Saturday, 11 January 2014

Interview with Alexandra Billings

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Alexandra Billings, a fascinating American actress, teacher, singer, and the first trans woman to have played a transgender character on television. I must say I am thrilled that I can interview such an iconic person. Hello Alexandra!
Alexandra: Well hi there, Monika. I’m glad we can chat like this. I love this cyber-age. You can do anything virtually. Well…almost anything.
No…wait. Literally anything.
Monika: You come from an artistic family. Is it the reason why you became an artist and your whole professional life focuses on beauty pageants, theaters, movies and singing? 
Alexandra: Strangely I come from both an artistic and academic family. My Dad was the musical director at Civic Light Opera House in LA for many years, and my mother was a teacher, as was her mother and her mother before her. My Dad also taught as well as flew in the air force and retired a Lt Colonel. So, I’m half bohemian, half professor. I think that’s why I’ve always had this strange sense of adventure mixed with a need to settle down and nest. I’m like a frustrated Carol Brady… on a dash of crack.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Interview with Sherilyn Connelly

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Sherilyn Connelly, an American transgender writer, author of "Malediction and Pee Play”, featured in Topside Press‘s “The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard”. Hello Sherilyn!
Sherilyn: Hi!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Sherilyn: I'm a San Francisco-based writer. Most of my personal writing has been memoir, but over the past few years I've been working professionally as a film critic and journalist for the Village Voice and SF Weekly.
Monika: How did you start writing?
Sherilyn: I'd always wanted to be a writer from a young age. Two things I wanted to be, actually, were a writer and a girl. At the time, the chances of either happening -- let alone both -- seemed impossibly remote.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Interview with Adèle Anderson

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Adèle Anderson, an inspirational British songwriter, actress and member of the acclaimed British cabaret group Fascinating Aïda. Hello Adèle!
Adèle: Hello, Monika. What would you like to know?
Monika: Last year Fascinating Aïda could boast the 30th anniversary of its creation. You joined the group, a year later, in 1984. So you have been singing with Dillie Keane for almost 30 years. (Liza Pulman joined the group in 2004.) How have you managed to stay together for so many years?
Adèle: First of all, I hugely admire Dillie and her extraordinary talent. We discovered that we just “clicked” as a writing partnership. She has made me a much better songwriter than I would ever have been on my own.
Secondly, it is extremely satisfying to perform a show that one has written and to enjoy the reactions of the various audiences up and down the country and, sometimes, abroad. Dillie and I have learned to be up front about any disagreements and not to be offended if one of us doesn’t like a lyric that the other one has written, or thinks it isn’t good enough.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Interview with Tamara Adrian

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Tamara Adrian, a prominent LGBT activist and law professor from Venezuela. She is also an international activist, being the current Trans Secretary of ILGA, the Chair of IDAHO-T and member of the BOD of WPATH, GATE and GLISA. Hello Tamara!
Tamara: Hello, Monika. It is a pleasure to be with you today, and respond to your questions. I think young LGBT are needed of positive examples of life, so they may create and fulfill a plan of life that fully responds to their wishes and desires, and promote their abilities and dreams without discrimination.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Tamara: Well, I am a lawyer that graduated with honors in Venezuela; I have a Doctorate in Law with honors at Paris University, and I am a law professor, as well as a practitioner lawyer.
Within this context I’ve been able to potentiate my activism, by means of both writing and action. Some people are only academics, the other are only activists. I think that when you are able to combine both, you may propose ideas from the academic point of view, and may defend them in the field with your activism.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Interview with Jula Böge

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Jula Böge, a German transgender activist and writer, the author of “Ich bin (k)ein Mann: Als Transgender glücklich leben” (2009). Hello Jula!
Jula: Hello Monika, I’m very impressed that you know my book because it is only accessible in German language. My site is better known in Germany. It has more than 100,000 readers per year.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Jula: I never realised that I have a career. Nearly ten years ago I began to share my experiences and insights as a transgender person by writing articles and publishing them on my website. The book in 2009 was an important next step. Since then I have been not only a writer but also a speaker on CSD events in Germany and other European countries.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Interview with Chelle Padraigin

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Chelle Padraigin, an American transgender activist and writer, hardware store owner, newspaper columnist, President of a Habitat for Humanity chapter, church pianist, member of many boards and civic organizations, and author of “Finally Chelle: The Musings of an Average Transsexual Woman”. Hello Chelle!
Chelle: Hi, there, Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Chelle: Hmmm… I’ve worked continuously since I was 12 years old—and that was 40 years ago—so that covers a lot of ground! The short version is that I started college as a music major, changed majors after one year, and got my degree in electrical engineering. I worked as an engineer for about 13 years before getting into the hardware business and I’ve owned a retail hardware store for over 15 years, now.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Interview with Joy Ladin

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Joy Ladin, an inspirational American woman, a writer, poet, Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University, lecturer at many universities and colleges, including: Sarah Lawrence College, Princeton University, Tel Aviv University, Reed College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Hello Joy!
Joy: Hi Monika, and thank you! It's wonderful to talk with you.
Monika: In your memoir titled “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders” (2012) you touch upon many intimate and personal issues of your transition, including the relationship between your religion and transgenderism. What is the attitude of Judaism towards transgender women?
Joy: It depends on what you mean by “Judaism.” The Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements in Judaism have all adopted policies welcoming transgender people, but there is a lot of work to do when it comes to translating abstract policy statements into concrete action in communities.
Orthodox Jewish communities are just beginning to recognize the existence of people whose gender is more complicated than “male” or “female,” though the sages of the Talmud recognized the existence of what we would now call intersex people, and they interpreted Jewish law in ways that enabled people whose bodies weren't simply male or female to participate in Jewish ritual and community.

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