Interview with a Superstar – Jon of URNotAlone.com
JON: Well… I’m kind of a workaholic. I work all day at my “real” job, the job that pays the bill, I come home in the evening and work on the site, answering eMails, popping into our Chat Room, Approving/Rejecting Profiles, editing images and video and the like. On weekends I do get to relax a bit, Friday nights are usually spent at Jacques Cabaret, our neighborhood TBar, Saturday’s I spend doing errands or photoshoots if they’re scheduled and Sunday’s are spent with my wonderful daughter.
VR: Where are you living these days?
JON: I’m living in downtown Boston with my other half, Vicky. I’m within crawling distance, literally, of Jacques Cabaret and near the Theater District. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston and have been living in the city for close to 15 years now. Boston’s a great city with lots to do and it can all be done on foot without having to get in a car to go from place to place.
VR: I know this is a hard question, but can you tell us what your life has been about besides your website, URnotAlone?
JON: This is a hard question… I’m alot like everyone else… I work hard to pay the bills and make a living… to be able to help my daughter do whatever she decides she’d like to do with her life, to make Vicky happy… and most importantly to try and enjoy my short time here. I’m a materialist to an extent and do believe that the one who dies with the most toys wins… I like fast cars, exotic foods, traveling, good whiskey, fine cigars, pretty TGirls, intelligent conversation. I like to feel that I’ve accomplished something, that in some way, I’ve made it easier for someone else to travel the path that I’ve traveled.
VR: When did you realize you had a special place in your heart for the transgender community?
JON: Well, to be honest, it started out striclty as a Physical Attraction. The 1st time I walked into a porno shop and saw the TGirl Section, I knew, immediately, that it was what turned me on sexually. I grew up kind of sheltered, in the suburbs, so this was my 1st actual exposure to TGirls… in adult magazines and videos. Growing up in the suburbs I really never met any TV’s or CD’s or TS’s and really never understood how many were out there… I thought they were a very rare thing and honestly thought I’d never have an opportunity to meet one. My 1st experience with a TGirl was a few years after I got married, so by most standards it was pretty late in life. I just wish their had been something equivalent to the Web when I was younger that would’ve allowed me to correspond with and meet some of the girls and to find out place to go where they hung out. My real involvment with the community came after meeting Vicky and after being in a relationship with her for 5 years and meeting her friends and some of the girls in Jacques Cabaret and getting to know them as people.
VR: Who was your inspiration growing up?
JON: I’ve never the type of person that really looks up to other people. I guess if I had to pick someone it would have to be John Lennon. He struck me as a person who really wanted to right the wrongs in the world and a person who spoke up for the oppressed and his music wasn’t just meaningless it had a message and you could feel his anger, especially before his marraige to Yoko Ono which mellowed him out over time. Frank Zappa, because of his musical abilities and his irreverence towards society was another person I looked up to… I guess I always identified with Rebels.
VR: Is there anyone you admire these days you care to share with us?
JON: Is there anyone I admire… that’s a really tough question… I can say that I envy Bill Gates… from a garage to what Microsoft is today… I don’t honestly think I can point to anyone that I can say I admire. Hmmm, maybe that’s a personality flaw on my part?
VR: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
JON: Other than my daughter? I’d have to say URNotAlone… it’s come along way since I started it in 1995 as tiny little Geocities site used mainly by Admirer’s to find out where the TBars were in different cities and to what it’s evolved into today as a Resource for the Transgendered Community as a whole… Girls, Admirers, Couples, Support Groups, Boys, Escorts a place to Chat and to find out what’s going on in the Community.
VR: What really makes you happy?
JON: Accomplishing things, whether it be with my “real” job, with the websites, my daughter, the feeling of doing something that is appreciated by others. Having time to chill out and just lie in front of the tube makes me very happy since it’s a rare occasion that I have the time to just do nothing. I like a good cigar, a good single malt scotch, I love to read science fiction (something I do every night to wind down), I enjoy good movies, traveling (another thing I don’t get to do as much as I’d like these days), driving with the top off my car on a nice day, seeing Vicky happy, spending time with my daughter and just hanging out at Jacques on the weekend, meeting new girls and having a few drinks.
VR: What really makes you upset?
JON: This may not be politically correct, but I’d have to say religion. I see religion as the root of most of the evil in the world and feel the world would be a much better place without religion altogether. 9/11 pissed me off, as do homicide bombers in the middle east. Something that relates more to the community we’re both a part of… it really pisses me off that so many girls have to prostitute themselves for a living because society won’t accept them for who they are and for what they have to offer… that people could just look past the surface.
VR: Do you have any pet peeves?
