Tuesday 31 December 2013

Interview with Kara Nicole Hays

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Kara Nicole Hays, an American talented woman, and celebrity, known for her emulation for Britney Spears. Kara comes from a small town in southeastern Ohio. She hit the headlines in 2012 when the media covered her transition, operations, and impersonation of Britney Spears. She is also known for her appearance in The Tyra Show with Isis King and Marci Bowers. Hello Kara!
Kara: Hello Monika! Thank you for reaching out to me to do this Interview. I’m excited to answer what you have in store for me. I’m also honored that you have taken the time to set up this interview to feature me on your site. I greatly appreciate it.
Monika: A year ago the media were full of information about your operations to get the look of Britney Spears. Were you satisfied with the way you were portrayed by the media?
Kara: The media twisted a lot of things around for the sake of a shocking headline. It worked in the sense that it caught people’s attention. I was hoping other people in the media with an above-average IQ would do enough research to see that most of what I said was misconstrued. It was a little disheartening when journalists and television producers would interview me, only to then drop my story when they realized the Britney angle was completely fabricated.

Monday 30 December 2013

Interview with Rosalyne Blumenstein LCSW ACHP-SW

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Rosalyne Blumenstein LCSW ACHP-SW, a woman of many talents, film director, writer, social worker, activist, former director of the Gender Identity Project at the LGBT Center in Manhattan, the author of Branded T. Hello Rosalyne!
Rosalyne: Hello Monika! First I want to thank you for having this website and bringing a variety of voices together to share with others. And second, thank you for asking me to participate. Hopefully, even after my responses to your questions, you will feel the same way☺.
Monika: Having had so many talents and jobs, which profession do you enjoy most?
Rosalyne: The one that pays the rent of course!☺
There have been many phases in my life and within those stages of life and my varied professions. There was enjoyment and struggle within each and every phase. What I can say is that I have learned so much about myself and the world around me within each phase and each profession. I’ve been involved in professions that had a tremendous stigma attached to them at the time I was involved.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Interview with Şevval Kılıç

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Şevval Kılıç, a Turkish LGBT activist, a member of non-governmental organizations such as Istanbul LGBTT Dayanışma Derneği and Trans-Blok, co-organizer of the Istanbul Trans Pride parade. Hello Şevval!
Şevval: Hi Monika!
Monika: You come from a country that is notorious for transphobia crimes, just to mention the murder of Neşe Dilşeker in 2012 and Dora Özer in 2013. Is Turkey not a country for transgender women?
Şevval: I wouldn’t say it that way but at the same time yes, the number of trans hate crimes is rising as never before. However, transphobia is everywhere with different levels, of course, from Japan to the USA, maybe Turkey is more gender-based-hypocritical.
Monika: What are the current issues on the agenda of such organizations as Trans-Blok and Istanbul LGBTT Dayanışma Derneği?
Şevval: I’ve recently resigned from Istanbul LGBT, and now I am working for Trans-Blok. Our first issue is to stop hate crimes against trans people. Our government is still resisting and ignoring the fact that we are living in a different age. It is still ignoring the existence of the LGBT movement, they don’t even articulate the term “LGBT”, because if you do not exist then your human rights do not exist either.
However, all Turkish LGBT organizations are working hard at that moment to gain more power every day and we know we will have our democratic rights eventually.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Interview with Andrea James

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Andrea James, a very prolific American artist, writer, film producer, director, businesswoman, and LGBT rights activist. Hello Andrea!
Andrea: Hi Monika—thanks for interviewing me!
Monika: Having so many talents, which profession do you enjoy most?
Andrea: I enjoy writing educational information because that fulfills my interest in teaching. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a large swath of people can’t be reached through the written word, so I also work in film and television.
Monika: In 2003, together with your business partner and entertainer Calpernia Addams, you co-founded Deep Stealth Productions to provide services to the transgender community. How successful is the company?
Andrea: I feel that our success is best measured by the nice letters and hugs we get from people who have been helped or moved by our work. We were never out to become rich selling specialty videos, and it’s not a big money-maker anyway. We often supplement the income from our work for the trans community through other kinds of production. Calpernia and I do not need a lot to live the lives we want, and that has freed us up to work on projects that are important to us.

