Monday, 2 June 2014

Interview with Treva Angelina Askey


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Treva Angelina Askey, a British army veteran who completed tours in Kenya and the Falklands Islands and operational tours of Bosnia; her story was featured in the book titled “Too Deep: My journey as my husband becomes my beautiful wife” (2013), written by her wife Victoria Askey. Hello Treva!
Treva: Hello Monika, a pleasure and a privilege to complete this interview for you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Treva: I am a retired British Army veteran going through transition. I am very shy and quiet; I also keep myself to myself outside of the family home. I have taken on the role of housewife since marrying my wife Victoria in September 2011 allowing her to achieve her goal of becoming an author.
I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen trying out new foods for the family to enjoy or hate depending on how many chilies I use lol. I am also trying to become a gardener so I can grow my own vegetables but I am failing at that one lol. I have a couple of old Lambretta scooters that I enjoy fixing and riding as my hobby.
Monika: What inspired your wife to write a book about your transition?
Treva: I will let my wife answer this one.
Victoria: After researching about the transition road I found it was all negative, I wanted to show people that it’s not all bad, that love can overcome any obstacle that’s put in your way. I was also amazed at the amount of partners that run when they are told that their other half is transgender and it doesn’t have to be like that. I was also inspired by Treva’s courage and how she could have lived her life not telling anyone until she told me.
Available via Amazon.
Monika: Your partnership with Victoria is such a romantic story…
Treva: Our partnership goes back to the mid 80’s when we first met at school. We lived on the same street and dated for a couple of weeks before I joined the forces in 1988.
We have kept in contact through-out the years and would meet up once every 3 – 5 years for a catch-up coffee. We eventually got together as a partnership in 2010 then married in September 2011. 
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Treva: Victoria is my rock! Without her support I wouldn’t have had the courage to tell people who the real me is. Being able to live with your best friend, soul mate has got to be the best feeling ever.
Monika: Did you like being in the army?
Treva: In a word “No”. I joined the Army as a way out, where I lived as a child didn’t have the best job opportunities. It was either land work (farming) or in a factory.
So I followed my brother’s footsteps and went into the Army. Looking back on Army life, it was enjoyable in parts, but it wasn’t the job for me. I joined at the young age of 16 not sure of who I was or what I was feeling, it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I discovered I was transgender. The Army was a man’s job and I just didn’t fit in.
Monika: At what age did you transition into woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Treva: I started my transition at 40; I decided to wait until I had left the forces before starting my transition. Both Victoria and I decided that small steps would work best so it didn’t scare the 2 step children; they are fully understanding and regularly correct people if they use the incorrect pronouns. As I am still going through the “process”, I can honestly say that it is very difficult. Before I started both Vic and I did a lot of research so we knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Treva: I haven’t had any transgender role models. My role model has to be my wife, she supports, understands, gives help and advice, fashion tips and cheats. Why would I need any other role model lol?
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Treva: Having my bloods taken every couple of months, I have a big phobia of needles lol. Telling friends and family was done all at once with a long informative letter send out to individuals on Facebook so everyone got it at the same time. That way we didn’t have the “well you told him first” scenario.
My parents we told face to face and I think I’ve heard from them once since, oh well their loss. Playground parents thought I was in a rock band before being told I was transgender because I kept dying my hair different colours and painting my nails, when we told the playground gossip (knowing that was the best person to tell because it would be around the playground in minutes” she said that was “way better than the rock band”.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the British society?
Treva: I think it has a lot to do with the area you live in. Myself I have had no problems or hassles since coming out, where as other people I know get tremendous amounts of problems just for being different.
Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
Treva: Please don’t get me started on the “Human Rights” thing. Everybody is born human, just nobody is the same. We need to grow up as people and learn to live with each other with our differences.
With Victoria.
Monika: A few weeks ago Jared Leto received his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club" as transgender Rayon. What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in British films, newspapers or books so far?
Treva: I like to read other peoples stories in the newspapers; it shows to me that there is a light at the end of the transition tunnel, even though it’s a long dark tunnel. I tend not to judge transgender characters in films, I prefer just to sit and enjoy with a big bar of chocolate :). 
Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBT communities? Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBT group?
Treva: I struggle to understand why the “T” is in the “LGBT”. Being transgender has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. But on saying that once I have come to the end of my transitional road I will come under the “L” part of LGBT lol.
Monika: Is there anyone in the British transgender society whose actions could be compared to what Harvey Milk was doing in the 60s and 70s for the gay activism in the USA?
Treva: There isn’t anybody of note that springs to mind.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Treva: My activity in politics is to go down to the local polling station to cast my vote. Can transgender women make a difference? Of cause they can, as long as they have the right attitude, policies and can get the public to get behind them.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Treva: I enjoy my shopping trips with my wife; I wouldn’t say that I follow fashion. I buy clothes that I like. I have a varied wardrobe but jeans and a top would be my usual daily wear.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Treva: I am waiting to be referred for my lower surgery. Hopefully get that out of the way within the next year, then I can see where my life takes me. Maybe come out of retirement and look for a new job…..then again maybe not lol.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Treva: I would recommend talking to somebody; find a nice GP who is willing to help and to start the process as early in your life as possible. That way testosterone won’t have enough time to cause too much damage to your body.
Monika: Treva, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Treva Angelina Askey.
Done on 2 June 2014
© 2014 - Monika 

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