Friday 28 February 2014

Interview with Donna Rose

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Donna Rose with whom I would like to discuss the role of transgender women in US politics, culture, and society. Donna is an athlete, a writer and educator, and a well-known LGBT advocate and activist. Her 2003 memoir “Wrapped in Blue” continues to educate and inspire. She is the former Executive Director of the LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central Pennsylvania, and a board member for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Hello Donna!
Donna: Hi Monika. I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you today.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Donna: I’m not sure what career you’re asking about. In my “real” career I’m an IT consultant and have been working with Fortune 500 and DoD clients for the better part of the last 35 years. That’s my “career” – it pays my bills, it’s my profession, it’s where I spend half of my time.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Interview with Dana Zircher

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Dana Zircher, an American software design engineer, and actress. Hello Dana!
Dana: Hi Monika, first and foremost I’d like to thank you for asking me to participate in this interview. I’m really impressed with the collection of interviews and information that you’ve accumulated for your website. I think it’s a great asset to our community. Thank you so much for pulling it together. It must be a labor of love!
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Dana: I’ve been really fortunate with my professional career, I was always a bit of a techy nerd and decided to pursue a career in electronics. The software was more or less a natural fit and I have been writing software professionally for about 20 years.
I’ve had the pleasure of working on products like Lotus Notes, Groove Workspace, Microsoft Office, SharePoint, and even Windows. It’s been a wonderfully challenging and rewarding career so far and I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from so many brilliant industry leaders.
I also love performing, it offers me rewards that are hard to quantify with words. When I was younger, I played different instruments with several local bands, studied music theory in college, and was even fortunate enough to work with some regional roads acts for a short while.
It was always important to me to keep my love of performance as much a part of my day-to-day as possible, that’s not always so simple when you’re working on enterprise software products.

Monday 24 February 2014

Interview with Amber Taylor

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Amber Taylor, a charismatic leader, lead singer/guitarist and current business manager of the Atlanta-based band The Sexual Side Effects. Hello Amber!
Amber: Howdy!
Monika: The Sexual Side Effects is quite a unique name for the band. When asked about the origin on the name, you said that you were the sexual side effect. What did you mean?
Amber: Sex, in the context of gender is what I meant. I put a twist in the gender department. The band - which I am the primary writer and sole member through the years - has gone through many players and names as time has gone by.
It started as The Amber Taylor Band, then Amber Taylor and the Trashy Trio and eventually morphed into Amber Taylor and the Sexual Side Effects. Over the last couple of years it became simply “The Sexual Side Effects”.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Interview with Virginia Stephenson

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Virginia Stephenson, an American transgender activist, pastor, writer, spiritual practitioner, Director of the Transgender Spiritual Council, co-author of “Can Christians Be Saved: A Mystical Path to Oneness” and "Your Heart Is My Home". Hello Virginia!
Virginia: Thank you Monika, it is a pleasure to talk with you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Virginia: yes, I spend most of my time trying to build bridges of understanding, love and trust between people. We have all grown up in a culture which supports the “us and them” mentality, which builds walls between people and groups. I have found spiritual ways that we can connect with each other that will enrich our own lives and those around us.
I do this through writing: my second book is being published this year, and through leading a heart circle in the Oneness community weekly, and through participating in organizations like the trans-Spirit Council The Council seeks to support trans groups around the nation, specifically transgender youth.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Interview with Shawna Virago

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Shawna Virago, an American singer/songwriter, writer, and Artistic Director of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. She was one of the first American openly transgender women to perform and tour nationally, and performing as an out transwoman from the early 1990’s. Her song “Objectified,” was recognized as one of the nation’s top Transgender Anthems whereas her last full-length album ‘Heaven Sent Delinquent’ was featured in many national publications and year-end best-of lists. Her work appears in Gender Outlaws: Next Generation and in the anthologies Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love and Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary, Take Me There, and Transnational Queer Underground.Hello Shawna!
Shawna: Hello Monika. Thank’s for interviewin’ me.
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be an artist?
Shawna: I’ve wanted to be a songwriter and musician for as long as I can remember, since I was very young. Music for me has always been magic and I’ve been drawn to it my entire life.
Monika: Your 2012 debut album “Objectified” was a tribute to the power of women and their fight with the patriarchal system. Are you a feminist?
Shawna: I believe we need to raise our voices for the rights of women, including of course transgender women. The second you transition you are experiencing female socialization and all the discrimination that goes along with it. I used to love reading ‘Transisters: The Journal Transgender Feminism”. I especially looked forward to reading the letters section, which were full of fantastic bickering.

