Marissa Alexa McCool is an LGBT-rights activist and speaker, multiple podcast host, author, columnist, and stage performer whose goal is to speak out, speak loudly, and bring visibility to LGBT issues. Marissa’s main goal is to bring awareness and visibility to all LGBT people, especially those marginalized within the transgender community because of the recent bathroom bills attacking their rights to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. She is 31, an open transwoman, polyamorous, pansexual, on the Autism spectrum, and a 2017 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in English, Anthropology, and Cinema and Media Studies.
As host of the Inciting Incident podcast, she begins conversations on difficult topics in current events. In addition to many different interviews, such as with Noah Lugeons, Karen Garst, Dan Arel, Steve Shives, Tim Brown, Lucinda Lugeons, Matthew O’Neil, Noam Chomsky, and Chris Kluwe, to name a few, she hosts individual topics and conversations about LGBT rights, transgender visibility, suicide and mental health awareness, and the myths of PC Culture. For instance, her podcast hosted a Survivor of the Paris Terror Attacks, A Suicide Survivor Who Became a Motivational Speaker, and A Comedian Who Also Debates for Social Justice. Inciting Incident averages 30,000 downloads a month, and has a global reach, with 46 percent of the audience outside the United States.
McCool writes a blog, a column, and has authored nine books, including The PC Lie: How American Lives Decided I Don’t Matter, False Start: A Novel, Silent Dreams, and the upcoming novel Voice in the Dark, to be released July 14th, 2017. The blog goes hand-in-hand with the podcast, but discusses issues on a more immediate level. She’s used it recently as a way to shine light on the everyday experience of a transperson on a personal level as well as societal, which was also the main idea of her book The PC Lie. Chris Kluwe, former NFL star and LGBT activist, wrote the foreword, and several others like Andrew Torrez and Eli Bosnick contributed pieces to the book she wrote in the immediate post-election atmosphere. Her book was recognized in newspapers such as The Daily Pennsylvanian. False Start is a fictional work detailing life in a small conservative town, coping with mental illness, and LGBT representation under those circumstances. She won a 2014 Keystone Award for Excellence in Journalism and won the 2015 Audience Choice Award for her film Permanent Solution, focusing on the struggles of suicide survivors.
Due to her work, she has been invited as a guest on a wide variety of podcasts. These include ones with with an LGBT focus like The Gaytheist Manifesto, PolyAskery, and Bi Any Means, as well as those aimed at current events and social justice, such as In the Cut: By the Daily Pennsylvanian, God Awful Movies, Cognitive Dissonance, and many others
An activist in the LGBT community, she’s focused on being present to help with difficult questions to personalize and rationalize the issues that transpeople face. She was cast in two different productions of The Vagina Monologues, and was the first-ever transgender person in 17 years to appear in UPenn’s V-Day production of the show. She has spoken and performed improv at the Tekko convention in Pittsburgh for three years running, has been invited to various Pride festivals including this year’s Utah Pride, was at ReasonCon 3, and spoke at length to the Lehigh Valley Humanists and Wolves Den in Flint, Michigan, among many others.
McCool will host her own live event in July for The 100th Episode of Inciting Incident and will host Chris Kluwe, Gaytheist Manifesto, Opening Arguments, and Puzzle in a Thunderstorm, LLC as her main guests. This event will take place in the 1000-seat Carlisle Theater in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and has been referred to as a mini-convention and ReasonCon 3 reunion by Andrew Torrez.
Marissa has been lovingly nicknamed “The Purple Amazon” for her bright purple hair, “Superqueer” affectionately for her openness about her identity and sexuality, “The Rissy Monster” which is mostly out of irony, and most notably, “the badass mistress of the podcast and written word universe” by the fine people at Utah Outcasts.