SooToday.com received the following note this morning from Michelle Josef, a former drummer with Prairie Oyster, regarding an advance piece
we ran prior to the band's Sault Ste. Marie appearance last night.
I am not sure who Mr. Ed is but I would like to comment on the review of the new Prairie Oyster album that appeared on the SooToday.com page dated Oct. 26/06.
I am Michelle Josef, the person mentioned in the article.
I don't quite know what the point of mentioning me and issues with Oyster was all about.
I hope that it wasn't meant to trivialize what happened or to treat it flippantly.
My gender transition was the result of years of anguish and personal torment.
It was not a decision that I came to readily.
It is all too easy to depersonalize an issue like transsexuality due to it being such a sensational issue but behind the story is a real person and a real life.
I risked a lot when I decided to make my situation public.
It was not the result of careful planning or some kind of lifestyle choice.
It was the result of total despair and an inability to continue the charade that my male identity was.
My identity as a musician is as important to me as my gender identity and I knew that I was putting decades of hard work on the line.
All has not be easy since then.
When Prairie Oyster fired me they not only rejected me personally but they also created a statement that resounded loud and clear that said "It is not cool to be associated with a transsexual."
They didn't have to do this.
They gave into fear and a climate in society in which it is okay to demean and degrade individuals who deal with a personal obstacle that few of us can comprehend or even have the personal stamina to deal with.
It sure would have made a difference to me, my career and to the lives of other persons challenged with Gender Identity Disorder if the members of Prairie Oyster had the personal and collective integrity to rise above the fear factor and accept me for the talents I offered to them and the friendship I thought that we had.
Just think what kind of a statement that
would have made to society.
Since then, my career has been a tremendous struggle.
I am regularly snubbed and passed over for opportunities that I am not only highly qualified for but also deserve.
Still, I carry on and believe that I have something worthy to offer as a musician and as a human being.
I knew that I risked a lot and I have lost a lot - friends, a career, a good job and even my home.
There is one thing that I am not prepared to give up on and that is my personal integrity and human dignity.
People can think what they want of me, but I am as human as anyone else and I am as worthy of respect as anyone else.
This is why I am writing to you.
Now the years have passed and my issues with Prairie Oyster are fading into the storybook of history.
For some reason your Mr. Ed has decided to resurrect this issue.
It might make for good copy but it makes for lousy humanity.
I hope that the members of Prairie Oyster have done some serious soul searching over what happened between them
Everybody made mistakes in the way that this issue was
I have moved on from then and I harbor absolutely no ill will to them collectively or personally.
I wish them success with their new record.
From the sound of the review, it seems that it has been received favorably by the writer.
He stated that it is their music that speaks most eloquently.
I hope that this is also the case with me.
I want people to speak of me as a good drummer not as the person that was screwed by Prairie Oyster.
Thanks for listening,
*************************Full SooToday.com coverage of Prairie OysterLet's go hear the meanies who fired Michelle JosefA letter about Prairie Oyster and transgender drummers10 pictures of Prairie Oyster, not one of Lindsay PughMichelle Josef writes us about being fired by Prairie Oyster
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