Friday 21 February 2014

Interview with Morgan M Page

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Morgan M Page, a Canadian transfeminist activist, artist, film director, writer, founder and curator of Trans Women’s Arts Toronto, and recipient multiple awards, including two SF MOTHA awards and the LGBT Youthline’s Outstanding Contribution to Community Empowerment Award. Her performance and video art has shown in galleries and festivals around the world, including NEMAF New Media Arts Festival (Seoul, South Korea, 2013) and the Adelaide Street Gallery (Melbourne, Australia, 2014). Hello Morgan!
Morgan: Hey there.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Morgan: Sure, I’m a performance + video artist, activist, writer, and Santera in Toronto. I’ve been an activist for sex workers’ rights for about eight years now. I travel throughout Canada and the United States, lecturing and performing, and my video art has been screened in Canada, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
Monika: You describe yourself as a transfeminist. What does transfeminism espouse? 
Morgan: To me, transfeminism is a political movement around the equitable treatment of all people. And it means looking at things intersectionally – that people receive both privilege and oppression on multiple fronts, such as race, class, and gender, and that these issues need to be addressed.
I think for me transfeminism centres the experiences of trans people, particularly trans women. So, issues that affect us, such as access to health care, the criminalization of sex work and HIV non-disclosure, racism, treatment of prisoners, and immigration policy are at the forefront of all discussions.

Monday 17 February 2014

Interview with Nicole TS

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Nicole TS, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Nicole!
Nicole: Hi Monika! Thank you for inviting me for this interview.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Nicole: I moved from the Philippines to the UK in 2010. I was a registered nurse in the Philippines and I am currently looking for a placement to give me a PIN to practice in the UK.
In my spare time, I am an avid badminton player and currently playing for my county, Dorset. I am the second transsexual person to have ever been allowed to compete as a woman by the governing body in England.

Sunday 16 February 2014

Interview with Taylore

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Taylore (aka moonfire1777), a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Taylore!
Taylore: Hello Monika! It’s a pleasure to take part in this interview.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Taylore: Well, I’m 26 years old, and in addition to being an active Video Vlogger, I am a graduate student. I’m currently pursing a Master of Arts in Teaching degree (M.A.T.) through a Transition to Teaching program at my university.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with minors in Mathematics and Language Arts, and my ultimate career aspiration is to teach mathematics at the high school level.
I have been transitioning since the summer of 2008, and I underwent Sexual Reassignment Surgery in 2009.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Interview with Jacquie Grant MNZM

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Jacquie Grant MNZM, a proud naturalized New Zealander of many talents, Sex Worker, Merchant Sailor, Drag Club owner, Restaurateur, Dairy Farmer, Small Zoo owner, District Councilor, Foster Mother, Sock Knitting Machine Museum owner and businesswoman. Hello Jacquie!
Hello Monika! Nice to hear from you and to read some of the stories of our sisters from around the world.
Monika: Your story could be a perfect movie scenario. In 1964 you had to run away to New Zealand to avoid imprisonment for dressing as female…
Jacquie: Yes, I along with some friends left the country of our birth Australia to escape the oppressive political regime that would see Trans and Gay people outside of the legal system and would go out of its way to harass and victimize people who by birth were different.
In post war Australia, it was illegal for a “male” person to dress as the opposite sex except in some strictly controlled circumstances, for example on private property or performers in clubs who change after performances.
The only option for those of us with little talent as performers and who felt the compelling need to express who we were had to fall back on street work something that was dangerous for those of us who came out so early for me. It was 1958 and I was 14 years old suffered from what is now known as ADHD.
After being imprisoned several times as I said a group of us came to New Zealand where the law was far kinder to Trans people which gave us the freedom we craved.

