Sunday, 6 July 2014

Interview with Tiina Miettinen

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Tiina Miettinen, a transgender woman from Finland, one of the main characters of the documentary titled “Sukupuoli X” (1996). Hello Tiina! 
Tiina: Hello Monika. I find this project of yours really delightful, and appreciate this opportunity to share my thoughts about these important issues.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Tiina: Well, to begin at the obvious. This, the trans thing, has naturally been the most characteristic feature of my life. It's been present as long as I can remember, and before my tenth birthday, 1974, I secretly decided I must do something to... to enable it. Namely if by that date, regardless of all my wishes and prayers, God or fate or anything had not agreed to change circumstances for my favor. So I made a conscious decision to begin secretly cross-dressing. I also found the word transvestite at an encyclopaedia. Sensationalizing magazines sometimes reported, in a scandalous tone, about hormones prescribed, breast implants applied and genital surgery performed to some magical creatures living apparently nearby Hamburg's Reeperbahn in West Germany. Later I read somewhere about Lili Elbe and Christine Jorgensen, and after I contacted Helsinki local trans group at age 17, I heard about Cybele's priest(esse)s of the Roman Empire, the Native Americans' berdache, and hijras of India.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Interview with Nicole Garcia

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Nicole Garcia, a transgender activist from the USA. She is currently the vice-chair of the board of ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full-participation, a founding member of Trans* Lutherans, and a member of the advisory committee for the Trans People of Color Coalition. Nicole has held positions on the boards of the Interfaith Working Group and The One Colorado Education Fund and is a former member of the Latino/a Roundtable. Nicole has an MA in Counseling from CU Denver and is in private practice as a mental health counselor in Longmont Colorado. Nicole is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity through Luther Seminary. Hello Nicole! 
Nicole: Hello Monica. It is a pleasure and honor to be here.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Nicole: I was born the oldest son in a Mexican-American, Roman Catholic family. I tried very hard for 42 years of my life to live up to the expectations of my family and church. I married a beautiful woman in 1994 and became a law enforcement officer in 1996. I did all I could to prove to everyone that I was a man.
Looking back, I know I was actually trying to prove to myself that I was a man. In 2002, my wife and I divorced. After the divorce, I was suicidal and drinking heavily. I realized my life was a mess and I entered counseling. I found a wonderful therapist who helped me quit drinking and I worked on ending my severe depression. It was early in therapy when I told my counselor of my life-long cross dressing behavior. She referred me to a support group at the Gender Identity Center of Colorado.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Interview with Vikki-Marie Gaynor

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Vikki-Marie Gaynor, an inspirational woman from England, truck driver featured in the British Channel 4 documentary titled MotherTruckers. Hello Vikki-Marie!
Vikki-Marie: Hello Monika! It’s a pleasure to finally talk. It seems like long time since I began to follow you, which was about the time of my Tribunal against DHL/Blue Arrow in 2007.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Vikki-Marie: I am a loud and proud trans lady who was forced into becoming an activist against transphobia and hate crimes due to being a victim of both.
My life during and after transition was not the “wonderful time” that I envisaged it would be. However, I went down the road of EDUCATION, and began to study. This allowed me to see the potential in my life and with a few goals in place and some new found determination to proveto the world “Who I would have been if I had been born in the correct gender”.
Since then I have become a fully qualified beautician, nail tech and masseuse as well as my level 4 sports masseuse, trainer in equality and diversity and activist.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Interview with Mina Caputo

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Mina Caputo, an American singer, the lead singer and a founding member of the New York heavy metal band Life of Agony. Please redraft the introduction if I missed or twisted something. Hello Mina!
Mina: Hi Hun!!! Greetings! Blessings!
Monika: I have just listened to your first solo album as a woman titled “As Much Truth As One Can Bear” (2013) and I like it a lot. I love both lyrics and music. In the first song “Identity” you sing “… I’m sure that I’m not a woman…” It is rather a surprising line from the woman you have always been …
Mina: Well the correct lyrics to one of the versus are: I am not a man/I am not a woman/all I could taste is my burning heart/I’m sure I’m not a man/I’m sure I’m not a woman/all I could wear is a willing smile... It’s true, I identify completely with the feminine, but… To me spirit has no gender. I truly identify with spirit, or consciousness, which is all energies, all knowing, and all not knowing. So to place myself inside of a boxed word(s) or language doesn't really sit well with me.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Interview with Antonette Rea

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Antonette Alexandra Rea, an inspirational transgender poet and activist from Canada. Hello Antonette!
Antonette: Hi Monika, thank you for your interest.
Monika: We are having this interview in the time when you are recuperating from the car accident. How is your health, Antonette?
Antonette: I am in a far better mental space than I had been due to the pain and limited mobility while I heal. I was hit by a car and dislocated a shoulder and my other hand remains numb though the feeling returned in my shoulder and the sciatica has settled down at the moment.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Antonette: I was a street surviving Queen of the night. My street poet handle used to be “Miss Understood.” My poetry was a coping mechanism when working the stroll and then it became a useful healing vehicle for processing so much adversity. Adversity that I didn't think had affected me until I had stopped using drugs and escaped from a life of prostitution. Sex and drugs go hand in hand it seems in some form or another. My writing has allowed me to process so much negativity, where family and friends were nowhere to be found. Performing these difficult poems in front of an audience is like taking the bandage off a wound because It’s almost healed. There will always be the scars, but I can now let the past go and live more in the moment.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Interview with Rachel Mann

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Rachel Mann, the Church of England priest in charge of St. Nicholas’ Church Burnage in Manchester, and Minor Canon of Manchester Cathedral. She is a broadcaster, published poet, theologian, and music journalist specializing in metal, prog and folk. Her memoir of being trans, lesbian and Christian, “Dazzling Darkness” (2012) was a Church Times bestseller. Hello Rachel!
Rachel: Hi there, Monika. Lovely to chat to you.
Monika: I must say you are one of the most charismatic women I have ever interviewed. Heavy metal, priesthood, feminism, lesbianism and poetry. Quite a mix!
Rachel: You mean not everyone shares my passions? ;-) I guess I’ve always been incurably curious. I suspect this means I can be a bit exhausting to be around – a bit like a two year old toddler. I feel sorry for my friends and family sometimes. They’ve really had to put up with my endless interest in knowing and thinking about new stuff. I guess ‘religious people’ often get stereotyped as a bit dumb, but I’ve always been driven on by a desire for knowledge and the creative.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Interview with Lianne Simon

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Lianne Simon, an American Christian writer, social activist, housewife, and the author of “Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite”. Hello Lianne!
Lianne: Wow! Hi. Thank you so much for asking me. I’m amazed at the number of interviews you’ve done. You go girl!
Monika: It has been two years since the release of your debut novel titled “Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite” about an intersex teen named Jamie who must ultimately choose between male or female. Were you satisfied with the readers’ acceptance of the book?
Lianne: Confessions was very personal to me, since quite a bit of it was drawn from my own childhood. I wanted to show people, especially fellow Christians, what it felt like to grow up between the sexes. I was a bit disappointed that no major Christian publisher would consider a book about intersex. However, the reception by readers has been encouraging. I’ve had positive feedback from a wide variety of people, including conservative Christians and LGBT book critics.

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