Monday, 16 September 2013

Interview with Aeris Houlihan


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Aeris Houlihan, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Aeris!
Aeris: Hi Monika.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Aeris: I was born in Dublin and moved over to England when I was around 3. I have lived in England ever since. I’m an outgoing individual who loves to keep fit and take care in her appearance. I love clothes shopping and trying new makeup techniques. I’m a musician, music producer and love to work on video special effects.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Aeris: I think the more awareness is raised the better it is for everyone. I also think it helps people who are not Transgender have a better understanding. Knowledge is key, people get nervous if they don’t understand something, so I guess some of us Transgender girls don’t mind sharing our experiences.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Aeris: I have been on HRT for 4 months. I have been living as female since February 2012.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Aeris: I am very much so. At times I look at myself and think wow, but then I have days where I look at myself and think I’m having a bad day, but I guess that’s just the same as natural born females.
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Aeris: Very young, but I suppressed it thinking I could control it. In the end that leads to internal suffering and unhappiness.
4 months on HRT.
Monika: For most of transgender girls, the most traumatic time is the time spent at school, college or university when they had to face lots of discrimination. Was it the same in your case?
Aeris: I work in an office full of many people, hundreds in fact. I remember walking in the first day as female and thinking yes it’s a big deal now, but if I can just get past the first 3 months it will be old news. I was right. I have had a lot of support at work from the get go, I feel lucky to work where I work.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Aeris: Not one particular person no. I just remember watching TV shows and thinking WOW, if I could look like that I would feel very happy.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Aeris: The thought of hurting my family and potentially losing them.
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in English society?
Aeris: I think it’s good on the average; in fact I have more friends now than before, which shows it’s good on the whole.
Monika: We are witnessing more and more transgender ladies coming out. Unlike in the previous years some of them have status of celebrities or are really well-known, just to mention Lana Wachowski in film-directing, Jenna Talackova in modelling, Kate Bornstein in academic life, Laura Jane Grace in music or Candis Cayne in acting. Do you witness the same trend in England?
Aeris: No, I think the UK is yet to have a Transgender star. I think when that person breaks through it will be a really positive thing.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Aeris: I do vote on elections day, but that’s as far as it goes. Yes I do think transgender women can make a difference in politics.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Aeris: Now we are talking. I love fashion yes yes and yes. I mix and match high street clothes with designer. I love shopping for clothes; it’s one of my favourite hobbies. 
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Aeris: I think they are beautiful and can confuse a lot of men lol. I would love to be involved in a beauty pageant in some way or another, it’s one of the items on my to do list.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Aeris: I am in a way, but I am involved in a lot of community’s. My friends say I float around like a social butterfly. I love meeting new people and delving into new experiences.
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Aeris: Ultimately you can either stay unhappy and please others, or you can give it a go and see if it’s right for you. It might be right for you, or you might think it’s not what you expected it to be.
Just try be safe and sensible, take baby steps to build your confidence when you start your journey. Only tell people who you trust at first, don’t tell the world as you might change your mind early days. If you can afford it start your laser hair removal and voice training as soon as you can. These two steps are the first thing on your transition.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Aeris: Well, my operation for SRS is going to be January 2014, so that is not that far away now. After my operation I’m planning on getting my music out on the live seen again. I have been recording my songs in a home studio and they will be ready in short while. I have a lot of other little projects that I am working on which I will introduce on my YouTube channel in the future.
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Aeris: It's lovely looking in the mirror and finally seeing someone you always knew was there.
Monika: Aeris, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!

All the photos: courtesy of Aeris Houlihan.
Done on 16 September 2013
© 2013 - Monika 

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