Saturday, 15 March 2014

Interview with Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood, a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Erica!
Erica: Hi Monika. Thank you so much for asking me to do this. I’m just a little fish in a big sea really.
I do have to correct the term video blogger though. That would suggest I actually talk to the camera, which really isn’t my style of video. Rather, I use music and images to help me tell my story.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself? 
rica: Few words LOL. You don’t know me very well Monika. I’ll try to keep it pretty basic. I was born in 1965. A difficult period to grow up transgender since the information and resources didn’t exist back then like they do today. But growing up in the 70’s was also a magical time. I was 12 years old when Star Wars came out, for crying out loud. What better era was there to be a kid?
That being said, as many transgender girls do, I grew up without friends, I’ll go into that more in a later question.
I hid, buried, denied all that I could as I got older so that by the time I met my future wife I had a pretty decent alter persona going that at least allowed me to pass as male. I found the strong silent type the easiest to pull off. If I said little I would have less of a chance of giving my true thoughts away.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Interview with Mayra Viamonte

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Mayra Viamonte, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Mayra!
Mayra: Hello, Monika. Interesting proposition, to list trans personalities as possibility models. Glad to be one of them.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Mayra: More than a few, like ‘narcissistic’ and ‘gorgeous’. Jokes aside, I’m a lesbian trans, which confuses a lot of people. I’m a professional translator, working from my home PC, and I’m engaged to a ciswoman that is wonderful in many ways.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Mayra: Actually, the YouTube profile is just a part of my personal blog. Both, however, are a twofold tool. Through them I aim to inspire other trans people, and educate everyone else about us.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Mayra: At “mission complete”. I’ve done a Facial Surgery and Breast Implant, I have no desire for the SRS, and my social life is fully feminine. Documents aren’t changed, but I also don’t plan them to be.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Interview with Cherise Witehira

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Cherise Witehira, an inspirational transgender activist from New Zealand, Butcher’s Apprentice, Hairdresser, Academic, Sex Worker, Public Servant and former President of Agender New Zealand, a leading advocacy organization for the trans community in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Hello Cherise!
Cherise: Kia ora my sis!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Cherise: Trigger alert, blunt, offensively honest etc…
Monika: For many years you have been dealing with transgender advocacy. What are the current challenges for transgender people In New Zealand?
Cherise: Please forgive me for the long-winded response to this question. To be honest Monika, there are many challenges faced by the Trans community here in Aotearoa, NZ. The five main issues I see currently affecting the community in NZ are Housing, Healthcare, Education, Employment and Poverty.
These issues have been evident for many years and successive governments have chosen to ignore them as they “are not a priority”. This is quite sad really as there are many within the community who require the support but for various reasons, cannot seem to access the services that are required in order for the person to become, for want of a better term, valuable, contributing members of society.
In saying that, the onus doesn’t just lie with government services; it also comes down to the person and whether they want to change their lives for the better. Some are very comfortable where they are at and do not wish to change that and that’s absolutely fine however, there are still many within the community who want to contribute but are almost sidelined by the government agencies they have to deal with.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Interview with Ianna Book

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Ianna Book, an inspirational photographer from Canada, author of Trans Avenue, a series of photographic self-portraits taken in Montréal and New York from 2011 to 2013. Hello Ianna!
Ianna: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ianna: Of course! I was born in Lévis, a small town in Québec, Canada. My parents divorced early and I lived with my brother and my single mom in a difficult economic situation. From a young age, I’ve always felt perturbed and was always asking myself many questions.
Puberty is when I started to fell a need to express my femininity. I isolated myself to live out that reality, because I was scared. At the beginning of adulthood, I moved to Montréal to study visual arts.
After many many years of denial and hesitation, I started, four years ago, to move forward with the process of my transition and gender adjustment (mtf). It was very difficult at first but necessary. In 2013, I published Trans Avenue, a collection of photographs tracing a part of this period of change.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Interview with Vicki Estrada

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Vicki Estrada, a landscape architect, urban planner, civic visionary, the President of Estrada Land Planning, a landscape architecture firm from San Diego. Hello Vicki!
Vicki: Hello Monika. I am quite honored that I am one you chose to interview. By the way, thank you for all you do for our community throughout the world.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your professional career so far?
Vicki: Well, I have owned my own design firm now for 29 years, almost half of my 61 years. I currently have 8 employees. Growing up I wanted to be an architect but realized while in architecture school that what makes a city great is not an iconic building here or tower there. It is what happens between buildings, how the buildings are arranged, that makes cities great. This is what landscape architects do.
There is misunderstanding by most that because the word "landscape architect" has the work "landscape" in it, that we are "fancy" gardeners. It is much more far reaching than that. I heard a story once by a famous landscape architect that if you imagine the earth as a canvas, architects put dots on the map, engineers connect the dots but landscape architects are the only ones that can literally paint the entire canvas.
I never forgot that story and have never regretted my decision to change from being an architect to being a landscape architect. We seem to be much more open and able to think on a larger scale.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Interview with Dr. Lynn Walker

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Dr. Lynn Walker, an American transgender activist, educator, retired US Army officer, and bishop in the Orthodox Catholic Church of America. Hello Lynn!
Lynn: Hi Monika. It’s very good of you to invite me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lynn: I live in Brooklyn with my spouse and two cats, teach occasionally, and direct a couple of housing programs for a non-profit AIDS service organization.
Monika: Why is God so merciless towards transgender people, placing their minds in the opposite gender bodies?
Lynn: I don’t necessarily agree that God is merciless. It seems to me that nature and the creator love variety, and in the last hundred years or so we’re seeing that more clearly. Gender identity is not A or B, but may be better represented as a spectrum – far more nuanced than the scale developed by Dr Harry Benjamin.
It also seems to me that randomness is part of the way the world works, and it’s what enables great creativity as well as great strength of character. I’m not saying that the mind-body thing isn’t a serious matter, for it really is. It’s not at all easy to face the reality or realities of the trans experience.
But struggle is not unique to us, either. There are many physical, spiritual, psychological situations that present enormously difficult challenges for people all over the world. The part about merciless, though. Some people are merciless, perhaps for religious or cultural reasons, or for fear. Maybe it’s a phobia, or it could have to do with misunderstanding or ignorance.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Interview with Sarah Jordan

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Sarah Jordan, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Sarah!
Sarah: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Sarah: I’m Sarah a Trans* Woman from South Carolina! I have been in transition now for about three years. I face many challenges and discrimination as a Southern transgender woman, even from family, friends and especially the public. Even though life gets really tough sometimes I never regret my choice to stop hiding and live free! I’m very fortunate to have a supportive, loving Boyfriend who knows when to push me forward and when to hold me tight!
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Sarah: When I first started on vlogging on YouTube it was to watch my transition as I went through my first hormone treatments and to follow my journey. Vlogging was also a way to express how I was feeling about life and my transition. The more videos I made the more I realized that other people needed to hear an honest and real transgender woman tell the truth about her life!
I felt I needed to share the highs and lows of accepting yourself as well as the struggle and pain of family, friends and societies acceptance of being a transgender woman! The more I videos I made the more it became like free therapy, allowing me to express my most intimate struggles and acceptance of my new life!

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