Monday 25 February 2013

Interview with Abbie Pope

Monika: Today I would like to invite you for my chat with Abbie Kathryn Pope, a transgender lady and the author of the blog titled “Threads of Gender”. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she works in the high-tech industry as a computer engineer. Hello Abbie!
Abbie: Hello to you too!
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Abbie: Well, a lot! I’m moving to Portland, OR from LA in a few weeks. I started a new blog at which is less trans-oriented and more geared towards personal and spiritual growth. And you know, just keeping the wheels turning to survive as a trans woman in America.
Monika: You are a computer engineer. Could you tell me why there are so few ladies that are successful in the IT business?
Abbie: It’s really quite unfortunate. I think there is a ton of cultural bias against genetic women pursuing careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) fields. One of the few silver linings of growing up trans is that there were never barriers to pursuing these fields.

Interview with Suzie St James

Monika: Today we are going to Australia to meet Suzie St James, an Australian business consultant and web designer, transgender icon, and showgirl. Suzie has been a drag cabaret entertainer for over 30 years, impersonating Marilyn Monroe and Jessica Rabbit. She toured all over Australia, and she is known for such shows as “The Midday Show” with Kerri Anne and “Simone and Moniques” Playgirl Review. Hello Suzie!
Suzie: Hi Monika!
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Suzie: Working in hospitality and care.
Monika: How did you start your career as a showgirl?
Suzie: At a young age I saw a showgirl and was captivated and knew it was what I wanted to be.
Monika: What was your career like in the 80s? What was the Australian drag show business at that time in general?
Suzie: I was very young in the ’80s and new to the scene, I was slowly establishing my sexuality and identity. The eighties were a buzz of activity for showgirls in Sydney, Australia. Every venue had so many showgirls and shows you could work seven nights a week and most of us did.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Interview with Lizethe Alvarez Echeverry

Monika: Today we are going to Helsingør in Denmark to meet Lizethe Alvarez Echeverry, a remarkable woman and transgender activist born in Colombia. Lizethe participated in many initiatives targeting the improvement of transgender rights in such countries as Colombia, Spain, Germany, and Denmark. Hello Lizethe!
Lizethe: Hi Monika! Thanks for the invitation!
Monika: You have worked for over 20 years for different organizations that defend human rights in such countries as Colombia, Germany, Spain, and Denmark. Could you say more about these organizations and your work there?
Lizethe: It was a great experience for me, where I learned a lot about human rights in different periods of my life. For example, in Colombia I worked in the field of HIV/AIDS; in Germany, I worked for the rights of transpersons and in Spain, I focused more on labor insertion for immigrant transpersons. Now in Denmark I work for the visibility and human rights of transgendered couples.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Interview with Allison Lenore Annalora

Monika: Today I have invited a special guest. Allison Lenore Annalora is an American cabaret singer and hairstylist. She was born in Alderwood Manor, Washington, as Larry Duane Miller, and then given up for adoption at birth in May of 1955. Alison is working on a biography to be published in 2016. She lives in Arizona. Hello Allison! It is a pleasure to interview such a remarkable woman as yourself.
Allison: Thank you!
Monika: What do you do for a living these days?
Allison: I work full time as a hairstylist in a Spa at a large resort/casino in Rancho Mirage’, California, and sing in a Cabaret Show once a month at a local restaurant.
Monika: Where did you grow up?
Allison: Seattle, Washington.

Interview with Jessica Janiuk

Monika: For today I have invited a special guest. Jessica Janiuk is an American gamer, software engineer, writer, photographer, and transgender activist from the sunny state of California. She is known for her blog on which she shares her transition story. In addition, Jessica is a community organizer with Google's GDG and Women Techmakers programs. Hello Jessica! How lovely of you to agree to be included in my series of “Interviews with Transgender Icons”.
Jessica: Thanks for having me.
Monika: What do you do for a living these days?
Jessica: I’m a web developer for a trailer hitch company based in the state of Wisconsin, in the US of A. It’s a very glamorous job involving multiple computer monitors and pale skin from lack of sunlight.
Monika: Where did you grow up?
Jessica: I grew up in a small suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin called Delafield. It had between 5,000 and 8,000 people while I was growing up. I think it’s larger now though due to urban sprawl.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Interview with Diamond Stylz

