Friday 16 August 2013

Interview with Azora Alexander

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Azora Alexander, a young American video blogger from North Carolina that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Azora!
Azora: Hello Monika! It is such an honor to be here.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Azora: Well I’m 25 years old, and I live in a small town in North Carolina.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Azora: I actually started making videos about 3 years ago. they started as just makeup videos and over time I would talk about various personal things, and so when I decided to make my transition I felt that vlogging about it would not only be therapeutic but also maybe my experiences both good and bad could help let others know that they are not alone.

Experimenting with new hair.

Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Azora: I am actually at the beginning stages. I’ve not started my HRT yet but am currently seeing a therapist so that I can start on them as soon as possible.
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Azora: My childhood wasn’t a bad one. As early as I can remember I’ve always felt different. But being a child I of course didn’t know what gay or transgender was, but I could always relate more to females, and as a child all of my role models were women. As I got older and got access to more information it became clear to me who I was and what I needed to do to fix it.
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?
Azora: No. To be honest, I was rather blessed in the fact that I was very flamboyant in school, but no one ever really teased or taunted me. But on the flip side I never really was able to enjoy things in schools like parties and prom and trying out for school plays because I wasn’t ready to come out and be myself at that time.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Azora: Yes. It might sound cliché, but the women I look up to are everyday women who are still in transition, but further along than I am. Reading blogs watching videos on YouTube and Tumblr have inspired me more than anything.

Screenshot from the video "Cry to me".

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Azora: The hardest thing about coming out was telling my family. They all seem genuinely OK with it, but I know deep down there is some trepidation about my transition. I try not to let it, but it sort of makes me uncomfortable to be around them, because I don’t know what they are thinking.
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Azora: I think that overall we still have a long way to go, but we have made some tremendous progress as far as we have transgender beauty pageants, transgender actresses and actors, transgender politicians, etc. 
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?
Azora: Oh absolutely! Just the other day while browsing YouTube, I found a couple of videos by two different trans women. One of which was saying she had been cast in a part in an all-trans cast of a TV show in Canada, and another who works in animation and she had worked on a show that comes on Fox.

Screenshot from the video "Cry to me".

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?
Azora: Honestly no. I’m not saying it won’t happen I just don’t see it. The way I look at it is, it took 232 years to get a black president, and he is mixed.
This country has become a lot more tolerant of a lot of things, but I don’t think that in the next 60 years or so, the majority of this population will be ready for an MtF president. Unfortunately, We still have a lot of ignorant paranoia to overcome.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Azora: I love fashion. Personally, I prefer a mix of different styles. In everyday wear, I like jeans, a tank top, and a cardigan. Or a nice top with dolman sleeves. Something stylish but comfortable. For going out or parties and such I like classic silhouettes. Little black dress or something with clean lines.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Azora: I think they are lovely. If I thought I was pretty enough, I might even consider entering one someday.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Azora: At the moment I am not. I live in the country and it’s about an hour’s drive to the nearest city that has any LGBT organizations and right now it’s just too much of a drive right now.

Working on her makeup skills.

Monika: Do you intend to get married and have a family? Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Azora: one day if I find the right guy and things work out absolutely. But right now I’m being kind of selfish, and only thinking of myself haha.
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Azora: being at that stage myself, I would say that you have to stay focused and be aware of your surroundings. Surround yourself with supportive people even if it is just online, and be safe. Don’t worry about people calling you names and such foolishness, because they are going to do that regardless.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Azora: My next step is to start my hormones. In the next five to seven years I hope to be living in a different city and making progress in the field of social work.
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Azora: Yes I can. Of course, I’m just starting on this journey, so I believe that there is much more happiness and peace to be found as I grow older, but I am content where I am right now.
Monika: Azora, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!

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

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