Monday, 24 April 2017

Interview with Tessa Fisher


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Tessa Fisher, an American PhD student, astrobiologist, blogger, and occasional aspiring science fiction writer. Hello Tessa!
Tessa: Thank you for having me, Monika!
Monika: You call yourself “perhaps the world’s only queer trans astrobiologist.” What does an astrobiologist do? Could you say a few words about yourself?
Tessa: Well, first off, I must confess, that title is no longer accurate- I recently discovered there’s at least one other one out there (though she works on a different area of the field then I do).
In brief, astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life throughout the universe. It’s an extremely broad, interdisciplinary field, and astrobiologists study topics ranging from how life evolved from inanimate chemicals, to how habitable Mars might be, to looking for signs of intelligent civilizations in other star systems.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Interview with Hailey


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Hailey, a young aspiring creative writer, student and transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com as the_forsaken_queen. Hello Hailey!
Hailey: Heya!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hailey: Honestly, it’s hard to answer since I’m still discovering myself every day! I feel a little overwhelmed since I’m being interviewed alongside so many inspirational women that are a lot further along in their transitions and more experienced than me in general.
I lived the first 16 or so years of my life without direction or purpose, and felt like a detached spectator of the world rather than someone with an actual identity. It was only recently that I figured out why and took the first step towards becoming the person I truly am.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Interview with Lyra


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Lyra, a young American video blogger that documents her transition as ButterfLyra on YouTube. Hello Lyra!
Lyra: Hello Monika! 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lyra: My name is Lyra and I'm a 20 year old transgender woman. I love music, fashion, flowers, and most of all I love people.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Lyra: I was tempted not to, but the reason I did was because of the amount it inspired me to see other transwomen who transitioned on YouTube. People like Violet, Princess Joules, and other amazing women really helped me discover who I was. I wanted to give back to the community who made me the person I am today.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Interview with Emma Shinn


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Emma Shinn, a transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit as ScoutSeven. Emma is a retired US Marine Corps officer and a now is an award-winning civilian attorney in Denver, Colorado. She is a LGBT activist and a member of the Board of Directors for the Colorado LGBT Bar Association. Hello Emma! 
Emma: Hi, Monika! Thanks for the opportunity to share my story.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Emma: Sure! I am a criminal defense attorney, representing US service members across the globe at courts-martial and administrative separation hearings. I also represent Colorado residents at criminal proceedings in state and Federal hearings.
Monika: What is the main agenda of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association?
Emma: The Colorado Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (“LGBT”) Bar Association is a voluntary professional association of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender attorneys, judges, paralegals and law students and allies who provide a LGBT presence within Colorado’s legal community.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Interview with Diana García


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Diana García, a Mexican transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com as aprilight, a programmer by day, co-host of geek podcast @abajoadelantea and general nerd by night. Hello Diana!
Diana: Hi Monika, I was surprised at first to learn that you wanted to interview me but I’m very happy to be able to share my story with others. Thank you for this opportunity.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Diana: Certainly, I am a 32 year old trans woman originally from Tijuana, Mexico but now living in Mexico City. I’m a computer programmer who works from home, I am very interested in games and fun so I have also dabbled in creating videogames and the latest side project I’m developing is a board game.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Interview with Anna Kouroupou


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Anna Kouroupou, an inspirational Greek woman, transgender right activist, writer, blogger, the author of the biographical book titled “Γιατί δεν έχω σαν το δικό σου, μαμά” (2011). Hello Anna!
Anna: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Anna: I’m afraid it’s difficult to talk about myself. If I talk about my positive aspects, I’m afraid it would seem like I’m boasting. On the other hand, if I mention my quirks, an imaginary line will present itself, meaning that I’m searching for compliments, therefore, I let others speak for me. 
Monika: Many transwomen in Greece regard you as an icon and relentless activist fighting for rights of Greek transwomen. Do you accept this title?😃
Anna: No, I don’t consider myself an activist, in the classical sense. A person who is an activist has no personal life. Rather, his life is only that. I don’t belong in that category. I support trans individuals and their problems, taking into consideration a change for the best, especially for the younger generation. Believe me, these kids draw strength from me and my actions, despite a “whole” trans personality. Meaning that after their own experience as a trans individual who has been sidelined socially, I find it logical they seek help.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Interview with Lauren Foster


