Michelle Evans oral history interview
Table Of Contents
Michelle Evans served in the United States Air Force and later had careers in various other industries. She experienced difficulties and setbacks as a transgender woman in industries dominated by men.
Born in 1955 in Upland, California to Patricia June and Robert Bryce Evans, Michelle Evans grew up largely in California. She attended about 18 months of high school in Colorado before graduating from Aviation High School in Redondo Beach, California. Her father worked for Sangamo Electric providing instrumentation tape recording systems to the aerospace industry. When only five years old Evans began going with him to Edwards Air Force Base where she spent time watching the North American X-15 flights and meeting the pilots and crew. This began her life-long passion for the aerospace business.
With few resources for college, Evans joined the U.S. Air Force in 1973, training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. She took basic and specialty electronics courses held at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, after which she was assigned to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. Her first four years there were focused on the Short Range Attack Missile system. Then she was reassigned to Missile Check-out, which she felt was a much less interesting job, motivating her to leave the service in December 1980.
After leaving the Air Force she declined an employment offer from the Boeing Company and moved back to her home state of California. Her first civilian position was at National Technical Systems (NTS) doing vibration, shock, and acoustic testing. A key component part of NTS testing was made by INDEVCO, which became Evan’s next employer, a relationship that extended for 11 years. After leaving INDEVCO, she worked for a year at another company as a technical writer after which she formed her own business, Mach 25 Media, in 1993. Her company produces articles and editorials for magazines, newsletters, and online web sites. Her website also showcases her photography, which ranges from photos taken with a Kodak Instamatic when first assigned to Fairchild, to NASA Space Shuttle launches, and other flight-related subjects. In juxtaposition to her aerospace photography are her modeling photos, which she began taking while living in Spokane.
In 2013 Evans authored the book The X-15 Rocket Plane, Flying the First Wings into Space. As of 2023, Evans continues to provide strong support and advocacy for the transgender community conducting monthly meetings in person and virtually under her TG Rainbow Support Group umbrella and through her YouTube channel.
Biographical information derived from interview and additional information provided by interviewee.