Tuesday 16 July 2013

Interview with Braylen

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Braylen, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Braylen!
Braylen: Hello Monika! Thank you for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Braylen: Sure, a 24-year-old aspiring model, bi-racial background, and just an all-around free-spirited individual. I hope that was enough.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube? 
Braylen: I decided to share my transition on YouTube with hopes that it would shine a little more light on Transgenders and some of what we have to go through on a day-to-day basis. I also feel my videos can help new Transgenders in their development as I have talked about hormones and important topics regarding our health in a few videos.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Braylen: A Lady never reveals her age ;) LOL kidding. I am going on 9 months of my transition.

First time flaunting her new dress.

Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Braylen: Yes! I am very satisfied! Even though I still have more time to go with my hormone therapy, I already see great results!
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Braylen: My childhood was a-mazing! I am blessed with the most accepting family I know so my parents allowed me to express myself in any way I chose to.
I can remember being in the 3rd or 4th grade and my girlfriends and I would play “Sailor Moon” which, if you don’t know what that is, was a very popular-female dominated cartoon series in the ’90s.
I would say that was when I first realized I shouldn’t be a boy. I didn’t want to pretend to be a male superhero. I was always female.
Monika: For most transgender girls, the most traumatic time is the time spent at school, college, or university when they had to face lots of discrimination. Was it the same in your case?
Braylen: It makes me sad to hear that a lot of transgender girls were discriminated against in the one place that we are meant to learn and discover who we are. I commend those girls, it takes strength to go through something like that. Luckily, it was not the case for me though.
I spent my high school years as a “gay boy”. Although I wore my hair long and was always mistaken for a girl, I never identified myself as transgender. I didn’t even know what it was. If I had, I would have loved to spend those years as a girl. Even if I faced discrimination I know I would have been happier knowing who I am!

Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Braylen: I would have to say Andrej Pejic, Lea T, and Isis King baby! These girls are my inspiration, each of them is a popular-well-known model in the fashion world, it is my dream to one day make it in that industry! So they are my role “models”.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Braylen: The hardest thing about coming out? It was the fear of rejection. It was almost crippling. I waited until like 3 months before I came out as Transgender.
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Braylen: “We’re taking over America, deal with it!” ;)
Monika: We are witnessing more and more transgender ladies coming out. Unlike in the previous years, some of them have the status of celebrities or are really well-known, just to mention Lana Wachowski in film-directing, Jenna Talackova in modeling, Kate Bornstein in academic life, Laura Jane Grace in music or Candis Cayne in acting. Do you think we will have more and more such women?
Braylen: Well hell, I thought I’d be the first Braylen to make it as celebrity status as a Transgender Woman. He seriously thought, of course, we will! Transgenders are the only people who have walked this beautiful Earth as both male and as female. We have the knowledge of the ages and a drive of ambition unexpected by society. We got this!

Smile :)

Monika: Do you think that in our lifetime we could live until the day when a transgender lady could become the President of the USA?
Braylen: I know what the appropriate answer should be. “Yes”. Unfortunately, our country is still establishing rather or not same-sex marriage should be legal. Our government wouldn’t know what the F to do if we had a Transgender President.
I will say this though; it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up having a Transgender First Lady! Which, if you know who Michelle Obama is, comes with a lot of authority in itself. No man can rein properly without a good woman by his side. Transgendered or not!
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Braylen: Umm heck yes I love fashion! I don’t go overboard with expensive name brands or anything like that but I like to switch it up.
One day I’m in a nice summer dress, the next I’m rockin’ skinny jeans and a cut-off shirt, usually with a distinct symbol or saying on them.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Braylen: I have mixed feelings about them. I think they are wonderful because like regular pageants these women get to express their individuality and beauty, on the flip side, why does it have to be a pageant just for transgenders? We should be able to compete against the women who are going for let’s say “Miss America” or wherever you live in the world. 
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Braylen: I am not. I love the LGBT community! I have gay friends, lesbian friends, bi friends, and transgender friends but I don’t feel that just because I am Transgender I should actively be a part of the LGBT community.
In fact, we are fighting so hard for equality and to be treated and given the same rights as everyone else yet we are distinctively distinguishing ourselves from everyone. I don’t see LGBT or even Heterosexual, I just see people!


Monika: Do you intend to get married and have a family? Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Braylen: Totally! I would LOVE to get married someday and have a family. I have a maternal instinct that you wouldn’t believe! Love is very important in my life.
When I say “Love” I mean love for and from everyone. Love is what fuels this world and our spirits. It floods us with every emotion in the book and can overwhelm us in the best of ways.
Love is inspiration, it’s beautiful, and when you learn to love everyone for who and what they are, then you can truly live.
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Braylen: “Don’t be afraid”, although I waited until my early 20’s to start my transition if I could go back in time and start earlier. I would!
If going through the transition is something you really want, seize the moment. Fight your fears. Sure, you may face discrimination and hatred, but who cares! Cause guess why? I promise you that once you start living your life the way you truly want to, you’ll find happiness so strong that no one can tear you down!

This is her little family.

Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Braylen: Next step? Hmm...I would have to say just keep making my videos and pursue my career as a model (if anyone can help a sista break into the industry let me know) hah!
In the next 5-7 years this girl will be married! By then I would have lived out my dream as a model or hopefully would still be a model, traveling the world with the people I love and seeing the beauty that this Earth has to offer.
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Braylen: Oh you bet’cha! I am beyond happy now as a woman.
Monika: Braylen, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!

All the photos: courtesy of Braylen.
© 2013 - Monika Kowalska  

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