Friday 27 December 2013

Interview with Rajée Rajindra Narinesingh

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Rajée Rajindra Narinesingh, an American transgender activist, author of Beyond Face Value, and actress. Hello Rajée! 
Rajée: Hello Monika!
Monika: In your autobiography titled “Beyond Face Value” you share your story of the botched facial surgery and facial injections done by Oneal Morris aka “Duchess”. Was it difficult to write such a book?
Rajée: Beyond Face Value is my 4th book but it was the hardest to write because I wanted to be as authentic to my story as possible. There were things I wrote about that stirred up many different emotions.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Interview with Jenna Fischetti

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Jenna Fischetti, an inspirational woman, transgender advocate and activist, a contributor to The Transadvocate. Jenna is the founder of TransMaryland, an organization serving the Maryland transgender and ally communities by providing services, education, support, and advocacy. She served as facilitator of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland’s (The GLCCB) Gender Identity Groups from 2006 to 2011. Hello Jenna!
Jenna: Hello Monika!
Monika: You are very active in the promotion of transgender equality in Maryland. Could you name some of your successful campaigns or projects in this respect?
Jenna: Let me first thank individuals like Jessica Xavier, Alyson Meiselman, Donna Cartwright, Falina Laron, Cydne’ Kimbrough, Lauren Stokeling, Monica Yorkman, Jean-Michel Brevelle, Frannie O’Grady, Dana Beyer, Laura Hart, Owen Smith, Mara Drummond, Alex Hickcox, Caroline Temmermand, Sharon Brackett, Ezra Towne, J.D. Rosario, Keith Thirion, and so many others who have contributed to the advancement of rights and acceptance of trans Marylanders. I am blessed to have worked with many of them. To name any successes would be to name the community’s successes.

Interview with Kayla Ward

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kayla Ward, a young American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Kayla!
Kayla: Hi, thanks for contacting me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kayla: I am finally happy now that I can be on the outside who I have always been on the inside. I have been living full-time for a little over a year now and have loved every minute of it!
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Kayla: I followed many girls like me for years and was inspired by their journey and wanted to share the same inspiration with others.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Interview with Kayhar

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kayhar, a talented and inspirational singer that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Kayhar!
Kayhar: Hi Monika! Thank you for inviting me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kayhar: Sure thing. My name is KAYHAR, I’m an Artist and Trans Activist.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Kayhar: I always wanted to make one of my own, but I wanted mine to be memorable. I also wanted an opportunity to introduce myself as a singer. Eventually, I came up with the idea to combine both in 1 video.

Friday 20 December 2013

Interview with Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad, a physician, sexologist, and professor of sexology, known as one of Norway's most prominent transpeople. In 2002, her son Even Benestad presented her story in the documentary All About My Father (Alt om min far). In 2007, she participated in the reality TV series Skal vi danse. She was also a political candidate for the Liberal Party, a social liberal political party in Norway. Hello Esther!
Esben Esther: Hello Monica and thanks for including me in your row of interviews! 
Monika: You are the author of several textbooks about transgenderism, including “Kjønn i bevegelse” (2001), Transseksualisme - hvor går vi og hvor står vi? (2002) and Transekjønn og diagnoser (2004), and Sexologi I Praksis (2006). Is it difficult to study and write about the phenomenon that you face yourself in your life?
Esben Esther: An era of therapeutic thinking emphasized the neutrality of the therapist, one should not “over-identify” with the clients. In the wake of this thinking, one came to consider it wrong for homosexually talented people to offer therapy to other homosexuals, and certainly also for the transgifted to offer therapy to their kinds.