Monika: Today I am meeting Diamond Stylz, an American singer, transgender activist, and vlogger. Diamond is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana but she lives in Houston, Texas. She is the Executive Director of Black Trans Women Inc, a national non-profit that is led by Black trans women focused on social advocacy for the transgender community. In addition, Diamond is a producer and creator of Marsha’s Plate podcast. Hello Diamond!
Diamond: Hello Monika, darling. I am so glad to be here.
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Diamond: Well I am loving and living life. In my free time, I'm doing videos for my vlog, shopping, and hanging out with my friends. My day job is retail management for a popular body care line here in America. That job is just to pay the bills.
As far as my music, I am still in a space of creating and getting better. I'm honing my craft by writing more and more in the hopes that I will be able to get some financial support to produce an album of my own original work.
I am building my presence as a transgender woman in the social media arena. There are so few examples of non-sexual role models for transwomen. I want to be one of them.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Interview with Lana Moore

Monika: Today is my lucky day as I have the honor and pleasure of meeting an incredible woman. Lana Moore is a female firefighter, transgender activist, and surely a transgender icon from Ohio. She retired as a captain of the Columbus Division of Fire with 35 years of service. She received many awards and recognitions, participating from 1982 to 2002 on the Division Honor Guard marching and firing squad, being an Honor Guard Commander, and serving 16 years on the Division Awards Committee Review Board. In 2008 she came out as transgender and transitioned on the job. In 2013, Lana joined GLAAD on their national Board of Directors as one of only a few transgender board members. She is the parent of two children.
Lana: I'm not sure that many would consider me an "icon" but I’m flattered just the same, and happy to participate. Thank you very much for thinking of me!
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Lana: Just trying to live my life, most of the turbulence from transition has subsided, the dust is finally settling, and things seem to have returned to “normal.” Running a fire station and a household takes quite a bit of mental and physical energy.
I’m not quite as active in the trans community, however, my daughter, who is a psychology major, is working with me on a workshop presentation for the TransOhio Symposium coming up in April. We want to share our story of transitioning together as a family.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Interview with Carla Lewis

Monika: Today I am meeting Carla Lewis, a transgender woman and activist, software engineer, mother of two, and US army veteran. She lives in east Tennessee with her lovely partner, Jaime. Hello Carla! It is a sheer pleasure to interview you. Welcome to The Heroines of My Life!
Carla: Truthfully, I’m honored that anyone would care to know about me.
Monika: Honest as usual! What are you doing these days?
Carla: The only recent significant change in my life was a closed head injury as a result of a rear-end collision in December of last 2011. I’m plagued with constant migraine-like head pain that makes it difficult to do some of the things I normally take for granted. That aside, I’m part owner of a small computer service company. That keeps me busy during business hours.
When I’m not at work, I enjoy the hell out of science fiction and fantasy movies, hero comics, and a newfound love of sewing and cosplay. The highlight of every year is now our annual trip to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia where I get to dress up as my favorite superheroine, Power Girl, and Jaime gets to be whichever hero I feel like creating for her.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Interview with Danielle Bergan

Monika: Today I am going to take you to the Hawaiian islands where my guest lives and works. Danielle Bergan is an author, transgender advocate, and speaker. In 2012 she published her book “It's Always Okay To Be Me: A Journey to Recovering Lost Hope”, which became the catalyst for her passionate transgender advocate's platform. Hello Danielle!
Danielle: Aloha Monika! I hope you are well.
Monika: What are you doing for a living these days?
Danielle: Well, as a writer, we do whatever we can, you know, “the starving artist.” I am still writing and trying my hand at working for New York Life. They have helped so many people over the past few centuries I was attracted to their ethics. I’m also working in a small restaurant as a cashier. Both jobs involve helping people; which is exactly why I wrote my book.
Monika: Why did you decide to write an autobiographical book?
Danielle: I wanted to share my story with the world for a few reasons, but mainly to help others. My story is not just for the transsexual who still suffers but for anyone who is living a life addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Monday 11 February 2013

