Monday 31 March 2014

Interview with Miss saHHara

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Miss saHHara, a British Nigerian model, singer, beauty queen and LGBT activist, known for representing Nigeria in international beauty pageants to draw attention to the plights of LGBTQI+ people in Africa. In 2011, she was the first Nigerian trans woman to participate in the Miss International Queen beauty pageant in Pattaya, Thailand. Hello Miss saHHara!
Miss saHHara: Hi Monika!
Monika: Some critics compare your voice to that of Nina Simone. Do you have any singers that you admire and draw inspirations from?
Miss saHHara: Yes, I have been told I sound like Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Heather Small from M-People. I find it humbling because they are the greats! I am influenced by the looks, glamour and stage presence of Shirley Bassey.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your singing career?
Miss saHHara: I began singing and writing songs at the age of twelve in Nigeria. I found solace in music through the church due to a rather troubled/confused childhood because of the identity I was assigned at birth. So, when I moved to the United Kingdom to live my life openly, I decided to pursue my music career a bit farther.
I have a singing residency in a lovely venue in London for the past 10 years. Music is my life, being creative in writing and producing gives me joy and satisfaction. I have written and produced over fifty songs, I am planning to release an album in the future.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Interview with Kat Haché

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kat Haché, an American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Kat!
Kat: Hello Monika! Thanks for reaching out to interview me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kat: Well, I am a transgender woman from East Tennessee. I’m currently in graduate school getting my masters in archival studies. I’m interested in trans representation and the diversity transgender narrative in the archive.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Kat: Well, like I said, I’m interested in personal narratives. I think they are incredibly powerful and inspirational for others who have experienced or are experiencing the same sorts of things as the person relaying that narrative. For transgender people, we are so used to being articulated by society in less than flattering terms rather than articulating our own narratives and identities on our own terms, with our own discourse.
With that video I really wanted to challenge the narrative that there was one crystallizing moment that I *knew* that I was trans, and instead I wanted to articulate how it was a gradual discovery and a gradual deconstruction of this imposed narrative of who I was supposed to be and this imposed dialogue that I had to use to describe myself and limit who I could be at any of the stages mentioned.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Interview with Addie Vincent

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Addie Vincent, a Chapman University student that made history as the first transgender contestant in Delta Tau Delta’s philanthropy pageant. Hello Addie!
Addie: Hello, Monika! Thanks for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Addie: Of course. My name is Addie and I’m a senior at Chapman University. I was born in Canada, raised in Michigan, and currently attending school in sunny California. I identify as a Trans* person, more specifically as a gender queer person with they/them/their preferred gender pronouns.

Friday 28 March 2014

Interview with Cadence Matthews

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Cadence W. Matthews, a young transgender woman from Canada. Hello Cadence!
Cadence: Hi Monika; thank you for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Cadence: Well, I am 27, I work in the hair extension industry, as well as doing some acting, singing, and other artistic pursuits. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details in the media?
Cadence: I think it's important to share my journey as a way of giving back to the community. Trans visibility has only recently increased in a positive way , and I want to be a part of that.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Interview with Amanda Watson

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Amanda Nicole Watson, a USN Veteran, healthcare worker, activist and transgender woman from California, USA. Hello Amanda!
Amanda: Hello Monika, what an honor for you to ask me for an interview, I feel humble in this moment. I think talking about one’s self is always challenging.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Amanda: Gladly, I am a 46 year old transgender woman, living California’s Central Valley. I work in the healthcare business. In my line of work I try to be an outspoken advocate for LGBT related issues in healthcare. As well as taking away the stigma that some try to place on transgender people.
Monika: At what age did you transition into woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? Did you have any support from your family or friends?
Amanda: My transition did not fully start until I was in my thirties. I had known since age 5 that I was a little girl. However, the world around did not seem to embrace the same thoughts. Around the age of 15 I had a traumatic event that occurred. This event made me despise weaknesses that I saw within myself.
In addition, I was filled with confusion over my gender and sexuality. This took me years to overcome, undoing self hatred and stereotypes. Shortly after getting out of the US Navy, I started to realize that I was not alone. Friends in the San Diego community helped my through the process. As well as a supportive family, who have continued to do their best to support and love me.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Interview with Kalki Subramaniam