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Lauren Foster, a South African model, actress, party promoter, transgender activist, marketing consultant, blogger on JustAnotherGirl.org and now the new Director of Concierge for all things LGBTQ at the University of Miami Hospital. Hello Lauren! You look absolutely gorgeous …
Lauren: Good morning Monika. Thank you for your sweet words.😃 
Monika: You are mostly known as a successful model. Do you sometimes look at the glossy magazines in which you were featured as one of the most beautiful models in the world …😃
Lauren: Growing up in South Africa, it was my dream to be a model and travel the world. I never thought it would happen. Looking back, I wish I had taken it all in more but I was young and it was Life just unraveling. I definitely appreciate it more now.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Interview with Milene


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Milene, a young transgender woman from Canada that documents her transition on Reddit. Hello Milene!
Milene: Hello! It’s very nice to finally speak to you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Milene: Well first of all, I would like to say that English is not my first language. I was born and raised French in Moncton, New-Brunswick and was living with my mom, dad and two brothers, both younger than I am.
I’m not in school at the moment but I plan to apply for next September to eventually go to medical school! Other than that I currently work full time at a Starbucks in Halifax Nova-Scotia, where I’m working towards my coffee masters! (The black apron you occasionally see on a barista)

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Interview with Brianna Tuerff


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Brianna Tuerff, a transgender woman who makes electronic and instrumental metal music under the alias ‘Brianna and the VSTs’. She documents her transition on Reddit.com as Neonnimrod and on YouTube with her channel BriannaIsGreat. Hello Brianna!
Brianna: Hello! Thanks for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Brianna: Well, my love and passion is music. Everything to do with writing it, playing it, recording and producing it, etc. The science of sound has always fascinated me. My first serious musical project was a comedy punk band called Thunder Stump that I fronted years before I figured out that I was transgender. This helped me let out some rage.
My life pre-transition isn’t real fun to look back on, but I do have a comfortable nostalgia in listening to a wide variety of music and playing Super Nintendo games as they both remind me of the bits of my childhood where I could zone out of reality. I was born in and currently reside in Phoenix Arizona in the United States, but I feel that my future in creative success lies elsewhere.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Interview with Mya Byrne


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Mya Byrne, an award-winning songwriter, poet, actress, and trans/queer activist. She made her stage debut at NYC's Dixon Place in 2014. She’s played some of North America’s best music festivals, and her art has been featured in The Advocate, Time Out, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, MSNBC, and many other media. Hello Mya!
Mya: Hey there Monika! Thanks for having me.
Monika: You can boast so many talents. Which vocation do you regard as most appropriate for you?
Mya: When it all comes down to it, I’m a rock-and-roll poet to my core. I mean, that encompasses everything I do.
Monika: Is there anything like transgender art? What does it mean to be a transgender artist?
Mya: I don’t think there is anything that can be compared to transgender art. So much great art has come from trans people, and it’s beautiful to witness this being recognized -- from the music of Wendy Carlos, Ahnoni, Lynn Breedlove, Star Amerasu, and Laura Jane Grace to the celebrated writing of so many here on your website, the brilliant films of the Wachowskis, actress Mya Taylor, and all of the people before our time who might have been considered trans today -- especially in the Black lesbian and blues music scene pre-World War 2, and of course the countless people who were living openly as gender-variant in Weimar Germany. Lili Elbe was an artist and a muse, too, openly celebrated in her time.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Interview with Kenna Aloi


