Friday, 17 October 2014

Interview with Alessandra Bernaroli


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Alessandra Bernaroli, a transsexual activist from Bologna in Italy, whose legal victory was an important step for transgender rights in Italy. Hello Alessandra!
Alessandra: Hello Monika, thanks for this opportunity to talk about LGBTI Civil Rights!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Alessandra: I was born a man in 1971 and lived my life forcing myself to adhere to the image that the society established for people who had male appearance. In my teen years there wasn’t Internet nor so much “correct” information about transsexualism, so I always tried to deny my intimate feelings, believing that they were wrong and it was happening only to me and no one else in the world.
However, that was not true; now I know it! So I behaved trying to look as manly as possible, and I succeeded easily in doing this also because of my physical appearance, which was, at that time, indubitably a male appearance both in aspect as well as in attitude. Year after year my deep feeling to be a woman didn’t disappear, of course.
I graduated in economics, served one year in military service, practised charted accounting and finally worked as a clerk. In the meantime, I found love and I got married. Until then, it was 2005, I was a man!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Interview with Natalie Colleen Gates


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Natalie Colleen Gates, an American writer, blogger, the author of Straight Boy/Queer Girl: A Memoir. Hello Natalie! 
Natalie: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Natalie: Oh my God, I'm so bad at things like that. You'd think being a blogger and having just written a memoir I'd be better at it. I don't know: I'm 32. I live with my dog Victoria Elizabeth in Richmond, Virginia.
Monika: Why did you decide to write your autobiography “Straight Boy/Queer Girl: A Memoir“ (2014)?
Natalie: To make money [laughing] at first. I've been blogging for a long time and people for the most part like my writing I thought I should take some of the energy I put into blogging and write a book. As I got into the project I realized it was important because I was writing the trans* memoir I wish existed before I transitioned. All the memoirs I've read start with the trans* person in the present after they've transitioned. I didn't want to do that. I wanted to share my experience of thinking I might transition but not being sure about it. I really wanted to share with my readers how I came to the conclusion that I needed to transition. I also wanted to share how what I was going through as a closeted trans* person was similar and how it was different from other closeted people's experiences.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Interview with Anna Kristjánsdóttir


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Anna Kristjánsdóttir, a transgender activist from Iceland, former marine engineer, co-founder of Trans-Iceland. Hello Anna!
Anna: Thank you Monika for giving me this honour.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Anna: As for my education and work, I am educated as a marine engineer officer and still working as a technical person; now working as a control room engineer at Reykjavik Energy, and going out to sea on merchant vessels every summer and also voluntary working as an engineer aboard a SAR boat (Search And Rescue), similar to the RNLI service in Great Britain. 
Monika: Anna, you are the icon and legend of the transgender movement in Iceland. How do you carry this burden?
Anna: I did never try to be such a legend. I tried to go through my transition for myself; it was a pure coincidence that I became the face of the transsexual movement in Sweden in the early 90’s and I lost my “virginity” as a transgendered person making the transition in peace. I became known in Sweden and Iceland and the Lutheran bishop of Iceland at that time asked God to save his soul from this terrible person. :)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Interview with Kathryn Camfield


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kathryn Camfield, a blogger, writer, former radio announcer, and transgender ally from Reno NV. Hello Kathryn! 
Kathryn: Hi Monika, and thanks for your interest in me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kathryn: A few words? I laugh because my wife Cindy would be saying “be careful what you wish for.” Anyhow, I’m a transgender ally. An experienced cross dresser since 1957, I have lived and worked as a woman, on and off, since 1998. I reside in Reno NV with my wife, Cindy. I was a radio announcer for about 34 years in Ohio, Michigan, Texas and Florida. In addition, I have written four published books and I taught people how to write books, on America Online, for 7 years. I have played guitar, bass guitar and djembe (a hand drum) and have worked on a various computers since 1986.
Since I came out in 1998, I have worked as a woman. First, (1998-2005) as office manager and workshop coordinator for Mark Allison Acting Workshops in Pasadena, California. Secondly, (2005-2013) Supervisor of store operations for Las Vegas HQ, a chain of souvenir shops in four Las Vegas casinos (Tropicana, MGM Grand, New York New York, Excalibur).

Friday, 3 October 2014

Interview with Heli Hämäläinen


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Heli Hämäläinen, a married woman from Helsinki, Finland, Senior Customs Officer in Finnish Customs, and a father. Hello Heli!
Heli: Hello Monika, it is my pleasure to meet you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Heli: I am soon 51 years old. I have worked the most of my career as a public servant. I graduated in 1991 from Helsinki School of Economics which is nowadays a part of Aalto University. I got married in 1996 in Keuruu Church that was built in 1892. I am Evangelical Lutheran. My daughter was born in 2002.
In Autumn 2004 I felt that I could no longer suppress my female identity. My life was awful because even the advertisements in bus stops reminded me about my gender. I couldn’t read women’s magazines. My wife gave me advice to seek professional help and I did. A referral was written to official transsexuality investigations in November 2004 and I met the psychiatrist in February 2005. I was diagnosed transsexual in April 2006 and I changed my forenames in June 2006.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Interview with Shelley Bridgman


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Shelley Bridgman, a British stand-up comic, presenter, actress, and writer who started stand-up in 2004 under the stage name Shelley Cooper before reverted to her real name, the 2012 Silver Stand Up honoree, transgender activist, the author of Stand-up for Yourself: And Become the Hero or Shero You Were Born To Be (2014). Hello Shelley!
Shelley: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Shelley: Not sure what is most relevant. I have several roles as in addition to Stand-up I am a Psychotherapist working with children and adults who have issues with their gender identity. I also do a weekly podcast when I interview people. 
Monika: I have conducted over 200 interviews and I find it striking that so many of my transgender interviewees are stand-up comics: Alison Grillo, Sally Goldner, Natasha Muse, Julia Scotti and now you …
Shelley: I think it is something about having a voice. Many of us, especially transwomen, lose status when we transition but I think I reconnected with my love of comedy after transitioning. It helped me find a vehicle to express myself.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Interview with Bobbie Lang


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Bobbie Lang, a transgender activist from USA, businesswoman, blogger, Viet Nam veteran, the author of "Transgender Christian in Chains". Hello Bobbie!
Bobbie: Hi Monika, thank you so much for asking me to be part of this wonderful group of people who are doing so much to advance the acceptance and civil rights of the trans community.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Bobbie: Well to start with I started my transition in 1981 and had GRS in 1984. At that time the term “transgender” had not even been coined yet. We were called transsexuals and even the professional community knew very little of this dysphoria. Many of the medical and therapeutic specialists thought this disorder could be alleviated with extensive and lengthy psychological treatment. Sadly, I find this approach is still widely believed within most denominational Christian churches.

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