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.
I never thought that I would write a book or go to prison or be addicted to drugs or learn what Gods love is, but everything following up to this point has lead me to the woman that I am today with a book, a loving family, and God's love. It's truly amazing! Sometimes it's hard for me to rap my head around it all. 
Monika: Why did you decide to publish your biography?
Kendra: I wanted to help the LGBT community. I wanted to show them that they aren't alone, that others have been through the same things, they've been through. That it's never to late to change your life and walk a different path than I did. I wanted to let the LGBT community know, that if you keep fighting and working towards your goal, that one day you will have what you need. Nobody is to broken to be fixed!!!
I had been incarcerated for long portions of my life, I'll never get that time back, I was an addict to alcohol, and was a prostitute to feed my addiction, if I can change after all of that, so can you, so can anyone. It might be hard, I'm not gonna lie and say it won't be, but it's worth it, it'll heal those wounds, your scars, and your heart.
With "The Kendra Brill Story."
Order via lulu.com
And I also wanted to let the LGBT Community know that God does love you and that there is people out there that truly do love you for who you are. No matter what walk of life you choose in the past, God still loves you, and there's people out there that still love you! I asked God to remove the addiction from me and he did it, he does care, he does hear your cries, and he is listening!
All you have to do, is want to change, and ask God to change your life for the better. Put your life into his hands and let him Guide your path, you'll change for the better and you'll finally be able to say with a truth, that you love yourself, like I did! ​
Monika: You asked Tess de Carlo to collaborate on writing the book
Kendra: Actually it was more than less fate, I was downtown watching the ball drop, when I made a New Years resolution to write a book, then Tess Messaged me, only minutes into the New Year, and asked me if she could write my book. It was like fate brought us together. So we could bring people back to God. Seven is a lucky number of mine because I was born on the seventeenth day of September.
One is a new lucky number because the first of the year. I'm really big on numerology and whenever I see my lucky numbers it's like a sign from above that I need to take action or that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be in life. It was a sign from God, that I needed to write my story and get it out there for the world to hear.
Monika: The book does not hide anything from your story: prostitution, incarceration, addiction…
Kendra: I'm an open book. I have no secrets. We all fall short of the Glory of God. I would hate for any girl to do these things. The addiction lead me to prostitution and Incarceration.
I asked God to remove the addiction from me. That I wouldn't bare anymore chains that held me in captivity. And God blessed me with his Grace and removed the addiction from me! So I no longer need the drug to live because I am living my truth through God!
Monika: Which aspects of your experience can be useful for other transwomen?
Kendra: I took my experiences and my pain and I did something to help other people, but not only am I helping other people with my life story, but it's helping me to stay clean and on the right track. I'm living proof that it's never too late to turn back and change your ways for Christ.
Another useful aspect of my life, that can be useful to women is where I was denied my name change by Judge Dennis Lee Hupp and told I had to undergo Gender Reassignment Surgery in order to be given my legal name change, when I was content with the hormone therapy. 
So I kept fighting and fighting the judicial system, and The Transgender Legal Education Defense Fund finally heard my pleas, and helped me to get my real name. So the moral of that story is that if you keep trying and keep fighting hard, you'll come out on top.
Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Kendra:Yes it was a difficult process, I transitioned in a man's penitentiary with over a 1000 men looking over my shoulder at all times. I was literally a woman in a mans penitentiary, it was terrifying. Some of the men in there hasn't seen a woman for decades, so yeah it was a challenging process, but it bettered me and my life.
I finally got to live my truth as authentically as I wanted to be, even if it was terrifying at times, but I really had nothing else to lose, no one from the outside was trying to reach out to me, not my family, not my friends, not my friends from the street that I thought loved and cared about me, nobody, I was truly alone. So I didn't have anything in this world to lose, but everything to gain trying to live as a Transgender Woman.
With her transgender daughter Mya, playing on
snap chat. Kendra made a snap, that said this is a
dog eat dog world, you better get in where you fit in.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Kendra: Caitlyn Jenner because she's a strong and independent woman, that holds her faith close to her heart, even though she's being bashed by the Christian Community and the LGBT community, that's similar to some of my experience. She's a role model to me also because she stands up for what she believes in, even if that means she's standing alone.
Kristin Beck is a role model of mine because being the first openly transgender woman in the Navy Seal shows just how tough she really is, she's the author of the book: Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy Seal's Journey to coming out. Media outlets have speculated that because of her the Department of Defense revisited its policies on transgender people openly serving in the U.S. Military. Because of this, I feel she's walked a tough road, like me, but still came out on top, like me.
And Chelsea Manning because she was prosecuted for doing what she thought was the right thing to do, which was to release the documents to the public because she fault she had a sense of duty to others. She did it in the name of love for her Country She's a transgender woman and a ex- United States Army soldier that released Classified United States documents to a whistle blower. She was arrested on Espionage charges. She was set to be released in 2045, but after an executive order that pardoned her was signed by Obama, she is due to be released in May of 2017. ​
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
Kendra: Yes, Trudy Kitzmiller, Kayla Warner, Mya Williams and Tess de Carlo.
Trudy is my transgender mom, she's helped me through it all and without her I really don't know where I'd be right now, probably dead. We may have our ups and downs, but I know that without her, my life wouldn't be where it is today.
Mya Williams is my daughter, I never got to have kids, she is the closest thing to a real daughter that I have and I love her to death!
I was blessed with Tess De Carlo, truly blessed, fate brought us together to write my book, without her I'm not sure if I would've been able to do it!
Kayla Warner is a good friend of mine, that I love dearly, I asked her to write a little something about me and her relationship, that I could put in this interview, but she had to decline for a great reason because she's having dinner with her mother as her mothers daughter for the first time, which is just beautiful!