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kenna Aloi, an American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube in her vlog Kennas World. Hello Kenna!
Kenna: Hey Monika, I am so happy to be able to have this interview with you to be able to share my story on an other platform, thank you so much for reaching out to me, I really appreciate it!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kenna: So as you know by now my name is Kenna Aloi, I am currently 22, and I am a hardworking millennial. I work 7 days a week and try to manage a YouTube channel on top of that and try to fit in some personal life as well.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Kenna: I love doing update videos on my life, where I am at, what I am doing. It's like a online diary that I get to share with the world hoping that people can relate and maybe be able to help them from my personal experiences. I can also look back and see how far I came from leaving my digital mark on the world which will probably last forever.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Interview with Juli Grey-Owens


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Juli Grey-Owens, an American transgender rights activist. She regularly speaks at public forums about the need for statewide Transgender Civil Rights. Grey-Owens is the Executive Director of LITAC, the Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition; the founder and owner of Transgender Management Consulting, an organization which works to help organizations become transgender inclusive; and Board Co-Chair of TransPAC, New York’s first Political Action Committee. Hello Juli!
Juli: Hi Monika. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Juli: I guess that I would say that I have had an amazing personal journey. I’m now in my early 60’s and as I look back at my life, I can see how it has continued to change and develop into something I could never have dreamed of. I know that I have been very lucky, and have been “privileged” in many ways.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Interview with Margaux Ayn Schaffer


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Margaux Ayn Schaffer, an American multi media artist, designer, and activist. Margaux has had a long history of activism, going back decades; in Atlanta, she was the editor and designer of INSIGHT, deputy director of AEGIS, and art director and associate editor of Chrysalis Quarterly. She participated both as a panelist and planning committee member for the Southern Comfort Conference.
When a series of murders of transgender women occurred in Atlanta, Margaux was appointed to the Mayor’s Gay and Lesbian Task Force. This led to an op-ed in The Advocate, “Do Transgender Issues Affect the Gay Community,” which she co-authored with Dallas Denny. She was also an invited guest on the Joan Rivers Show.
After moving from Atlanta to Phoenix, Margaux worked in Information Technology. She played a critical role in the first all transgender production of the Vagina Monologues, presented on V-Day 2004 in Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center. Margaux not only performed one of the monologues (“My Vagina Was My Village”), but she created the visual materials, including the posters, keepsake books, and postcards.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Interview with Ally


Today’s interview will be with Ally, a transgender woman that began documenting her transition on Reddit.com as user Hey_Im_Allison. More recently she has launched the youtube channel Allycat Makeup, which aims to help Transgender women learn to do makeup. Hello Ally!
Ally: It’s a real pleasure to speak with you Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ally: I am a 25 year old transgender woman and I have been transitioning since June of 2016! The three things that I enjoy the most in my life are traveling, music and makeup. I’ve managed to see 15 different countries, played guitar for half of my life, and in the last 7 months became absolutely makeup obsessed. I’m openly trans and believe in being proud of being transgender.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on Reddit?
Ally: When I had first truly admitted to myself that I was transgender and needed to move forward with transition, I had wanted to express those thoughts in a very concrete manner. I suppose posting on Reddit was my way of declaring it to the world in a way that I could not take back. From that point onward I felt it would be an interesting way to document my journey and how much has changed.

Interview with Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani, an inspirational Ukrainian transgender activist from Kyiv, journalist, blogger, and fashionista, the Founder and President of the Foundation "All of Us - women!" and Head of Kyiv Transgender initiative group “T-Woman – Ukraine” (since October 2016). Hello Anastasia! 
Anastasia-Eva: Hello Monika!!! Thank you for idea about interview. I’m really excited about this!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Anastasia-Eva: My full name is Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani, I was born on 1 February 1979, and live in Kyiv. I have felt myself like a woman since childhood. Yes, I am a transgender woman. After study at the ordinary school I entered the Kyiv National Economic University in 1996 and successfully graduated 5 years later. During years of studying I kept secret about the fact of my female soul carefully, interests and character lives in me. I secretly wanted to be a woman. Parents and friends could not know about it, because we lived in the first post-Soviet years and the stereotypes about the two sexes, that a boy cannot become a girl after birth were around me.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Interview with Annie Wallace


