Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Katie Anne Holton, an American photo model and transgender advocate. Hello Katie!
|The Visible Bodies photo.|
Trans stories are usually presented as issues or novelties rather than as the stories of real people. I look forward to seeing what I call “just happens to be” characters. We’re starting to see it in terms of gay characters. We’re seeing some films and TV shows where a character is a mathematician or a teacher or a computer programmer who just happens to be gay.
Also, my experience has been that in San Diego, our larger LGBT community is very supportive of trans people. Since my transition, I’ve found myself at home within a variety of communities, but mainly the local Tantra and polyamory communities.
Another local heroine is Autumn Sandeen. Autumn served honourably in the U.S. military. Now she is a tireless warrior for justice. For example, she was one of a small group of activists who chained themselves to the fence of the White House to protest our military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. DADT is gone, but transgender Americans are still not allowed to serve in our military. Autumn fought the policy because was wrong, not because she would benefit from it’s repeal.
|Her first Tantra Theater show.|
Boho is short for bohemian.
I’m not a fan of the phrase “passing as a woman.” I know it’s the common term, but it implies that we are trying to pass ourselves off as women. We aren’t passing as women. We are women. Maybe we could talk instead about letting our women show through. I try to be humble about giving advice.
I also know I’m fortunate that I had the option of going into debt for the medical treatment I needed. In terms of advice, I would suggest that sisters do their best with whatever they have, and then let their joy at being themselves shine through. Happiness and confidence are beautiful. I know I’m no beauty queen, but I also know that I’m much more attractive as a woman than I ever was as a man, mainly because I am so much happier and so much more comfortable in my own skin.
Four years later, some parts of it are still a struggle for them. They worry about what their friends will think about them because of me. But, they also see advantages in our unusual life. My 13 year old now likes having two very different families. With my ex, he has a typical heterosexual monogamous happily married family and with me he has a joyfully non-typical queer, trans and polyamorous one.
My boys also see the humour in our unusual situation. My older son thought it was hilarious when one of his soccer buddies asked him who that hot blond was who picked him up from practices. We laughed and laughed imagining how his friend would have responded if he had said, “She’s my dad.”
|Smooching her beloved at their first Pride celebration.|
Most of our concrete political successes have come when we have joined forces with others within the LGBT communities. Together we have made significant strides on issues like creating non-discrimination policies. There have also been betrayals, where mainline queer groups have compromised away trans issues. Still, healthy families have conflicts. At the end of the day, we are all stronger together.
|First Visible Bodies showing, with Wolfgang, the photographer.|
My beloved Sarah and I live together and we are building a beautiful life together. I also have another lover I see regularly. The two relationships are very different, but in each, the love is real. Polyamory is not for everyone and it’s rarely simple, but it is right for me.
It seems silly that I would make myself choose only one of the women I love. As a parent of two children, it’s obvious that I can fully love more than one person. It’s not always easy, but the great things rarely are.
|Playing herself on stage, but much sexier.|
However, California law regulating health care has changed recently. It’s no longer legal for insurers to discriminate based on gender identity. Health plans are now required to provide all “medically necessary” care for trans people. The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association agree that for many trans people, genital reconstruction is medically necessary.
So, for the first time, I can realistically pursue getting my very own vagina. It’s exciting and scary. Major surgery is always risky. Many trans women hate their penises. I don’t hate mine. I joke that my penis has been my oldest and most loyal friend. Still, a penis doesn’t belong on this woman’s body. In five years (or less) I’m going to be, head to toe, inside and out, the woman I was supposed to be. I also want to continue living as an out, proud and visible trans person. My journey has been so much easier because of the contributions and sacrifices of those who have come before. It is my duty and my joy to help make the road a little bit smoother for those who will follow.