Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Interview with Ava

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Ava, a transgender woman with a strong social media presence via her Instagram, Reddit & YouTube pages. Hello Ava!
Ava: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ava: Of course! I work for Carnival Cruise Line as an entertainer; I travel the world, meet people from all around, and get paid to have fun. I’m also an insufferable nerd and gamer. When not working, I’m either gaming or finding a recipe to cook up to share with my family. I also run a YouTube channel for people who experience the phenomenon ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’, also known as ASMR.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on Reddit?
Ava: It began as a place to reach out to people in similar situations to me, trying to gauge how the community thought my transition was going. I have few friends who are trans themselves, and so this became a window to the community in which I felt the validation I felt I needed at the time to help me along.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Interview with Danielle Pellett

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Danielle J Pellett, an inspirational American woman, New Deal Democrat, trans rights activist. She is running for the Democratic nomination to represent Texas 32nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. She was the founding President of the first Transgender student organization at a Texas University, and later on she worked with the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and the Progressive Alliance. Hello Danielle!
Danielle: Howdy, Monika, and thanks for the opportunity to get my message out there.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Danielle: I think you covered a lot of it in the introduction; I was born on the border in Brownsville, Texas to a mixed race couple: David Ellsworth and Maria del Rosario.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Interview with Melissa Jensen

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Melissa Jensen, a writer, novelist from New South Wales, Australia, the author of “Mel's Fantasy Life” (2016) and “Mark's Real Life” (2017). Hello Melissa!
Melissa: Hi Monika, Thanks, I now reside in Melbourne, Victoria, which is an awesome place to live.
My novels have been renamed for a new broader website I have discovered. The names are now “Mel’s New Life” and “Mark’s Pathetic Life”—that is due for worldwide release July 30th, 2017 as I have made some minor adjustments.
“Mel’s Fantasy/New Life” is the first in my series, each part allows the reader to use their imagination as I stop sections abruptly. I also end each part on a Cliff-Hanger to hopefully maintain interest.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Interview with Lois Simmons

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Lois Simmons, an American tax preparer and writer from Suffern, N.Y. She writes posts for the blog titled “Being Christian and Transsexual: Life on Planet Mercury.” Hello Lois!
Lois: Hello Monika. To be included with such an illustrious group of trans women who you have interviewed is quite an honor.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lois: This is the toughest question you asked me, as it is difficult to limit myself to a few words on almost any subject! But here goes.
I’m 64 years old. I was born in New York City (borough of Queens) and have lived all my life in the city or its suburbs. I went to Cornell with plans to be a Civil Engineer/Urban Planner/designer of roads and rail systems. I ended up with a degree in Government.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Interview with Roxanne Edwards

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Roxanne Edwards, an American architect and activist for LGBTQ issues from Washington, DC. Hello Roxanne!
Roxanne: Hello, Monika! Greetings from the United States Capital city, Washington, DC! It has always been an interesting place to live, but now more than ever, it is a critical place to be involved in issues that affect all our citizens.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Roxanne: I am a professional architect who has done projects nationally and in the Middle East. My entire life has been lived in the Washington area except during my degree studies at my university, Virginia Tech, where I met my spouse. We have been married for 43+ years and we have seven grandchildren. My activism started in 2000 with the beginning of my transition to my authentic self.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Interview with Meredith Guest

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Meredith Guest, a teacher, writer, and author of the memoir titled “Son, I Like Your Dress” (2015). Hello Meredith! 
Meredith: Greetings, Monika.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Meredith: Well, I think of myself as a rather unremarkable person who finds great pleasure in doing rather ordinary things. I’m a writer who loves to write, but you’re not likely ever to see my work on the New York Times best seller list – and that’s okay.
I’m an educator who feels passionately about education, though no one’s beating down my door to get my ideas. I’m a parent, and now a grandparent, who loves her children and grandchild. I love this beautiful planet and grieve what we have done to it. And I also happen to be transgender.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Interview with Holly

