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.

LITTLE RAJEE. The little girl
was peeking out!

Monika: For a number of years you expressed your creativity through dance, acting, fashion, music, and literature. Which art is your favorite?
Rajée: I would have to say acting on film & TV and writing!
Monika: You played the principal role of Aunt Norma in the show Bella Maddo, the all transgender production, including the famous model Isis King. Could you elaborate more on the project and your cooperation with Isis?
Rajée: Bella Maddo is such a groundbreaking project! It’s truly the first of its kind. With an all-trans cast playing non-trans roles. It was refreshing to me as a trans actress to be able to play something other than the stereotypical transsexual prostitute/drug addict!
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Rajée: I feel that things have gotten better for trans women here in America but there is still a great amount of discrimination we deal with.
Monika: At that time of your transition did you have any transgender role models that you could follow? What was your knowledge about transgenderism?
Rajée: I would see other trans girls out in the gay clubs but I really didn’t have a close trans girlfriend at the time to guide me. I kind of found my own way and then as I came out more I began to connect with other trans girls.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Rajée: Dealing with the negative ways people treated me because of my transgenderism.

Transsexuals are people too!

Monika: What is your view on transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Rajée: Thank God it is getting better. But for the longest trans people were featured as freaks. We were not being taken seriously. It has gotten a lot better now that people and society is more educated about transgenderism but we still have a long way to go.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Rajée: I certainly think women can make a big difference in politics. I actually think if more women were running the world there would not have been as many wars. Lol, I am a lot more involved in an activist capacity.
For example, I have participated in lobbying to get transgender people added to the human rights ordinances in three different cities.
Monika: Is there anyone in the US transgender society whose actions could be compared to what Harvey Milk was doing in the 60s and 70s for gay activism?
Rajée: Off the top of my head I can’t really think of any trans activist that is like Harvey Milk. But I am happy to say that many transgender people are advocating in their own unique ways. We are letting the world know that we are here and that we are relevant. Monika, you are an activist for writing this publication. Many of us are playing an important role in the transgender equality movement.

RAJEE speaking at the Wilton Manors
 Pride Center for the International
Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Rajée: I believe that love is the core of what all of us human beings are. Some people are at a place where they are disconnected from it. But I do feel that love transcends all of eternity. God’s love is actually the most important thing in my life and it is the reason why I have been able to get through many of my hardships.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Rajée: I am definitely a girly girl. I love big hair, lots of make-up, jewelry, and colorful outfits. But I do always look for a sale! Lol
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Rajée: Sometimes pageants can be a little catty. But I think that they are nice. I’ve just never been a pageant girl myself.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Rajée: Well I continue to do activist work for the LGBT community and my public speaking. I am currently working on some new music. I’m also in talks with a few producers about participating in some up-and-coming TV shows.
Monika: Rajée, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Rajée Rajindra Narinesingh.
© 2013 - Monika Kowalska

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