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Annie Wallace, a Scottish actress from Aberdeen, one of most prominent LGBTQ persons in the UK, computer science and sound engineering specialist, musician, known for her role of Sally St. Claire in the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, the first ever British transgender actress to be nominated for a BAFTA award, listed no.17 on the 2015 Rainbow List and no.39 on the 2016 Pride Power List, winner of The 2016 National Diversity Awards "Celebrity of the Year" award. Hello Annie!
Annie: Hi!
Monika: Are you a descendant of Sir William Wallace that we know so well from the well-known film Braveheart (1995)?😊 
Annie: I could be, couldn’t I? I suppose all Wallaces are, somewhere down the line… but I have no proof of that whatsoever!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Interview with Cecilia


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Cecilia, a woman of trans experience that documents her life on Reddit.com as buttercupcece and on Instagram as cc.skates. Hello Cecilia (cc)!
cc: Hi!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
cc: Well, I’m a college kid, 20 years old, right now with a plan to transfer universities from Northern Michigan in Marquette Michigan to Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids Michigan.
I’m gonna be studying Diagnostic Medical Sonography, whatever that means. Skateboarding is my absolute biggest passion, but I also love to trail run, surf the great lakes, ice & rock climb, cook, eat, get tattoos, and just generalized punk shit.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Interview with Anshu Christa Jacobson


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Anshu Christa Jacobson, the Headmistress of the Budo Ryu Kai, one of the most sought after instructors in the traditional and eclectic martial traditions, member of the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and said to be the only non-Japanese to receive a Menkyo Kaiden (The highest level license that exist in Japanese martial arts.) and Sokeship (inheritor / grandmaster) of a koryu bujutsu/ninjutsu tradition. Hello Anshu!
Anshu: Hello! It is an honor to be asked to do an interview with you!
Monika: You are quite a lady, could you say a few words about yourself?
Anshu: Well… I’m a very eclectic person that does many things. Outside of the martial arts I also work in the adult entertainment industry as an escort/courtesan (geisha) and erotic dancer.
I’m also very open about my spirituality as I am an active pagan who practices Wicca. Wicca is a nature religion, that is derived from very old spiritual and magical practices that helps one become more connected to the earth.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Interview with Marie-Pierre Pruvot



Monika & Elaine: Today it is our pleasure and honour to interview Marie-Pierre Pruvot, also known as Bambi, one of the most inspirational transwomen in France, a former showgirl of Le Carrousel de Paris, actress, French literature teacher, the author of two biographical books. Hello Marie-Pierre!
Marie-Pierre: Hello, dear friends.
Monika & Elaine: The French transgender cabaret culture is regarded as one of the most important elements of the history of transwomen in France. Your unforgettable shows at Chez Madame Arthur and La Carrousel attracted a lot of interest, which helped the audience to get acquainted with the trans phenomenon. How do you recollect those years?
Marie-Pierre: I left Algiers at age 18 and I came to Paris to work at Mme Arthur’s and at the Carousel. It was 1953. Coccinelle was 22 years old. She was already famous in France and the French-speaking world.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Interview with Carla Combs


Monika: Carla, I am so delighted that I can interview you again! Let me briefly introduce you to those who have not read our first interview. Carla Lewis is a wife, father of two adult children, and grandmother of three. She is also a veteran of the United States Air Force Space Command serving in support of Operation Desert Storm and was discharged in 1991 when it was discovered she was transgender. Carla currently works as a software developer for a health care company in Nashville, TN.
In addition she is a full time student and part time writer, speaker, activist and advocate for the transgender community. Her activism was ignited in 2008, when she and her wife, Jaime Combs, witnessed a lone gunman enter their church sanctuary and kill innocent people, including a good friend, all because her church welcomed LGBT people. To that end, Carla has tried to use her voice to advocate for equality for transgender people and speak for those that cannot speak out because of fear or intimidation. Hello Carla!
Carla: Hey, Monika! I'm thrilled to be giving you an update since our last interview.
Monika: It has been 4 years since our first interview. A lot of things must have changed in your life… I have just noticed two changes. Firstly, you changed your surname!
Carla: OMG! It *has* been been four years. Well, yes, there have been a few changes in my life. I don't even know where to begin.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Interview with Hannah Abigail


