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.
Monika: You answer many questions about the transition, hormones, operations, sex but what has been the strangest question that you have ever answered?
Hanna: Oh, I don't know if there was any single question that was really odd. Sometimes people have weird misconceptions about what transsexualism is or how hormones work.

In a casual dress.

I was once asked if there was a way you can keep the testicles inside the vagina after surgery, and I had to explain that they would be useless since they need to be outside of the body in a lower temperature, which is the very reason they drop down into the scrotum in the first place.
Monika: At that time of your transition did you have any transgender role models from Sweden or anywhere that you could follow?
Hanna: No, not really. Which was one of the reasons I found myself participating in a documentary on Swedish television, as well as writing in national newspapers about the former sterilization laws, requiring transsexuals to be sterilized in order to change our legal gender. I wanted people to have a face related to the concept of transsexualism, to learn that we are just as most people are, in most ways. And I received a lot of positive comments on my participation.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in Swedish society?
Hanna: From a societal point of view, we are probably better of than transgendered people in most of the world. We have protection from discrimination by law, although we are still the most harassed and assaulted group in the LGBT community. The main issues and lack of acceptance are usually in personal relationships, family not accepting us, and similar.
Monika: I used to believe that Sweden is one of the most democratic countries that respects the rights of all citizens. However, I was surprised to learn that by the end of 2012 Swedish transgender women had to accept sterilization in order to change gender legally … 
Hanna: Yes, its part of a not so proud tradition in Sweden that began with Carl von Linné categorizing people in races in the 1700s, the founding of the racial biological institute in 1922, that inspired Hitler's ideas and forced sterilization of several unwanted minorities of which most was banned in the 70s.
However, this last law wasn't reformed until 2012. It is of course – disgraceful. There is currently an ongoing lawsuit to claim damages for people who were forced to undergo sterilization. 
Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
Hanna: I'd like to discuss basic principles rather than the rights of groups. I want the same principles to apply to everyone. I don't want laws that single out people, but simply the same human rights to apply equally. It shouldn't be a matter of belonging to a group that happens to be politically correct to focus on at the moment. We should all have our human rights protected. If you can just get that principle to apply equally we know what to do, no matter of ethnicity, sexuality, age, gender, or other.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Hanna: I have a general disdain for the political process, but I love to discuss ideas. I think we should all find what we do best and enjoy it, no matter who we are or where we are in life. I was forced to consider the fundamentals of my life because I couldn't stand being who I am. 
But the same questions I confronted apply to most people. We can all find ourselves in a situation where we question why we are where we are, what we really care about if we made the right decisions, and what really matters in the end. We all need to find our place in the world and it can be just as hard for a straight, cis-person, who can easily conform but still may not feel right about themselves.
We should all question norms. We should all make sure that we do what we do because we want to. Not because others made us think we wanted it. Kids, marriage, career. You can only find peace in life if you are truly honest with yourself. And you only live once. You owe yourself that honesty.
Monika: In addition, you are an adult actress. Who is the usual viewer of transgender adult movies?
Hanna: I don't know if I qualify as an adult actress. I make amateur videos of sexual content with my girlfriend, having fun, sharing excitement and the experience with others. I honestly do not know much about the people who subscribe to my website.
My experience from back when I mainly did live cam shows is that the customer is just about anyone, although 99% male. Any age, income bracket, or ethnicity. They all just happen to be attracted to females with a little something extra... ;)

In a sexy outfit.

Monika: Some transgender activists say that transgender adult movies create a negative image of the whole transgender community? What would be your answer in this respect?
Hanna: Well, I refuse to be held accountable for anything other than my own actions as an individual. I am responsible for the image of transsexuals no more than I am responsible for the image of Swedes, Europeans, or people who enjoy eating popcorn.
Grouping people by arbitrary features and demand they take responsibility for what others of that arbitrary group do is obviously silly. Collectivism is just another form of racism.
Some transsexuals do porn. Some girls do porn. A lot of guys wish they did. More people should. It’s just sex. There's only a negative image if you think sex is a fundamentally bad thing. I don't.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
 Hanna: Love is what gives my life meaning! I need to share my experiences, have a point, goals, struggle, and share the best and the worse, and the most beautiful way of doing that, to me, is in a loving relationship.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Hanna: Nah, I think fashion is stupid. It’s just pleading to our insecurity as individuals need to belong in the group. There's nothing wrong with wanting to show who you are by what you wear, we all do. And if you think that the most important thing to tell people about you, is that you rather be judged by what some designer thinks looks good – a person you never met and whose opinions shouldn't matter at all to you - than what you yourself like, than by all means, spend your money on expensive brands.
But I think it's rather sad, and I never could relate to it. At home, I usually wear sweaters and a hoodie. I just wanna be comfortable. I love to dress up and really look my best, but I'm not bothered with it when I'm just being at home, walking the dogs, and studying. I had a period when I couldn't leave the house without makeup, but not so much anymore. I feel more secure about myself now. I guess I don't have so much to prove, to myself or others.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Hanna: Given my answers to the previous questions, you can probably guess! ;) But no, I never really understood it. I mean I love seeing beautiful people, but I think the whole idea of being put on display is kind of degrading. And when they try to make it about ideas and values it’s just making it worse.
If it’s about beauty, be proud and don't deny it. Go all in and do it 110%! I'm not judging anyone who wants to do it. If you enjoy it, go for it! I don't like karaoke either, but that doesn't mean others can't or shouldn't enjoy it. 
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself? 
Hanna: Yes. It’s on my to-do list. That and a thousand other projects! Honestly, I can't find enough hours to finish most of the things I start and I'm always eager to launch new amazing projects. 
I struggle to actually finish and maintain something though, and writing a book is a project that really demands some discipline. I don't like doing things half-assed, so if I am ever to write a book, I wanna do it well. And I don't know if a book about my life could fill more than 50 pages... ;D
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Hanna: I'm trying to focus on my studies. I've planned to finish my exam and be a fully-fledged web developer by the summer! I have several projects coming up, but I rather not disclose any details before we're closer to finishing it. It’s a social thing though, I can tell you that much.
Monika: Hanna, thank you for the interview!
Hanna: Thank you so much for having me!

All the photos: courtesy of Hannah Warg.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska  

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