Monday, 29 July 2013

Interview with Melony VonKruz

Monika: Today I have invited Melony VonKruz, a young American video blogger, showgirl, and beauty pageant queen from Florida. Melony documents her transition on YouTube where she shares the most interesting aspects of her life as a transgender woman. Hello Melony!
Melony: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Melony: Well I'm 24 Years old, I live in the city of Brotherly Love (Philly) and currently I'm a video blogger on YouTube who deals with Trans related Issues.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Melony: I really just wanted to put my stories and experiences out there to share with other people under the Trans* Umbrella but most specifically other Trans Women. I found that there were some things missing in other bloggers' videos that I wanted to cover or cover in a different way than they had.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Melony: I would say I'm about halfway done. Mentally I am pretty much complete in that I feel at peace with my true gender and I have self-respect and love for myself, which I find very important especially in the lives of trans-identified people.
Physically, however, I do not feel like I am finished with my journey I still desire to finish several surgeries such as Facial Feminization surgery, Tracheal Shave, and some Body Contouring. Transitioning is something that is an endless journey emotionally but in my eyes has a finite ending in its physicality.

Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Melony: The results of hormones especially in the case of MtF trans people often do as much to the body compared to the hormones in the case of an FtM. Hormones soften up my skin and features and also help develop breast tissue, but they haven't given me the femininity that I desire for myself in regards to my skeletal structure. This is of course because HRT does not reverse bone growth.
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Melony: I always felt rather feminine my entire life, this includes my earliest memories. I remember wearing my sister's clothes and jumping on the bed, playing with her Barbies, and wishing I was Ariel from the Little Mermaid.
I would say that I knew I wanted to be a girl as early as the age of four or five, as soon as I was able to distinguish the difference. I didn't understand it was possible though until much later (My early twenties) and it was then that I decided to transition.
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?
Melony: I had an especially hard time in middle school and was severely singled out and picked on and by a very specific group of people. being the soft-hearted person I was at that time it had a devastating impact on my self-esteem which would later result in unhealthy behavior in my late teens early twenties.

An editorial shot by her friend and
photographer Tony Lowe.

Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Melony: There are a certain few trans people that I consider role models, certain people that I look up to for certain things. I look up to the girls from Continental and Pageantry such as Candis Cayne, Mimi Marks, Monica Munro, and the late Erica Andrews. These women I look up to for their poise and beauty.
I also look up to the trans people that live their lives just as normal people who have jobs and assimilate back into society. I may not know of these people personally but I know they exist and I admire them for that; all of them--everywhere.
I also admire the people in my life who are trans who have the courage to live their lives as their true gendered selves. They inspire me and give me the courage to go forward and chase my dreams.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Melony: The hardest thing about coming out was watching my family feel as if part of me died as I transitioned. That sadness and that grief. It was hard for me to watch them experience that especially because I in part was directly responsible for it.
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Melony: Currently I think most Americans have a warped and distorted view of transgender women. I feel as if the general consensus is that most trans women are those who have transitioned later in life who had already built lives beforehand and then in the process of transitioning tore them down or caused so much collateral damage to the lives of those around them.
Usually, when I find people discussing trans women, the cis people are under the idea that most trans women are easy to point out and fail to pass in society as women. I find all of this sad and not entirely true. While I do believe there is a large part of the trans community who does transition later in life. I also know from personal experience that there are a lot of younger trans people out there as well. People who transitioned in their twenties or teens or even before puberty entirely negating the effect of secondary sexual characteristics of the gender they are trying to escape.
I also know that there are a lot of trans people who pass just find and blend into society without even pulling a second glance from anyone. I also believe that most Americans feel that trans women cant be beautiful. This is also a falsehood there are many gorgeous trans women out there.
The last view which may, unfortunately, have more of a thread of truth to it than any other viewpoint is that trans women are highly prevalent in the sex industry. Unfortunately, this is a widespread issue and I believe it's because treatments and surgeries that trans women seek are so expensive it's hard for them to afford apart from selling themselves. Jobs are harder to land and maintain when you are trans and this just pushes more trans people into a line of work that should be something chosen out of pure choice rather than desperation.

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?
Melony: Yes, I believe that as our society becomes more and more exposed to trans-related issues and people, that more and more trans people will feel comfortable enough to come out of living stealth lives. I believe more trans women will achieve and strive to do greater things in their communities such as becoming, authors, actresses, models, doctors, and lawyers, etc.
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?
Melony: In our lifetime? No, I doubt that will happen and not for reasons of tolerance per se but more so the reason that politicians usually arrive in the form of the 1% and the probability of someone that could be a politician would also be trans and then get elected president on top of it; You may have better luck taking a quarter to Vegas in hopes of winning millions.

Another picture by Tony Lowe.

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Melony: I love fashion actually! I enjoy sewing my own outfits from time to time. normally I buy my clothes already made though. I strive for very Classic, sophisticated looks that have Victorian, Bohemian, Avant-Garde, and Fantasy-based influences.
I enjoy very feminine silhouettes with tight waists. As far as colors, since I'm extremely fair and red-haired I wear jewel and earth tones, I tend to stay away from things that are overly bright unless it's summer and I tend to stick with blues, greens, and browns.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Melony: I enjoy the pageantry that trans women partake in. I myself partake in them as well and love it! I love everything about them, from the gowns, makeup, and jewelry to the talents and creative expressions. I also think it's a good way to foster a positive uplifting community, which brings girls together.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Melony: Before I moved to Philly from Detroit I was pretty involved with the community. Only very recently have I started to involve myself in this community here in Philadelphia. I perform as a showgirl under the pseudonym Melony VonKruz and have recently started putting myself on the entertainment scene in Philly. As far as activism goes I tend to keep to myself in supporting LGBT issues, by supporting from home by petitions and voting.
Monika: Do you intend to get married and have a family? Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Melony: I actually one day hope to get married and have a family yes. I believe humans are social creatures who survive interaction with each other and this doesn't change when you are trans.
I am currently dating someone in my life very seriously. We love each other very much and have talked about marriage and raising a family together. My partner just so happens to be trans as well, only he is an FtM while I'm an MtF. We even talked about conceiving our own children one day and raising our own biological children.

The most recent picture she took of herself.

Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Melony: My recommendation would be to realize your fear and accept it. You will always face discrimination in your life if not for one then another. The sooner you can take your fears and accept them and then move past them the sooner you will be able to start living your life. Be courageous!
Remember courage isn't the lack of fear but rather the acknowledgment of it and the willpower to move past it. If you have the option of transitioning young then by all means don't wait. Time is a one-way moving force that is unforgiving to people and their bodies and specifically to trans-identified youths. Don't let time rob you of what you can still partake of.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Melony: In the next 5-7 years I will have finished my bachelor's and have hopefully been working in my desired field for a couple years. My goal is to complete my transition by finally getting around to my cosmetic procedures to further feminize my face and body. Hopefully, I will be ready to start my family by that time as well.
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Melony: Yes I am a happy woman. I find that happiness comes from within and no matter what our circumstances are happiness is a perpetual choice we have and certainly a lifestyle I choose for myself.
Monika: Melony, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Melony: Thank you for your time and questions it was a pleasure answering them for you. Peace and Love.

All the photos: courtesy of Melony VonKruz
© 2013 - Monika Kowalska  

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