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Hannah Abigail, a German college teacher, skydiver, trans advocate and video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Hannah!
Hannah: Cześć – Hello, Monika. Thanks so much for reaching out to me. I feel so honoured to be interviewed by you considered the many famous names on your website.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself? You have some Polish roots, don’t you?
Hannah: Yes, my great-grandma was Polish. But my ties with Poland stem much more from personal experience. I grew up in Cottbus, Germany and learned Polish as my third foreign language at grammar school and spoke it almost fluently in the 1970s and 1980s when I visited so many Polish regions. I learned a lot and keep having a special, cordial and respectful relationship with Poland.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Interview with SOSara


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Sara, a Canadian video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube as SOSara. Hello Sara!
SOSara: Hey Monika, thanks for giving me an opportunity to share my story and hopefully reach those who need some uplifting and those who need better understanding about us.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
SOSara: I’m really just a regular person. I didn’t transition and decide hey, now that I’m finally expressing as a woman, I should become a super glam diva! I just work hard to live my life to the fullest and give my 2 beautiful daughters the best life possible. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
SOSara: Im sharing all my transition details from the ups to the downs because I feel like people need a better understanding of what it’s like in our shoes, and people aren’t getting that from Caitlyn Jenner unfortunately.
I also share it all to help the transgender community know that they aren’t alone in their struggles, but that they too can get through it and be happy and confident in their skin.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Interview with Nicole Orpen


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Nicole Orpen, a South African video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Nicole!
Nicole: Hello Monika, thank you for giving me the opportunity to raise awareness regarding the transgender community.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Nicole: I am now 48, I started my transition late in life. My last year has been the most incredible year of my life! Just prior to my transition, I was probably at my lowest point ever.
Now I am the happiest I have ever been and so so grateful to everyone who has helped me to get here. I still have challenges, but I now look forward to each and every day. I have left a dark grey world and entered one of color and beauty where anything is possible.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Nicole: I spent my entire life thinking there was something wrong with me. I always felt different, but I didn’t know why or what it was. I don’t want other transgender women struggling unnecessarily with what I went through. By raising awareness, hopefully I can help them find themselves much earlier than I did.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Interview with MJ Rodriguez


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview MJ Rodriguez, an inspirational actress, known for her roles in Nurse Jackie (2011), Carrie Diaries (2013), Dear Pauline (2014), Blank_My Life (2016) and Netflix show Luke Cage (2016), Feature Film Saturday Church (2017) as well as the role of Angel Dumont Schunard in the Original Off-Broadway Revival of Rent (2011). Hello MJ!
MJ: Hello Monika
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
MJ: Well, I am a Jersey Girl Born and raised. I truly enjoy to acting as well as singing and I'm glad that it has brought me this far!
Monika: When did you decide that acting would be your vocation? MJ: As soon as I booked Rent I knew that’s where the Road/Journey needed to begin. Monika: It seems that the role of Angel Dumont Schunard in the Original Off-Broadway Revival of Rent was a stepping stone for your acting career …
MJ: It totally was, I was originally going to school, at Berklee College of Music and studying for a degree in Song Writing, but then Rent came around, and at first I was a little hesitant due to schooling as well as the chances of being turned down, but I had to take that chance and luckily, I was blessed enough to receive the role.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Interview with Fay Louise Purdham


