On January 4, 2011, moments before making history at a special en banc session of the Superior Court of California by taking an oath of office to be the first openly transgender trial judge in the country, Victoria Kolakowski (who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1991) spoke exclusively with dot429 in her dressing room at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Kolakowski expressed her excitement and humility: "It's been very hard as a transgender person. We're a community that's chronically under- and unemployed and I've encountered that sort of discrimination in the past, but we're making so much more progress now. In terms of my career, I think part of it is hard work and perseverance, and part of it is good luck."
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