Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Calpernia has been entertaining since she can remember, progressing from performing as a Bluegrass gospel fiddler with her family in church to writing and theater until she became a nationally known showgirl, actress and activist.
Calpernia spent four years as a field medical combat specialist (HM 8404) in the Navy and with the Marines, one of the elite combat-trained “Devil Docs” during the first Gulf War. She served in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm/Shield, lived on Adak Island in the Aleutians and received notice from Congress as part of a group who assisted a downed Chinese airliner on the island of Shemya.
Now living in Hollywood, Calpernia has returned to her roots as an actress, producer and director. She runs Deep Stealth Productions, Inc., with business partner and noted activist Andrea James, producing media with an awareness of the truth and value of trans women’s contributions. Recent productions include Deep Stealth’s sold-out V-Day 2004 benefit production of “The Vagina Monologues,” under the direct guidance of playwright Eve Ensler and mentor Jane Fonda, which was featured in the documentary Beautiful Daughters.
Calpernia served on the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and was recipient of their 2003 Leadership Award. Calpernia has also received a prestigious Peabody Award for “Soldier’s Girl“, a movie by Frank Pierson (then head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) and Ron Nyswaner (writer of “Philadelphia”) which details her relationship with murdered Army soldier Barry Winchell.
Calpernia has made numerous film and television appearances, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Gray’s Anatomy, Numb3rs, Dr. 90210, Monster In Law, Monk, and Chasing Ghosts. Recent appearances include the documentary Middle Sexes, the feature film Transamerica with Felicity Huffman, as well as the starring role in “Casting Pearls” and “Transproofed.”
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