Interview with Gina Leigh Duncan

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Gina Leigh Duncan, a successful businesswoman, transgender advocate, and activist, President of Orlando's Gay Chamber of Commerce, a former candidate for Commissioner of Orange County, Florida, a senior manager at Wells Fargo, an American multinational banking and financial services company, and currently on the Board of Directors of Equality Florida. Hello Gina!
Gina: Hello, Monika, so nice to talk to you.
Monika: You are very active in politics. Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Gina: I do. While I think it critically important that we know the issues, have solutions, can be great communicators to motivate our constituents, we also bring an inherent acceptance of being transgender by gaining someone’s vote. We have an extra layer of objection to overcome. We might align with a voter in every area, yet they do not understand transgender people. I felt I just had to work that much harder and be that much sharper on the issues. Once in office, that thinking would continue with me. Work harder, be sharper, never let being transgender be an issue. Let it be an asset. I would want to use my office as a platform to educate people on what it means to be transgender.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Interview with Jennifer Leitham

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Jennifer Leitham, an American musician and double bass player, an inspirational and talented woman, subject of an award-winning documentary "I Stand Corrected"(2012), known for her 2006 album “The Real Me”. Hello Jennifer!
Jennifer: Hi Monika, Thank you for asking me to do this interview. I hope that my English will translate in an accurate manner, it can be an inaccurate language.
Monika: How did you start your musical career?
Jennifer: I didn’t have any musicians in my family, but I always was curious about music when I was growing up. The Beatles were probably my first musical influence. I was also intrigued by the music of Vince Guaraldi from the Peanuts holiday cartoons.
My first formal introduction to music came in high school when I joined the chorus. It revealed an aptitude for music and also was a great lesson in ear training. I sang some solos with the Chorale and that brought the attention of some of the rock musicians in my school.
I had always fooled around on a little toy guitar, playing along with my records, mostly melodies and bass lines. That ability translated to electric bass combined with my incredibly high singing voice made me a valuable band member.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Interview with Janice Covington

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Janice Covington with whom I would like to discuss the role of transgender women in US politics. Janice is an LGBTQ advocate and activist, she is also the first transgender woman to have been elected from North Carolina to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Hello Janice!
Janice: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Janice: I have always loved working with my hands and I have owned my own successful business since 1983 as a building contractor, mostly doing historical and residential renovations.

Interview with Maria Haaning

Monika: Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Maria Rose Löwe Haaning, a Danish young lady setting an example for young transgender women all over the world. She is the youngest Danish transgender girl to undergo an MTF transition. In addition, Maria is the author of "Ham og Mig" (2012) and is known for her participation in many media interviews in Denmark. Hello Maria!
Maria: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Maria: Well, I am still very young so my career is still in progress, but so far I have done numerous TV appearances on Danish television. I am giving lectures across the country about my personal transition story and I have published my own autobiography titled 'Ham og Mig', which in English translates into 'Him and I'. The book tells the story of how I became the youngest Danish person to ever go through a complete MTF transition.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Interview with Rachel Pollack

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Rachel Pollack, an American science fiction author, comic book writer, and Tarot grandmaster. Rachel was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from New York University and Claremont Graduate University. Her interests include the women's spirituality movement and writing. She is known for her novels: Unquenchable Fire (1989), "Godmother Night" (1997), and "Temporary Agency" (1995). Hello Rachel!
Rachel: Hi, Monika! Thanks for doing this.
Monika: In most people's minds, "Tarot card reading" means a woman in flowing robes, leaning over a small table in a candlelit room, foretelling impending doom. How far is it from reality?
Rachel: There are always people who do this sort of theatrical style, and always some who want to scare their clients. But most modern readers are serious about interpreting the cards to benefit people. Much of modern reading is psychological, about character as much as events. And there is a strong spiritual component.

