Saturday, 25 January 2014

Interview with Juliet Jacques


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Juliet Jacques, an inspirational British journalist, critic, writer and columnist for The Guardian and The New Statesman. Hello Juliet!
Juliet: Hi.
Monika: Your acclaimed account of gender transition in the Guardian titled “My Transgender Journey” won much praise and recognition and allowed you to have your blog longlisted for the 2011 Orwell Prize. This success made you one of the transgender role models in the UK. How are you coping with the burden?
Juliet: It’s been strange. I had a socio-political purpose with the Transgender Journey series, but my background was as a literature and film critic, and my inspirations were post-war authors who wrote first-person novels that focused on the interior life of their protagonists – people like Nathalie Sarraute, Ann Quin, Rayner Heppenstall and Jean-Philippe Toussaint. I hadn’t expected people to call me “an activist” or “a role model”, terms which carry very different expectations and responsibilities to “writer”, which was how I saw myself.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Interview with Kelly Ellis


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kelly Ellis, an inspirational transgender advocate, lawyer and politician from New Zealand. Hello Kelly!
Kelly: Good Morning Monika.
Monika: Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Kelly: I think anyone can make a difference in politics. They shouldn’t be there if that’s not their motivation. I’m motivated by hoping to contribute to a society where our children have better work and educational opportunities. That can only happen with a redistribution of wealth. These views are independent of who or what I am. They are the goals any good citizen should hope for.
Notwithstanding that, visibility for transgender people is important if we are to increase our influence. There are few things which are more visible than entering politics.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Interview with Sissy Début


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Sissy Début, an American singer, songwriter and actress. Hello Sissy!
Sissy: Howdy! (In True Southern Fashion.)
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be an artist?
Sissy: Basically I exited the womb testing out my vocal chords as legend has it, but music was ALWAYS in my family. I grew up in the Mountains of North Carolina so it was either do work, kill things (hunting) or play music. I chose music! (laughs) Being an artist for me, is that sweet spot of the soul where time and thought stand still and that’s where I love to stay if at all possible.
Monika: Having so many talents, would you regard yourself as a singer/songwriter or actress?
Sissy: I get asked that a lot, so normally I say I’m a “performing artist” that way it encompasses all of my GREAT LOVES. (laughing.) Music is the fabric of my soul, but there are times I do put it aside and focus on other things like writing (an upcoming Web Series is in the works), as well as acting. I love them all equally but when it comes down to it the one thing I could NEVER live without is me and my guitar and singing.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Interview with Audrey Mbugua Ithibu


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Audrey Mbugua Ithibu, an inspirational woman from Kenya, transgender activist, Secular Humanist, a role model for all African trans sisters, graduate of Maseno University in Medical Biotechnology, student in Computer Programming and a Post Graduate Student in Advanced Databases in a Kenyan University. Hello Audrey!
Audrey: Hello my dear.
Monika: For many years you have been involved in the work for the Transgender Education & Advocacy. What are the agendas of Transgender Kenya?
Audrey: First, recognition of our chosen names and correct gender in our academic and identification papers.
Second, we want to be able to access medical services relating to gender reassignment in a respectful and sensitive environment.
Third, an end to discrimination and other harmful practices, procedures and attitudes in Government departments that preclude enjoyment of the rights and fundamental freedoms of transgender people.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Interview with Roz Kaveney


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Roz Kaveney, a prolific British novelist, poet, critic, transgender activist, editor of Reading the Vampire Slayer and author of Rhapsody of Blood: vol. 1: Rituals and vol. 2: Reflections, and the poetry collection Dialectic of the Flesh, Londoner, sentimentalist, radical, “somewhat disliked by various silly people”. Hello Roz!
Roz: Hello Monika!
Monika: While preparing for the interview with you, I was amazed by the number of initiatives and projects you took part in: a founding member of Feminists Against Censorship (FAC), a former deputy chair of Liberty, deputy editor of the transgender-related magazine META, a core member of the Midnight Rose collective. How do you find energy and time to cover so many activities?
Roz: Well, I didn’t do all of those things at the same time. I learned when I was quite young that I have limited energy and it’s all been a matter of prioritizing, and forgiving myself when I need to walk away from something. For example, when I was elected to the Executive Committee of Liberty, I stepped down as Secretary of FAC, because there were plenty of other people capable of doing the work I had been doing.
When my health declined – I had some bad times with gall-bladder surgery – I resigned from Liberty to concentrate on my writing again which is why there is considerable hiatus between the Midnight Rose period of my work and the work I’ve done over the last decade.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Interview with Alana Nicole Sholar


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Alana Nicole Sholar, an American transgender activist and writer, the author of “Hung in the Middle: A Journey of Gender Discovery” (2012). Hello Alana!
Alana: Hello Monika.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Alana: My new found career has been really exciting. I have learned so much by writing “Hung in the Middle: A Journey of Gender Discovery” … all of it good. When I sat out to write my story it was in hopes of bringing help to others so imagine the surprise I got as others opened up and shared their journey. Many have given me an idea or notion that had never entered my way of thinking.

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