JON: This might be an odd one… I do Adult Content… it really gets me pissed when someone come off with a holier than though attitutde and accuses me of taking advantage of girls and equating that part of what I do with something that’s wrong. I guess I just don’t think it’s wrong. I shoot models that come to me, girls who can use the money they make when they do a photoshoot, girls who I treat professionally and with respect and who enjoy modeling… adult modeling. When someone accuses me of being a pornographer and uses the term in a negative way… that really pisses me off. I see nothing wrong with Adult Entertainment, I personally enjoy porno and just don’t understand the mentality that porno is bad and that people that are involved with Adult Entertainment are bad… I guess I just don’t get it… I’d have to say that this usually ties in with religious convictions of which I have none.
VR: Do you think you are a nice person or do you think you can be a prick at times?
JON: I do think I’m a nice person. I’m kind of an introvert which can give the impression to people that I’m
stand offish at times, when, in reality, I’m just damn shy until I’ve met someone and talked with them a bit. We all have our days and I have mine, but for the most part, I’m a very tolerant person, pretty open minded and easy going… just not as much of a social animal as other people are. I tend to be more of a thinker and to contemplate things and find it difficult at times to keep up my end of a conversation in a social setting. I don’t have much tolerance for people who know what is right for the world and who want to tell me how I should live my life… I can be a prick to that type of person.
VR: What do you think makes you stand out above others, anything at all?
JON: I don’t care about what others think. If I think something is the right thing to do, I normally just do it. I don’t dwell on things… for example, I love TGirls and I don’t really care why I love them. Alot of people try to psychoanalyze their sexual preferences, their desires and wind up confused or just plain miserable. I’ve always thought it was a waste of time and energy to try and put too much meaning to things that give one pleasure or that make one happy… if it does… it does… there’s really no need to explain it to others or to try to get too deep into your own head…
VR: Have you ever had a true love in life?
JON: I’m not sure I really believe in a true love. I am in love with Vicky. I’ve been in love with Vicky since the day we 1st met back in November of 1990. I was in love with my ex-wife when we got married. I was in love many times before that with many different girls.
VR: Are you in love now?
JON: Oops, guess I already answered that above:-) Vicky is the love of my life:-)
VR: It is time to tell us all about UrnotAlone, where did that come from and how did you come up with that great name for a site
JON: You’re not going to believe this… I should probably lie… but being a lover of Science Fiction… I chose URNotAlone to mean we are not alone in the universe… well… it took on a meaning of it’s own and turned out to be a very apt name indeed. Initially URNotAlone was a place for me to learn to build a web page. I had a desire to learn something about web development and needed something that would hold my interest. A friend of mine, Tim, said to me… “You know Drag Bars all over the country, why don’t you start a page listing where the bars are”… a lightbulb in my head lit up and I knew it was the perfect idea. I was travelling quite a bit in the early to late ’90’s and hated to have to figure out where the TBars were every time I went to a new city and figured that there were alot of people in the same boat. So, it really started out as a list of TBars in the cities I used to travel with… I started taking pictures of some of the girls at Jacques Cabaret and putting them up… from there I started adding profiles for girls, I addes a section with pics of my girlfriend Vicky and from some of her performances when she used to host Latino nights at some of the local bars and then a little section for my pet green Iguana Mongo (she passed away) and now, it’s grown into something far beyond what I ever envisioned.
VR: I know you have taken on a partner to help you out with the site, what is Dan like?
JON: Dan’s great… very bright… very hard working… an all around great guy. We actually worked together remotely for 2 years before meeting in the flesh for the 1st time a few months back. It’s interesting how Dan got involved with URNA. Dan wasn’t really into the TGirl scene but more into the Alternative / Fetish Scene in and around Columbus, Ohio. He knew some of the girls in the clubs in Columbus and some of the girls knew that he did web development for a living. This was around the time that I was about to throw in the towel on URNA. It was a poor design, all static html and everytime I had to do updates it was a major undertaking… I’d be spending 4-6 hours a night doing updates and I just couldn’t keep up with it anymore. I had put up a note that I couldn’t devote the time to it anymore and that I’d be discontinuing the site. Upon seeing this, some of the girls in Columbus talked to Dan to see if he’d be willing to offer his help. He sent me an eMail, out of the blue, offering to assist. I was very hesitant… I can be kind of a control freak at times. We talked… Dan offered… gratis… to rewrite the site for me and make it data driven so updates would be simple and less time consuming. He actually worked on the site out of the goodness of his heart for over 2 years before seeing anything out of it financially… my labor of love turned into his labor of love.
VR: Where do you see you and your website in the future, do you think the dot com business will make a come back or has it already?