Interview with Gina Grahame

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Gina Grahame, an American businesswoman, and writer from San Francisco, California. Gina is also a motivational speaker, coach, and creator of how to ‘be authentacious’, educating and people on personal authenticity, overcoming adversity, transgender, and LGBTQ issues. Hello Gina!
Gina: Hello Monika! 
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Gina: I’m a Global Sales Manager for a worldwide media company, specializing in the videogame industry.
Monika: You are involved in one project titled The Association of Transgender Professionals. How is it progressing?
Gina: It’s progressing well though my involvement is actually quite minimal. The group was in need of a corporate identity so I established an online contest whereby interested persons could enter their logo designs and association members would choose a winner. To stay true to the association’s core principle of financial equality, I initiated a cash prize for the winner. The charting of the group's course is in the very capable hands of others.

Interview with Fiona Solis

Monika: Today I am going to chat with Fiona Solis, a model, and businesswoman from the Philippines. Hello Fiona!
Fiona: Hi Monika!
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Fiona: As for now I am preparing for the upcoming commercial, photoshoot, and beauty pageant.
Monika: You are a successful model. Could you say a few words about your modeling? 
Fiona: Thank you for that. I am really having fun right now as a model. I am grateful for the things that are happening right now.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Interview with Maria Roman

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Maria Roman, a model, actress, show business celebrity, social activist, and transgender icon. I must say you are my idol, Maria!
Maria: Thank you Monika for giving me this opportunity to share a bit about myself. I think it is so beautiful when we can share love and admiration for one another. I am so flattered that you even would say I am your idol. That is a beautiful thing!
Monika: When I look at you, you always radiate with a natural smile and innate kindness? How do you do it?
Maria: Well, life has challenged me in so many ways. I have dealt with homelessness, discrimination and at moments in my life, I have felt hopeless. However, even in those challenging moments in my journey, I always remembered the people that made an impact in my life and to me those that were kind and loving human beings that offered me love without any expectation in return.
I try to live as honestly as it is possible for any human being, and I firmly believe that we are here to love one another, so every chance I get to smile at another human being is an opportunity to share some love with them.
We are so blessed to be given an opportunity in life to be who we want and follow our dreams and that is defiantly something to smile about.

Monday 4 February 2013

Interview with Penny Clifford

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Penny Clifford, an Australian icon, showgirl, journalist, actress, and dancer. Hello Penny!
Penny: Good’ay Monika!
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Penny: I am still performing and I am also into Entertainment and PR Management. 
Monika: The perception of Australian transsexual and transgender ladies is often shaped by the movie “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. How far was the movie from reality?
Penny: The Movie was fun and was written by people that actually hung around the Sydney drag scene in the early '80s, where they took ideas from drags and transsexuals and created their script. Many of the jokes and characters were based on real life. I was in a show that did travel to the exact casino that the Priscilla Bus & Girls traveled to and the show I was in performed at that casino for a 6-week period. So some of that was definitely based on us, although we flew to get there and there were definitely no pink buses!

Sunday 3 February 2013

Interview with Lisa Du Preez

Monika: Today I would like to present to you Lisa Du Preez, a stunning model and successful businesswoman from South Africa. Hello Lisa!
Lisa: Hello Monika, lovely to meet you.
Monika: How did you start modeling?
Lisa: I met a photographer in London and he asked if I will do a photo shoot with him, so I thought as I know him I will give it a try, he was so impressed with my pictures that he passed it to a well-known photographer and he did a shoot with me, and this is how it all started.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Interview with Kirsty Scarlet Cass

Monika: Today I would like you to meet Kirsty Scarlet Cass, a lovely lady from West Sussex in England. Her gender dysphoria was covered by the British media in 2010, following her suicide attempt. Hello Kirsty! It is my sheer pleasure to welcome you to “The Heroines of My Life”!
Kirsty: Thank you It is a pleasure to be interviewed by you.
Monika: How are you doing these days?
Kirsty: I have never felt better, thank you. Now I’m living my life how it should be.
Monika: Where did you grow up?
Kirsty: I was born in Crawley, West Sussex in England, and I have been here ever since.
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Kirsty: I had a happy childhood but from a very early age I preferred the company of females rather than boys, and as I got older I knew that I was different but did not know why.

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