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Fay Louise Purdham, a British beauty queen and media celebrity from Newcastle, nominated for the Positive Role Model at The National Diversity Awards 2017 (please vote for her). Hello Fay!
Fay: Hey, how are you!
Monika: Doing fine. Thanks! Could you say a few words about yourself?
Fay: I’m Fay, 29-year actress, model, spokesperson, ambassador to escape, and patron to courageous kids.
Monika: You hit the headlines 2 years ago when the British media covered your participation in the 2015 Miss Transgender UK. Did you like the contest?
Fay: The contest was a platform builder to help me in my career, and help others going through similar things, and also to help on my journey to motherhood.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Interview with Beatrice Wong Suet-ling


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Beatrice Wong Suet-ling, an inspirational woman from Hong-Kong, a 36 years old out and proud transgender IT support staff and amateur filmmaker from Hong Kong. Hello Beatrice!
Beatrice: Hello Monika, I’m so honoured to be interviewed by such an international platform, never thought I could have global appeal!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Beatrice: I’m a simple transwoman from Hong Kong. I’ve appeared in news media a few times (thus the discovery by Monika) but I do not consider myself a representative or an activist. I do not believe I am well versed in academic speak or inspirational speak, I’m just simply available to talk about my experiences. A lot of transgenders hide from the limelight because no matter how society has progressed, there is always some form of social stigmatization in some corner.
But I’m not afraid to stand out into the limelight because I believe the world is a big place and if one corner doesn’t accept me, there’s always some other corners for me to exist in. I also made a documentary about my transition which has been shown in a few festivals. (I will share my documentary to your blog once the screenings are finished. I’ve submitted it to a few other festivals and pending results so it will be a few months before I can publicly share my video).

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Interview with Savannah Burton


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Savannah Burton, a Canadian actress, and accomplished athlete, the first out Trans athlete in Canadian history to compete in team sports internationally. Hello Savannah!
Savannah: Hi Monika! It’s wonderful to talk with you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Savannah: I’m originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland Canada and moved to Toronto in my early 20’s. My 2 biggest passions would have to be acting and participating in sports.
Monika: When did you decide that acting would be your vocation?
Savannah: I’ve loved movies from a very early age. They have the ability to inspire and elicit incredible emotion. After my first acting class in my 20’s I was hooked. Having positive reactions to scenes I was performing made me want to continue this joyful experience we call acting.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Interview with Chloe Schwenke


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Chloe Schwenke, a human rights and peacebuilding activist, development practitioner, and academic with over three decades of international experience, including 15 years of work while based in the Global South. She is the Director of the Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion at the International Center for Research on Women.

Monika: The transgender community is said to be thriving now. As Laverne Cox announced “Trans is beautiful.” Teenage girls become models and dancers, talented ladies become writers, singers, and actresses. Those ladies with interest in politics, science, and business become successful politicians, academics, and businesswomen. What do you think in general about the present situation of transgender women in the American society? Are we just scratching the surface or the change is really happening?
Chloe: I would hardly say that the transgender community is thriving, simply because a few transgender models and actors become celebrities, and a few trans folk are publishing. Yes, we are making our presence known more emphatically, but we are also facing extraordinary push-back, violence, exclusion, humiliation, scapegoating, and – globally – a rising death rate from extreme violence.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Interview with Erin Swenson


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Erin Swenson, an American licensed psychotherapist, transgender rights activist, the first-known mainstream Protestant minister to make a gender transition and retain ordained office. Since turning age 60, she has completed 34 triathlons, including two Half-Ironman events. Hello Erin! 
Erin: Hi Monika. What an honor to be interviewed by you. Congratulations on your work as a transgender activist.
Monika: When I read about your triathlon experience I thought, wow such a tough lady! Could you say a few words about yourself?
Erin: I think being transgender requires a certain amount of toughness, so my interest in triathlon fits my temperament. I am not fast (although I tend to win/place in age group races) and my goal for every race is to have fun and cross the finish line vertically. I am 70 years old and find the cross-training (swim/bike/run) very helpful to maintain my own health and wellness. But going through a gender transition is MUCH tougher than a Half-Ironman.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Interview with Paula Coffer


