Friday, 31 January 2014

Interview with Deja Nicole Greenlaw

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Deja Nicole Greenlaw, an inspirational American transgender activist and advocate. Hello Deja!
Deja: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about your activism and yourself?
Deja: I have lobbied in government buildings in Washington DC and Hartford, Connecticut for trans rights but I believe that my biggest and most important activism is being out at work and having many people interact with me.
I deal with many people from several departments in a manufacturing environment and with hundreds of manufacturing plants all over the globe. Anyone who interacts with me can say that they know a transgender person and working with one is not an issue. If someone they know say something negative about transgender people they can refute it because they have first hand experience with working with me.
For the majority of the people I work with, I am the first transgender person that they have ever met. A few of them may have had issues with me in the beginning but now they are all very accepting of me.
The same goes for the community that I live in, the stores that I patronize, the doctors and staffs that I interact with. They all know a transgender person. By being open and out and about I am helping to change people’s thoughts about transgender people. I believe that is my greatest contribution to activism.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Interview with Robyn-Jane

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Robyn-Jane, inspirational woman, blogger, transgender artist and leader of the band "Robyn-Jane". Hello Robyn!
Robyn: Hi Monika, it's so great to have the chance to talk to you.
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Robyn: Having undergone my gender reassignment surgery last year on April 10, I am finally getting the chance to be the woman I was always meant to be. It has meant that work on our new album 'Bitter Honey' has been somewhat delayed but it has been a beautiful and life changing experience.
Monika: You are a member of the band named "Robyn-Jane". How did you start playing together?
Robyn: We started playing together some years ago to back another artist who has since become part of our line up. Our sound evolved from playing straight Blues and Country into our more sassy cabaret blues style we have today.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Interview with Jamie Roberts

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Jamie Roberts, an American transgender activist, graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, public defender in LaGrange, former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Atlanta based organization called Georgia Equality, Treasurer of Atlanta Gender Explorations. Hello Jamie!
Jamie: Hello Monika!
Monika: For many years you have been involved in transgender advocacy and activism. What are the current challenges for the transgender community in Atlanta?
Jamie: I believe the biggest challenge for the Trans community in Atlanta is to create stable short-term emergency shelter as well as longer-term supportive housing for Trans people. The shelter and care system we have to deal with now in Atlanta is private and faith-based, which means they think that their god does not approve of Trans people and any Trans person who seeks shelter with them must be housed according to the sex or gender assigned to them at birth, and that your clothes you wear in their shelter must reflect the same.
This policy, universal throughout the city, presents an untenable choice to Trans women in particular, who must be housed with abusive men and wear male clothes to get shelter. This intolerable situation leads some Trans women to commit suicide and others to rely on sex work to survive. If no one is going to give us shelter that is safe and respects our dignity, then we as a community must figure out a solution ourselves.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Interview with Stephanie Battaglino

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Stephanie Battaglino, an inspirational woman, transgender advocate and activist, working with a number of LGBT organizations, serving on the Board of Directors of both the LGBT Community Center of New York and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), Out & Equal Workplace Advocates’ Transgender Advisory Committee, Corporate Vice President at a major life insurance company in New York and the founder and owner of Follow Your Heart LLC – in which she delivers to companies and organizations educational workshops, trainings and motivational keynote speeches focused on personal empowerment and how to create transgender inclusive workplaces. Hello Stephanie!
Stephanie: Hello Monika! Thank you so very much for the opportunity to be a part of your web site. I’m truly honored to be included among so many inspirational women.
Monika: You transitioned in October 2005 and were the first transgender person to do so at your company. What kind of challenges did you face then?
Stephanie: Well, there were a few. First of which is that there were no specific protections in place for transgender employees in my company at that time, specifically with regard to gender identity and expression.
Secondly, the culture of the company is quite conservative and male-dominated, so I was very concerned that, as is the case with so many transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, I would lose my job the moment I came out.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Interview with Katie Anne Holton

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Katie Anne Holton, an American photo model and transgender advocate. Hello Katie!
Katie: Hi Monika. Thanks for contacting me. I’m honoured. My girlfriend laughed when I told her that she’s now dating a model.
Monika: How did you get involved with "Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold" photography series?
Katie: Scott Duane is a dear friend, so when he asked if I wanted to participate, I jumped at the chance. I believe in the goal of Visible Bodies, to let trans people tell our own stories. And, let’s be honest, being asked to model is very good for my 50-year-old ego.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Interview with Christine Burns MBE

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Christine Burns MBE, a British equalities specialist; former vice president of Press for Change; ranked 35th (2011) and 42nd (2012) on the Independent on Sunday's annual Pink List of influential LGBT people in the United Kingdom (a judge in 2013), and author of many books, including the highly acclaimed textbook “Making Equality Work” and her recent memoir titled Pressing Matters (Vol 1). Hello Christine!
Christine: Well thank you for including me in your amazing collection of interviews Monika - I’m most flattered!
Monika: We are having this interview when you have just published the first volume of your memoirs titled Pressing Matters. It touches upon your biography but it focuses primarily on the Gender Recognition Bill. How important was that Bill for the transgender community in the UK?
Christine: “Pressing Matters” is a history of trans activism in the United Kingdom. It is a history which I was initially reluctant to write, as I wasn’t sure whether I was the right person to write such a thing. I was very close to the action during a phenomenal period of advancement in trans rights around the world. As such I thought I might have been too close to tell such an important story.
My ideal scenario is that such a history ought to be written by others - with the perspective that comes from both physical distance and the passage of time. However, in spite of efforts to encourage that over the last few years I could see that such a history wasn’t going to get written unless someone took the first step.
At the same time I think such a history is absolutely crucial - especially as a majority of those leading on trans activism in the UK now are quite young and would not otherwise understand how the circumstances they find themselves in came about.

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