Saturday 14 December 2013

Interview with Bianca Lewis

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Bianca Lewis, a video blogger from South Africa that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Bianca!
Bianca: Hi Monika, and everybody, glad to share my views with you today.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Bianca: Well – I am definitely not defined by transition. Being female has always been a part of me that has experienced amazing journeys. I grew up in Apartheid South Africa, experienced bacterial meningitis with coma, then paralysis in a wheelchair for a year, love, divorce, death of almost all my family, the Middle East, war – and that is just the start of what has made me, well…me.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Interview with True Scarlet

Monika: Today’s interview will be with True Scarlet, an American video blogger from Florida that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello True Scarlet!
True Scarlet: Hello Monika, I’m glad to be here.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
True Scarlet: Well, my name is Arrietta. I am 30 years old, born and raised in Florida, USA. I have worked as a Facility Maintenance supervisor in a drug and alcohol treatment center for the past six years. I enjoy running, hiking, and spending time with my friends. I can be over-focused from time to time and often spend hours lost in whatever I happen to get into at the time; usually games or reading.

Interview with Jenna Arriving1

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Jenna Arriving1, a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Jenna!
Jenna: Hello Monika. Just to say that Jenna is an alias I use online and it’s not my real name.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jenna: Well, I am 38, single, and now living in London UK. I live full-time as a woman and started a medical transition in Oct 2011. I have been living full-time as a woman for one year. I initially transitioned as a teenager at age 16 and continued for 2 years until after my 18th birthday. Sadly I detransitioned due to ill health and other pressures. I restarted my transition at age 36.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Interview with Jessica Tiffany

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Jessica Tiffany, a young video blogger from Canada that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Jessica!
Jessica: Hi Monika! Thanks for interviewing me for your site!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jessica: I’m a 27-year-old transgirl, I started on hormones almost 2 years ago and I’ve been living full-time as a woman for over a year. I’m much happier now than I was before, I love being female.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Jessica: I’d watched a few random transgender video blogs before I decided for sure that I was going to transition. I used to frequent /r/transgender and /r/asktransgender on Reddit quite often and at the time people were posting videos occasionally to show what they looked and sounded like.

Interview with Meggan Sommerville

Monika: Today’s interview is with Meggan Sommerville, an American transgender advocate, and activist, former frame shop manager, writer, a blogger from Oswego, Illinois. Meggan hit the headlines in 2011 when she filed a complaint to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) after she had been denied to use the women's restroom at the workplace. Hello Meggan!
Meggan: Hi Monika. I am honored you chose to pick me to be included in this awesome group of people.
Monika: Your professional experience covers a wide range of jobs: a veterinary technician in the Western suburbs of Chicago, an EMT/Paramedic, EMS Instructor, and a paid on-call firefighter for Bolingbrook, Illinois. Which did you like most?
Meggan: Well, to be perfectly honest, I loved them all. They all had their own ups and downs, but I am very thankful for each one of those jobs. Each job allowed me to better myself, challenge myself, and stretched my abilities, and at the same time, I was able to do something that truly made a difference.

Monday 9 December 2013

Interview with Michelle Hendley

Monika: Today I am meeting Michelle Hendley, an American young actress and video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube, known for her role as Ricky in the film Boy Meets Girl, directed by Eric Schaeffer. Hello Michelle!
Michelle: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Michelle: Hmm, well I am 22 years old, I live in Missouri (USA) and I am a cosmetology student.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube? 
Michelle: When I first started my channel a couple years ago, I really didn’t know what I wanted to say on YouTube. For a while, I just made little updates about my life, and around that time I had my “gender realization.”

Sunday 8 December 2013

Interview with Louise Hannon

Monika: Today’s interview is with Louise Hannon, a transgender advocate, activist, photographer, and former business development manager from Arbour Hill, north Dublin in Ireland. She was the first transgender person in Ireland to take a case against her employer on gender discrimination grounds and win the case in 2011. It was possible thanks to the Irish Employment Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Hello Louise!
Louise: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Louise: I've been asked this kind of question before, but how do you describe yourself? Probably other people would describe me much better. I'm passionate about equality and justice where I see something which I feel is wrong. Be that economically or physically wrong in my eyes. I tend to confront injustice. I was very much the same all my life but it's only in recent times that I have been able financially and in my private life to have had the spare time to do what I do.

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