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.
Monika: You have two incredible videos on YouTube. The first one with “Fix You”, a Coldplay cover, was viewed by over 330 thousand viewers! Amazing!
Kayhar: Thank you! I’m aware of how fortunate I am to have had my story reach so many people. I hope that every other transition video out there receives the same amount of support as mine.
Monika: In the second video called “Battlefield” you perform a duet with your pre-transition self. I have never seen anything like this before!
Kayhar: The idea for that video was also conceived with the concept of ‘memorable’ in mind. Luckily I found an old video of myself pre-transition covering “Battlefield”. Clearly, the end result was a bit pitchy. However, the message came across quite well in my opinion. Transwomen are a force to be reckoned with.

Monika: Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
Kayhar: Yes! I’m happy to announce that I will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to help me fund the production and release of my first EP. I’ve written an original song specifically for this campaign. I’m working on releasing a live performance (video) of that song with a band composed of Transwomen on the date of the Kickstarter campaign launch.
Monika: We can boast a considerable number of talented transgender singers such as Justin Vivian Bond, Amanda Lear, Namoli Brennet, Canary Conn, Marie France, Dana International, Mina Caputo, Diamond Stylz, Laura Jane Grace, and many more. However, none of them has reached the music top lists. Do we have a chance to witness this with you?
Kayhar: I certainly hope so. Mainstream America is craving something completely original. Our iPhones and music charts are chock full of pop stars whose careers are designed and built by LGBT people.
However, very few LGBT people have made it to the top. Why is that? Why are we good enough to create art and trends, but never good enough to be the poster child for what WE create? This is true for Transgender Women specifically.
We’re often mistaken for undesirable creatures with nothing much to offer other than a chuckle at our own expense, or a cheap discrete thrill (for most of our admirers). With the recent rise of Talented, Intellectual Transgender women in the media, THIS WILL CHANGE.
Monika: At the time of your transition did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Kayhar: My life-long friend (and transgender model) Giana Caceres served as my closest role model. She supported me when no one was even aware of my Gender Identity Disorder. With her help, I was able to begin my transition.
Had I not experienced her journey to serve as a blueprint, I may have probably given in to my deep depression. Dina Marie Delicious also played an important part as a role model for me. I’m very grateful to have had these women to look up to. 
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Kayhar: Accepting MYSELF as a Transwoman was probably the most difficult part. Coming to terms with my own gender wasn’t something I expected I’d have to do. I knew that other people would have an issue with it, but I wasn’t aware that I too would dislike the rituals of HRT, cosmetic procedures, announcements, and clarifications of my gender, dating, employment, etc.
It’s all so exhausting. After about a year of the same routines, you reach a point where it no longer matters anymore. You learn not to care if you aren’t understood, as long as it doesn’t interfere with who you are.

"Accepting MYSELF as a Transwoman was
probably the most difficult part."

Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Kayhar: I’d like to see more Transwomen run for office. We lack sufficient representation of Transwomen in politics, as well as on the boards of LGBT-related organizations. As a result, we’re often cut out of legislation that supports the equal treatment of LGBT people. It’s important for us (trans people) to monitor & lead these organizations so that equality is secured for ALL LGBT people and not just some.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Kayhar: Before my transition, I spent years as a Clubkid in the NYC Nightlife scene. I consistently wore many of my own original pieces. Fashion is a big part of my life, and I think you’ll see that in my upcoming projects.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Kayhar: I try as much as I can to be a part of events in my local community.
Monika: Do you intend to get married and have a family? Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Kayhar: I will someday have children of my own. That is a fact. Preferably, I’ll have a husband, a house, a white picket fence, and a family dog, too. All jokes aside, I do dream of that day, though at the moment my primary focus is my art.
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Kayhar: I’d quote the famous Nike slogan, “Just Do It”. Most of the things holding you back are in your own head, The rest can be fixed, or replaced. Discrimination and Hatred have yet to be defeated but we are working on it. Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Kayhar: My next step is my first EP. My long-term goal is to be the first Transwoman to obtain recognition as an artist in form of Grammy nominations and my childhood dream of performing live on SNL.
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Kayhar: Absolutely.
Monika: Kayhar, it was a pleasure to interview you. I hope that “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones” but do not let anyone fix you! You are great!
Kayhar: Thank you again, Monika. The pleasure was all mine.

All the photos: Courtesy of Kayhar.
© 2013 - Monika Kowalska

Search This Blog