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Paula Coffer, a retired US Army Finance Officer with many years of military service in: Vietnam, Germany, Korea, and the United States. She later served with the Department of Defense and Department of State in Afghanistan and is the author of the biographical book entitled “A Walk in Confidence” (2017). Hello Paula!
Paula: Hello Monika and thank you for taking the time for this interview. It is an honor to be a part of the illustrious group you have interviewed in the past.
Monika: You can boast a fantastic military career. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Paula: I enlisted in the US Navy at 17 years of age and during my 4 year enlistment I spent 3 years and 2 months on sea duty while making 3 WesPac (Western Pacific) tours of which 2 were to Vietnam. I joined Army ROTC while in college and accepted a commission as a Finance Officer. During these 24 years I struggled with living the dual identity of satisfying my military responsibilities and family obligations and of accepting my gender identity that I held so close within. Don’t ask, Don’t tell did not exist during my military career. If asked, I had to tell and I would have been released from the military as unfit and probably with an ‘other than honorable’.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Interview with Nova Twelve


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Nova Twelve, a young American video blogger from South Carolina that documents her transition as Nova Twelve on YouTube. Hello Nova!
Nova: Hi Monika! Thank you so much for putting this interview together!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Nova: Sure! I’m from the Williamsburg area of Virginia. I went to Virginia Commonwealth University for an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Later in life, I went to The Citadel for a Masters degree in Counseling.
I also have formal education in Cosmetology and Culinary. But more than my formal education, I’m most proud of my traveling experiences. At the present time, I’ve visited 52 countries. My goal is 100.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Interview with Kendra Brill


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kendra Brill, the main character of the recently published biographical book titled “The Kendra Brill Story” (2017). Hello Kendra!
Kendra: Hello Monika! ​ 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kendra: I'm truly blessed to be the authentic woman that I am! I went from being that sad and lonely William, that everyone knew and loved to being Kendra, a strong and dependable woman.
I have a loving family that I've always wanted and a house that I was blessed with. I have all kinds of people, from all walks of life surrounding me and feeling me with love and encouragement that I truly love and care about. It might not be the family that I was born into, but it's my family through Jesus Christ.
After the hell that I've been through, it really feels nice to be in a loving and caring community. Without their support, I'm not sure if I would've made it as far as I have. They accept the addict, the prostitute, the ex-incarcerated sides of me. They truly love me for every part of me.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Interview with Yvette Tourettes


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kelly Pärlefrost, a content-maker on YouTube from Stockholm, Sweden. Going by the pseudonym “Yvette Tourettes” on her channel. Hello Kelly!
Kelly: Greetings Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself and your daily life?
Kelly: My name is Kelly Pärlefrost, 23 years old (turning 24 this year) from Stockholm, Sweden. I'm an assistant nurse and my job used to be in a hospital ward for old people with various health conditions.
Now I'm going to school to get authorization for college studies so that I can become a pharmacist/chemist. I spend a lot of my free time on YouTube watching other peoples content since I myself like creating similar content. Besides that most of my time is spent being with friends, going out or studying.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Kelly: I've always, ever since I began living as a girl at the age of 14/15, had some sort of desire to keep my trans-identity a secret or something not to talk about openly with others. My dream has always been to be a girl like any other cis-girl but I never really wanted to be associated with the word “trans”, because I always thought that other people would view me differently than before.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Interview with Claire Michelle


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Claire Michelle, an American musician, artist, and video blogger that showcases her talents and discusses the finer points of transitioning on YouTube. Hello Claire!
Claire: Hi Monika! Thanks so much for documenting the history of so many transgender people, you really are doing us all a great service!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Claire: I’m a Seattleite and the only transgender musician in Seattle at this time. I do some band management for other local artists and have quite a smaller projects as well such as my YouTube channel!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Interview with Kirsty Jayne Crow