Friday 14 February 2014

Interview with Kelly Summers

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kelly Summers, an American video blogger from Alaska that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Kelly!
Kelly: Hello Monika.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kelly: I am a 51 year old male to female transsexual who transitioned to full time three years ago. I used to live in California, but now live with my wife in Alaska. We married in Seattle 01-19-2013 as Alaska is not a same sex marriage approved state.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Kelly: I wanted to share my story to show that it is not to late to transition later in life, and hopefully inspire that last bit confidence needed by so many on the edge of transition.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Interview with Jade Porchett

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Jade Porchett, a video blogger and pageant queen that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Jade!
Jade: Hi Monika! Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share my story and thoughts with the world!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jade: I am a pre op transsexual woman currently working as a Showgirl and Visual Merchandiser for Hallmark and Proactiv! I reside in Jonesboro, AR with my two kitties and best friend! I am also a pageant competitor and thriving YouTube blogger as well!
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Jade: Being a motivation and inspiration to others is very important to me! I felt by documenting my transition, that it would not only help out those individuals struggling with coming to terms with themselves, but it would also better educate those that aren’t familiar with transsexuals, their struggles, and their complete stories! I knew by doing so that I would be able to touch and inspire someone!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Interview with Eden Lane

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Eden Lane, a television journalist and producer, homemaker, wife, and mother, the only American broadcast journalist that is known to be transgender, 2011 Denver Post Ovation Award Winner, the host of Colorado Public Television's "In Focus with Eden Lane," a weekly interview program about arts and culture. Hello Eden!
Eden: Hello Monika!
Monika: You are an incredibly hard-working woman. You are a wife, mother, housewife, television journalist, and producer. How do you cope with so many obligations?
Eden: For me, it’s impossible to take it all in at once. The old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”, is a great reminder. My electronic devices can help me stay on track for deadlines and family events, but I also have learned that I can’t excel in all areas at the same time; at least not without the support of my family.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Interview with ParquitaBonita

Monika: Today’s interview will be with ParquitaBonita, a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello ParquitaBonita!
ParquitaBonita: Hi Monika! Thank you for taking the time to interview with me! I'm honored.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
ParquitaBonita: My first name is Parkersatinka, but most know me as ParquitaBonita on YouTube. I am 23 years old and an avid blogger and music enthusiast.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
ParquitaBonita: I decided to help those who had the same questions I did. I was fortunate enough to talk to a lot of doctors, dermatologists and mental health specialists so I got wonderful and useful information for women going through the same transition as I am.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
ParquitaBonita: I have been out for a little over two years and have been going through HRT for one year and seven months.

Monday 10 February 2014

Interview with TreasureThaDiva

Monika: Today’s interview will be with TreasureThaDiva, a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello TreasureThaDiva!
TreasureThaDiva: Hi Monika! I’m so thrilled to be apart of your amazing blog!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
TreasureThaDiva: I am a 21 year old Transgender YouTuber, model, drag performer, and all around Diva! Haha
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
TreasureThaDiva: I decided to share my transition and life on YouTube mainly for educational purposes. There are a lot of people who still are very clueless about transgender people and issues, so I really wanted to share my own unique story with the world.
I would say two of my main audiences I’ve been trying to reach is young Transpeople who are just starting out in their transition, so they know they’re not alone and Trans attracted men. I think it’s important that men who are interested in Transwomen are educated on Trans subjects, and don’t see us as simply sexual objects. I often get messages from men telling me they feel more comfortable about their attraction to Transwomen because of my videos, and that always means a lot to me.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Interview with Isley Reust

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Isley Reust, a young American video blogger from California that documents her transition on YouTube. Isley is a traveler and adventurer, picture taker, video maker and producer, and social media celebrity. She is known for her participation in the True Trans with Laura Jane Grace doc-series and her Spectacular Spectacular band. Hello Isley!
Isley: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Isley: I'm German, I play guitar in a new band called Spectacular Spectacular. We have almost finished recording our debut record. I do photography on the side and I'm also a active video blogger.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Isley: I wanted to help and inspire others and let them know it's okay to be yourself and that once you do take that step you'll be that much happier and you'll love yourself for who you really are. I'm not going to say it's an easy road but it's definitely worth the struggle in the end.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Interview with Rose Venkatesan

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Rose Venkatesan, an Indian talk show host and celebrity, filmmaker, politician, and transgender activist. She was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Rose made her television debut in the talk show Ippadikku Rose (Yours truly, Rose) and continued her TV career in the show Idhu Rose Neram (This is Rose Time). In 2011, she became a Radio Jockey at BIG FM 92.7. Hello Rose!
Rose: Hello Monika!
Monika: Rose, having so many talents, which fields you are most interested in: talk show hosting, radio, film making, politics, transgender activism, or maybe something different?
Rose: I prefer filmmaking to everything else, as it gives me the opportunity and almost total freedom to say what I want to say, to bring out that women/transwomen’s perspective to the Indian movie, which is largely a patriarchal, male-centered, male-glorifying, gay-ridiculing, trans-ridiculing, female-abusive item of entertainment.
I have tried my hands at TV, radio, and politics, all of which force you to work under or for a male owner/controller, who himself has many of the same prejudices that I wish to fight/expose/expel. The entertainment industry/politics in India is highly sexploitative of women and any transwomen that might want to make it up the ladder.