JON: Starting with URNA… We have big plans for URNA. We hope to see it turn enough of a profit, at some point in the not too distant future, to make it my full time job. Dan recently left his job to devote full time to URNA and I hope to be able to do the same at some point. We have tons of features planned for the Public Areas of the site and the Adult Areas of the site continue to grow. We would like to eventually do some merchandising, maybe do a line of clothing and we’re currently working on a logo that people will associate with URNA and we hope to be able to generate enough revenue to keep growing the site and to keep adding new features. Hosting costs alone apprach $2000. per month for URNA due to the amount of traffic and bandwidth associated with the site. Most people don’t realize the hits URNA get… we average over 50,000 hits per day and the site has gotten so busy that we had to spread it across 2 dedicated servers to handle the load. The best thing we did was move it off of Windows NT, IIS, MS Access and Java over to Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. The site hums right along now, it’s much more stable and secure and there’s room for much more growth now.
Regarding dot com businesses… I hate to say this, but I think the boom in the IT world, in general, is over and doubt we’ll see anything like we saw through the 90’s into 2001 again. Too many jobs are going offshore now and I think we’re just seeing the beginning of this trend. It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s reality. I think there are ways to make a living, but it’s not going to be as easy as it was, competition springs up everywhere, everyday and it’s really tough to make a living. It’s personally affected me… I was an independent for years… the economy went south and I now work for someone else other than myself and salary is nothing like what it was as an independent. I wouldn’t recommend the IT field for my daughter and I never thought I’d hear myself say that.
VR: What do you think you have to offer the transgender community, besides that great site, anything at all?
JON: I think the site is the main thing I have to offer the community. It’s a large part of what I am and I spend a large part of my life on the site. It’s always been and will continue to be, a place to meet others, a place to feel part of something, a place where you can see, for a fact, that you are not alone, that there are lots of others with the same feelings… a safe haven to touch base with others and to ask questions of others and share advice. We added a Chat room to URNA a little while back and I love going in to Chat and to see people giving each other advice and support. We plan on hosting events for the Transgendered Community in the future and plan on donating part of the proceeds to charities that work with the Transgendered Community… the problem is finding the time to organize the events… but we’re working on it:-)
VR: Do you have any in fictional character(s), in literature or in the movies, you relate to and why?
JON: Hmmm… since I mostly read science fiction, I’d have to say there’s really no particular character in a book that I can relate to… it’s basically just an escape from reality for me. As for movies, I tend to related to characters with a dark side… characters that don’t quite fit in, examples would be Donnie in Donnie Darko or like Matt Dillon in Rumble Fish, Rufus Sewell in Dark City or Ben Johnson in Cherry 2000.
VR: Can you recommend us a motivating or inspirational book. that has changed your perception about the world?
JON: Nothing in particular… I read tons of Science Fiction and find it very uplifting to me… alternative futures, alternative realities… as I’ve mentioned, I really don’t read non-Fiction much at all.
VR: What words of wisdom would you give a to someone who is reaching out for help?
JON: I guess what I would say is don’t take things too seriously. Enjoy life. If something makes you happy, if it doesn’t harm anyone else, don’t spend too much time analyzing it or trying to explain why you like it… you like it… that should be enough. It’s a very fortunate person that can find something that gives them pleasure that they can put their entire self into. If you do need to talk to someone, online is a wonderful place to start… there are resources out there for virtually anything… places you can go to talk with others that have the same feelings, the same desires, the same wants as you do… talk to them… understand that you’re not all alone, that there are lots of people that share the same feelings, desires and wants that you feel. I can’t stress enough, just don’t try to find an explanation for everything, sometime it’s best to just accept your feelings and to enjoy whatever it is you can find that gives you pleasure in life… and if I can swear here… my personal favorite saying, since the time I was in my early teens has always been… “Fuck them if they can’t take a joke”.
VR: Do you have a final statement, for our readers?
JON: I’d like to take the time to thank everyone who’s helped make URNotAlone what it is today. To thank Dan for all the time he put into the site to make it what it is today. To all the offers we get for help from people. To all the people that send encouragement and to the people who send Thanks You’s… that’s the most uplifting thing about the site… getting a thank you from someone who has met someone else or who has come to terms with their feelings or who has gotten support from URNA… those are the people I’d like to thank and like to say… we’re not going anywhere:-)
Note from Vicki: When I told people I was going to do this interview, I got a lot of people asking me why? Is he not your competition? Jon is not my competition, he is my friend, someone I have met, had a beer with, and just shot the shit with a few times. Jon is one of the most down to earth guys I know.
His site has opened a lot of doors for a lot of people, his site was one of the first I ever found on the internet, his site stands above all the rest, hands down, including mine. I am someone that has a website that has a lot of people on it, anyone can do that, it just takes a little time. Go look at Jon’s site, that site takes a lot of time and a lot of effort!
We should all send this man a thank you for opening the doors for all the rest of us, he is the “King of Kings”!