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kirsty Jayne Crow, an aviation consultant, teacher and author of the memoir “Three Weddings and a Sex Change” (2016). Hello Kirsty!
Kirsty: Hi Monika, I feel very privileged to have this opportunity to speak to you. You have interviewed some truly remarkable women so I’m amongst exalted company.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kirsty: I grew up on the beautiful island of Jersey and shared a happy childhood with two sisters with whom I remain close. I first begun to question my gender identity when I was about eight years old, jealous of siblings who could wear gorgeous clothes and sport long silky hair. My teenage years were a time of particular angst and I sort refuge in cross-dressing, my sisters’ wardrobes providing a ready source of feminine attire.
From about the age of 12 I became fascinated with aviation and as soon as I was old enough I learnt to fly. A career as a pilot beckoned, but unfortunately when I was 22 I was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes, putting pay to any such ambitions. I instead pursued a long and successful career in airline operations, working for a number of major airlines.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Interview with Jessnisa


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Jessnisa, a young Thai model, and video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Jessnisa!
Jessnisa: Hello Monika. Thank you so much for having me here and please call me Jess.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jess: I considered myself a very confident and hard-working individual.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Jess: I’m proud of transition process and I want to share it and inspire all my transgender sisters out there who are still scared of taking hormones or even coming out to finally step out of their own shadows and start making themselves the women they always wanted to become.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Interview with Rhyannon Styles


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Rhyannon Styles, an actress, writer, ELLE UK magazine’s columnist, one of the most influential British LGBTQ activists, and the author of the biographical memoir titled “The New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells It Like It Is” (2017). Hello Rhyannon!
Rhyannon: Hi Monika!
Monika: You are a woman of so many talents that I do not know how to start … Let me start with your acting career … You have been a performer in Carnesky Productions since 2008. Their latest theatre show ‘Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman’ was recently at the Soho Theatre in London. How do you find yourself putting the magic back into menstruation? :)
Rhyannon: You know the classic sawing in half trick? Usually performed by male magicians, well this time we reversed the action. I appear from inside the sawing in half illusion, naked and covered in blood. It was purely magical.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Interview with Caroline Cossey


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Caroline Cossey, aka Tula, a former model and actress from the UK, Bond girl, transgender rights activist, one of the most inspirational transwomen in the history of the transgender movement, ranked #24 (1995) in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women, author of two biographical books. Hello Caroline! 
Caroline: Hello Monika!
Monika: I must say that for many transwomen, including myself, you have always been one of the most charismatic role models. I am just wondering whether you are aware of how many lives you saved, not only in the UK but elsewhere, by simply being yourself?
Caroline: It gives me great comfort to know that greater good came from all the pain and suffering resulting from being outed in terms of spreading international awareness and in helping other trans people find their self worth, direction and life’s purpose.
I’ve had the repeated privilege over the years of people writing me or telling me I saved their life. It would have all been worth it to save a single life so I’ve been very blessed in that regard.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Interview with Michelle Raine


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Michelle Raine, a Canadian video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Michelle!
Michelle: Hello Monika, I think what you are doing with these interviews is very inspiring and a fantastic idea for bridging the gaps between all of our personal stories.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Michelle: I am an actress working on my bachelor of arts degree with a major in theatre, in Nova Scotia Canada. I also happen to be a transgender woman who is pretty early in her transition. I have been documenting moments in my transition on my YouTube channel.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Michelle: Well, honestly, my initial decision was simply because I am selfish. I am busy with my degree, shows, approaching a Summer with three productions that I am producing and more...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Interview with Crissy Red


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Crissy Red, an Canadian video blogger that documents her experiences being a transsexual on YouTube. Hello Crissy!
Crissy: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Crissy: I started transitioning in 1999 when I finally realized why I felt so limited in life. I always knew something was wrong because I could not have a romantic relationship, it never felt right. I went into therapy and it was then I was told that I was suffering from gender
I immediately started things rolling with changing my identity, hormones and arranged for surgery. By 2004, I had my surgery and have never looked back since. It was like being released from a prison.

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