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International Women's Day Continues with KFAI Host Quinn Villagomez

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Quinn Villagomez is getting her chance to shine. For KFAI's International Women's Day celebration, which began at midnight last night and lasts 24 hours, she's one of the many hosts chosen to spotlight the Twin Cities diversity of women voices. Villagomez, a transgender woman who who can also be heard on KFAI's Fresh Fruit show, is working toward her dream of being a radio announcer.

Though International Women's Day was yesterday, KFAI's programming continues the celebration today, a tradition the radio station has been putting together since 1989. The event is meant to encourage advocacy for women's advancement throughout the world, and challenge the status quo for women's equality.

"I'm excited and nervous," Villagomez says about hosting. "I'm in my dream. I'm loving it. It's what I've always wanted to do."

As a transgender woman, Villagomez identifies as a feminist. "I've always had a lot of dreams and goals for women's rights," she says. "I've always been big on advocating for women." She's especially supportive of women of color and transgender women, "because we often don't get a voice."

Villagomez's show will focus on pop culture, including pop and R&B music from the '80s through today. She's calling it the Shimmer Show, after her alter ego, Shimmer. On her playlist will be "Hit it (Like a Pro)," by Serbian pop artist SHEON, whose music is played all over Europe and the Caribbean but not the Twin Cities. "It's an exclusive," Villagomez says. "I think she's amazing."

Since she was five years old, Villagomez knew that she was different than other boys. "I would wear nail polish and I'd wear my sisters' clothes," she says. "I was never into sports or boy toys." Growing up around a lot of women, she was not happy as a boy, and only felt comfortable when she could express herself as a girl. Unfortunately, her identity wasn't accepted, and she suffered from bullying her whole life. This is one of the reasons that she is an advocate today.

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Once out of high school at Edison in Minneapolis, "I started living this way," she says.

Villagomez was part of the communications committee for KFAI's International Women's Day celebration, planning everything from the flyer, the logo, social media, and other networking opportunities. She's also been a part of the benefit committee, planning a concert that will happen on March 22 at the Nomad, with guests such as Maria Isa, Andrea Jenkins, and the Lioness. Villagomez will co-host the evening with Roxanne Anderson.

KFAI's International Women's Day programming goes until midnight tonight. For a list of shows, which range from shows focusing on music to topics such as various nationalities and ethnicities, LGBT issues, motherhood, women in film and entertainment and more, check out the website.