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Kendra: Being in a men's prison with 1000's of men looking over my shoulder at all times. Everyone in that prison could see my transition. There was no secrets in that place. Another hard thing about coming out was that it was hard enough coming out as gay, when I was William, so I knew it would be even harder for me to come out as Trans Kendra.
Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBTQ communities. Being the penultimate letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBTQ group?
Kendra: I believe that the LGBTQ community is an inclusive community. We need each other, we need each others support. But we need to realize there's a difference between gender identity and sexual orientation.
Being one of the smallest minority group, we need to stand together to support one another because if we were to brake apart, we'd be an even smaller minority group. Plus the LGBT community is all about inclusiveness and support, so to brake us apart would go against what we stand for.
With Freddie Lutz, owner of Freddies beach
bar, doing her 1st book signing. He supports
her dreams, and believes in her.
Monika: What do you think in general about transgender news stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers or books so far?
Kendra: I can't answer that because I've been in the newspapers, the news, and all over the web. I believe that we need to be visible, in order for people to understand the transgender community and accept it because people fear what they don't know or understand. They fear what they haven't seen in their lives.
We have to stay loud and proud because this is our lives we're talking about, if we don't keep speaking out on our behalf and on the behalf of our entire community, we'd be walked on. There's people that really hate us out there and if we don't speak out against those people and call them out on it, we'll continue to be oppressed and have our rights taken away, until it gets to the point where we no longer have a voice and we're no longer aloud to speak out for what is right and just.
Monika: Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Kendra: I'm apart of the No H8 Campaign, the longing for Eden ministry, and Be human Not Heartless campaign. As far as politics go, I want to be heavily into politics and I think I'd be good at it because I'm compassionate towards people and I want to do something to improve people's lives or their concept in life. I want to speak from the heart and touch people with my words, which is rare to see in politicians.
I believe we do have a future in politics and because of the oppression and hate we experience it'll make us better at being politicians because we'll be able to do things that are truly to help the people and we'll understand what people are going through, so we'll be able to better make decisions on their behalf, that'll truly improve and empower their lives!
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Kendra: Of course I like fashion because I'm a girl. I never wear an outfit more than once. I like to donate my clothes to charity. As far as colors, I like bright colors, I hated them before I started hormones, I used to wear nothing but black and dark colors, hormones have truly brightened my perception.
I like the colors pink, yellow, and purple. Anything bright and beautiful Everything has to be fresh and new, It doesn't have to be expensive though, I can take a $5 shirt and make it look like a Million dollars. It's all in how you wear the clothes that truly matters. You can take just about anything and make it look beautiful and appealing if you poor your heart into.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Kendra: I think transgender people are the most beautiful people in the world. I think the transgender beauty pageants are amazing. Jenna Talackova was wrongfully disqualified from being a Miss Universe Beauty Pageant Contestant, but it just goes to show that not everyone is as accepting of us as others are. She won her court battle to be able to participate in the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant and she was just as amazing as any of those other girls there and just as qualified to be there.
It's gonna take time, some people still haven't seen the light, but I believe eventually we'll have a day where we don't have to battle out our differences in court, just to be allowed to participate in a Beauty Pageant.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Kendra: Love who you want, Love God first, yourself second, and he'll give you all kinds of people to love, that'll love you back. Love is the most important thing in my life right now because I haven't always had love in my life or in my heart.
Especially the love for myself at times. But now I love the woman that holds the door open for me, the waiter that serves my food at a restaurant, the homeless man on the side of the road begging for food, the broken soul, the brokenhearted, and the broken human. I love everyone and everything that God has created for me!
I'm that girl for real. Most people would die if
they had to live in my shoes but I'm redeemed
and now it is time for me to live the next 35 years
in God's heavenly lights that shine upon me daily.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Kendra: I'm working on the edits for my book and the life group, longing for Eden, and my website. I'm also working on turning my book into a movie. I want to set up a life group in my home county of Shenandoah because it really needs all the help it can get right now with the epidemic that's going on there. It's a very beautiful, but small county, so word gets out fast on anything that is happening there.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Kendra: If you're being bullied in school or anywhere for that matter, you need to speak up and tell someone because it'll just keep happening, unless you take action and do something about it. Same goes for the bystanders of bullying, if you see someone being bullied, you need to speak up and tell someone because if you don't take action to stop it, then that person could go home and take their life, when you could've done something to prevent it and I know that would weigh heavily on my soul, so don't let it weigh heavily on yours.
If you feel lonely or depressed and that life isn't worth living, remember your life is worth something to someone and that no matter how bad the circumstances are, things can always change for the best. Speak up, Speak out, Take Action, and Never Forget that you're valued by somebody!!!!
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transsexuals and transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Kendra: I don't agree with that because it's not a requirement for me to be a woman. Having that surgery isn't important to me because it's not gonna make me any more woman than I already am. It's not gonna stop my dreams of being an actress or being able to support the ones that I love. Hormones are good enough for me because I have other dreams that I feel are more important to me than having my birth defect removed.
Monika. Thank you for the interview, Kendra.

More information about Kendra: Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or email her at kendra.brill80@gmail.com

All the photos: courtesy of Kendra Brill.
Done on 27 February 2017
© 2017 - Monika 

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