Friday 7 February 2014

Interview with Kerri Cecil

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kerri Cecil, a young American film director, student at Los Angeles City College in Hollywood, and transgender activist. Kerri was born in Southern California but raised in rural Minnesota in a conservative Christian household. She is known for her debut movie titled "The Journey" (2013). Hello Kerri!
Kerri: Hello Monika! Thank you for inviting me to do this interview. It is an honour to be included on your website with such inspirational transgender women.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kerri: Well I am a transgender filmmaker making films that empower, educate, enlighten as well as entertain. I see the beauty and power in all transfolks and work with incredibly talented transgender people to not only shed light on the darkness many of us suffer in but to bring to the world a sense of who we are and where we are going in life.
Monika: Which film directors or movies are your inspirations?
Kerri: I am a huge fan of Lana Wachowski’s work. Would love to one day make a Transgender Super Hero film using her film techniques. I personally loved Harmony Santana in ‘Gun Hill Road’ and love Laverne Cox in ‘Orange Is The New Black.’

Thursday 6 February 2014

Interview with Debra Soshoux

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Debra Soshoux, an American transgender advocate and activist, known for “Beautiful Daughters,” the documentary that chronicled the first all-transsexual production of “The Vagina Monologues”, and LOGO’s “TransAmerican Love Story”. Hello Debra!
Debra: Hi Monika! Thanks for inviting me to your webpage.
Monika: In 2004 you appeared in the 2004 V-Day production of “The Vagina Monologues”, featuring an all transwomen cast, including: Lynn Conway, Andrea James, Christine Beatty, Verba Deo, Calpernia Addams, Leslie Townsend, Valerie Spencer and Asia Vitale. How did you find out about the project?
Debra: By chance, on the Internet. I was instantly excited when I read about it but I’m not a trained actor, I had terrible stage fright (still do) and after laser voice surgery my voice was very weak and uneven so I never thought to be in the cast. I knew I wanted to be part of it and it was in LA! Then my friend Christine auditioned so I did too and voilà! I got an absolutely plum role as the old lady.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Interview with Hannah Warg

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Hannah Warg, a Swedish transgender vlogger and adult actress, known for her YouTube vlog called “Ask a Transsexual”. Hello Hanna!
Hanna: Hello Monika!
Monika: On 8 July 2010 you recorded your first episode of “Ask a Transsexual” YouTube vlog series. Since then you have had 195 videos, 5,868,923 views, and 15,340 subscribers (as of 5 January 2014). This is a fantastic result …
Hanna: I wasn't really aware I had so many subscribers and views, but yes, that is amazing and I'm very happy people enjoy what I do! 
Monika: Who is the average inquirer?
Hanna: I put them in two categories, males attracted to transsexuals, usually asking questions of sexual nature and the other category is of other transgendered people, who want help in one way or another. Usually to help make up their mind, or how to get practical help on how to transition.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Interview with Michelle Enfield

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Michelle Enfield, a Navajo transgender activist and advocate, HIV counselor, and the winner of the 2012 Alexis Rivera Trailblazer Award. Originally from Lukachukai, Arizona, she lives in Los Angeles, California. She has first-hand experience working with homeless youth, and specifically with the Native American population providing HIV education and support. Michelle is a member of the Transgender Service Provider Network (TSPN) and co-chair of the Underrepresented Cultural Communities with the LA Department of Mental Health. Hello Michelle!
Michelle: Hello Monika. Thank you for your time and effort to connect with the many transgender advocates and activists throughout the world.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Michelle: I’ve been in the HIV field, professionally, for over five years, although I’ve been involved in HIV for many more. I was introduced to HIV/AIDS via a story in Reader’s Digest when I was a freshman in high school. At the time, I had a boyfriend whom I was intimate with. After the first time, we had sexual relations, I read the article and got scared of sex. I learned some information on HIV/AIDS through magazines but they didn’t make me an expert, by any means.
Later on, after high school, while still living on the Navajo Reservation, there were a couple of people I knew, close to me, that died from complications of AIDS—but it wasn’t talked about. My friends and I were told by our departed friends’ family that they died of walking pneumonia. Of, course, there was more to those stories, but no one insisted on getting more than the half-truth that was told.

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