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Holly, a transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com as mikah_rowan. Hello Holly!
Holly: Hello Monika and thank you for this opportunity to share a bit about myself and my experiences.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Holly: Okay, so I was born in 1962 in Connecticut USA, not too far from New York City. My father died when I was only six months old, and my mother remarried before I can even remember. I had a brother six years older than me and a sister three years older. I realized that I was transgender at a very early age, even though to me, it had no name yet.
As soon as I was aware of being a human being and seeing the differences between boys and girls, men and women, I knew that I was a girl and that I would grow up to be a woman. But something was wrong. My mom kept dressing me in little boys clothes and giving me boys toys to play with. I would take my boys clothing off and go to my sisters dresser and put on her clothes.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Interview with Ana

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Ana, a transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com as MontanaPython1993. She describes herself as a writer and role playing hobbyist. Hello Ana! 
Ana: Hello Monika! 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ana: For me, summing myself up is a bit of a chore, but I’ll try. I’m in the sticks of Washington state, I do a lot of reading and one of my favorite past times are tabletop role-playing games. I am actually quite invested in world-building for my own settings to use for Dungeons and Dragons.
I’m also a bit of a writer, in the process of regaining my momentum following a long and drawn out writer’s block. I am also sort of between unemployment and not-very-stable employment. For this interview I’m probably going to end up with long responses to questions.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Interview with Shemiyia O'Bannon-Sweeney

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Shemiyia O'Bannon-Sweeney, an inspirational young woman originally from Louisville, Kentucky, who now resides in the Greater New York area. Hello Shemiyia!
Shemiyia: Well Hello There!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Shemiyia: Wow.. Well, I like to refer to myself as "The Jacqueline of all trades"! I am a very busy bee! First and foremost I am Wife to my amazing Husband of 2 years, Bobby. I have been a medical professional for the past 13 years, I now work for a very big hospital organization here in New Jersey that prides itself on its advocacy with the LGBT Community.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Interview with Bishesh Huirem

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Bishesh Huirem, an Indian model and beauty pageant queen. Hello Bishesh, you look absolutely beautiful!
Bishesh: Hello Monika! Thank you so much for this compliment and opportunity to share my story to the readers of your blog.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Bishesh: I am Bishesh Huirem. I am a transgender woman who follows her dream, yet being simple, frank and enthusiastic.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Interview with Kate Bornstein

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kate Bornstein, an American author, playwright, performance artist, and gender theorist, the author of many influential books, including: “A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir”, “My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity” and “Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us”. Hello Kate!
Kate: Hello, Monika. Thank you for welcoming me into the amazing company of trans folks that you’ve pulled together here.
Monika: My first question must be about your health. Are you felling OK now? The media were full of information about your fight against cancer, and the $100,000 crowdfunder campaign…
Kate: Ah, you’re sweet to ask. Thank you. Yep, I’m feeling very well thank you. In 2012, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. And this was on top of a leukemia diagnosis from back in 1996. Surgery didn’t get all the cancer out of my lung, so the next step was chemotherapy and radiation. But because of my two cancers, there was no approved chemotherapy being used by any doctors on my health plan. The only doctor who was working on that kind of combination of cancer was not covered by my insurance, and cost a lot of money that I didn’t have.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Interview with Galen

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Galen, a transgender woman. She runs the website Trans Substantiation, where she discusses trans issues and philosophy, and documents her reflections on transition. She has also documented her transition on Reddit.com as asthepenguinflies. Hello Galen!
Galen: Hello!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Galen: In short, I’m a 29 year-old trans woman. I originally came out at 17, before going promptly back into the closet and resuming the binge/purge depression/repression cycle that a lot of trans folks are familiar with. I finally came out to my wife and started transition steps in late December of 2015. I write a lot about various trans related topics on my website, Trans Substantiation, which started as a personal blog to help me process things, and has since gone on to become a place where I attempt to engage people in in-depth conversations related to gender and the philosophical issues surrounding gender.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Interview with Juliet

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Juliet, a transgender woman that started transitioning after discovering herself in sensory isolation. She is a prominent figure in the float tank industry and has regularly documented her transition through her blog as well as on reddit under her username, jungletigress. Hello Juliet!
Juliet: Hi. Thanks for interviewing me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Juliet: I’m a 31-year old trans woman and activist. I came out to myself in a float tank during an intensely introspective session. We’re being pulled into the limelight right now and I think that education is hugely important for trans people that feel comfortable enough in that role. I’m currently organizing my local pride event where I will host a booth letting people “Ask a Trans Person Anything.”

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.

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