cin Salach was not only Scott Billings first kiss in 6th grade, reconnected with Billings after she had fully transitioned. She wrote a poem for Alexandra and Chrisanne as a wedding gift and read it at the beginning of their wedding in 1995.

Love Becomes You

Love becomes you, simply, almost unnoticeable at first; it's like that, you know, unnoticeable at first. Then a hurricane, then constant regular breathing, then kisses and motion. And time rearranging its schedule to make sure there's space. And space rearranging its schedule to make sure there's time. While love sits patiently in the center of this stage, crystal gowns and pools at her feet. Heart high, hands strong, arms open. She has been listening all along you know, taking careful notes, preparing the future, knowing that someday the two of you would finish your endless waiting and invite her home. Someday, today, today you are saying "welcome love." Today you are saying "live here with us, we will share our life with you until we have no more life to live and then we will share our passing." We will keep you warm and we will keep you full and oh, my God we will keep you so happy. And thank you love for not holding me hostage when I wanted to be free. For holding me generous and touching me lightly when I just needed to know that someone was there. Thank you for taking notes, for being more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. For saying yes, I will marry you -- I will -- I do.

Suggested Reading

Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America
By Esther Newton
The University of Chicago Press

Out & Proud In Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community
Edited by Tracy Baim
Surrey Books

Transgender History
By Susan Stryker
Seal Press

Related Websites

Alexandra Billings' Website

Alexandra Billings' Blog - "Stillettos and Sneakers"

The Baton Show Lounge

"Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation's Schools" - GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) Study

"Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness" - NGLTF (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) Study

Transgender Civil Rights Project - established by NGLTF to work for transgender equality

Transgender Rights in Illinois - ACLU

Transgender Rights - Lambda Legal

Chicago Gender Society

Illinois Gender Advocates

Center on Halsted

Howard Brown Health Center - provides comprehensive medical services for transgender patients

Equality Illinois

RuPaul's Drag Race

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