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kalki Subramaniam, a transgender rights activist from India, actress, entrepreneur, the founder of Sahodari Foundation, an organization working for the social, economic and political empowerment of transgender persons in India, and the editor of the English book titled ‘Law Beyond Gender’. Hello Kalki!
Kalki: Greetings Monika. It is a pleasure to know you.
Monika: For many years you have been involved in the legal rights campaign for recognising transgender people in India. Could you say a few words about them?
Kalki: In the Indian constitution, the fundamental rights under part III are enforceable human rights guaranteed to all citizens of this country, whether men, women or transgender people. We, transgender people, however are discriminated in the society because of our gender identity. Only legal recognition can assure our rights. The state has to come up with policies that protect transgender people and initiate measures to empower us.
On that line, I have been sensitizing the judiciary of this country for a better understanding of transgender people’s lives, the issues and problems we face in the society. These campaigns being done along with other transgender rights activists, will bring tremendous changes in the near future.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Interview with Dawn Flynn

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Dawn Flynn, a pastor of an LGBT congregation in Charlotte, NC - New Life Metropolitan Community Church, and author of “God Does Love Me: My Trans Journey To Finding My True Self” (2012). Hello Dawn!
Dawn: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Dawn: Sure. I am a trans woman, having had my SRS January 11, 2011. I have felt like a girl since I was 8 years old. At that time I tried on a pair of my grandmother’s clip-on earrings and knew I was different because they felt right. I suppressed my true gender identity for over 50 years through two marriages and two children, finally embracing my true self when it became clear that I was going to commit suicide if I kept on going the direction I was headed. I am now a trans activist, pastor of an LGBT church in Charlotte, NC, and openly share my story whenever I can to encourage others on their journey.

Monday 24 March 2014

Interview with Aneesh Sheth

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Aneesh Sheth, a young Indian-American actress and transgender activist, an Advocate Magazine's 40 Under 40 list honoree, known for her roles in "Outsourced" (2011), "My Inner Turmoil" (2011), and "Arbore" (2012). Hello Aneesh!
Aneesh: Hi Monika! Thank you so much for this honor!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Aneesh: Sure! I am an actress and activist originally from New York City. In 2010, I made my way to the West Coast, first in San Francisco and then to Seattle in November of 2013, where I currently reside.
Monika: When did you decide to pursue an acting career?
Aneesh: I was lucky enough to have parents that were very supportive of the arts, and to live in New York where there is an abundance of it. Ever since I was very little, my parents took me to see lots of theatre and opera and somehow I got bit by the bug.
I think I was cast in my first show at age 7, and just continued my journey in theatre and film from there. When I was ready to leave for college, I made the choice to pursue a career in acting and I was very lucky to have supportive parents who encouraged me to pursue my dream.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Interview with Andi Dier

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Andi Dier, an American young woman, transgender activist from New York. Hello Andi!
Andi: Hey there, I don’t really feel like I do enough to call myself an “activist.”
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Andi: Sure, I mean, I’m still young so I don’t have much to show. But I’m an advocate who prides herself on speaking from a place based mostly on observation and reason. I’m a soon-to-be physics student, so it’s only natural.
Monika: We are having the interview in the middle of the media outcry caused by the employees of The Irish Times Pub and Restaurant in Holbrook who in your view bruskly removed you from the premise, using transphobic slurs? Are you still angry with the treatment you got?
Andi: Absolutely. At first I was just pissed that I couldn’t get into a pub with my own ID. But now I sincerely believe I wasn’t let in because I’m transgender. They had no right to misgender me. They had no right to touch me or use aggressive physical assault against a young girl less than half their size. Most of all, they knew their position of power and used it to humiliate me. Unfortunately not a first for me.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Interview with Tona Brown

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Tona Brown, a talented African American Transgender violinist, vocalist, mezzo soprano, actress and host of a web TV series entitled "Conversations with Tona Brown". 
Tona was the first transgender woman to perform at Carnegie Hall and was chosen by the White House to sing the National Anthem for President Obama at a 2011 LGBT Pride Gala in New York City. She participated in such shows as “Now What” with BET producer Kevin E. Taylor, WHRO’s Hear Say with Cathy Lewis, the Anthony McCarthy Show, and the Marc Steiner Show. Hello Tona!
Tona: Hi Monika. It is a pleasure to speak with you and everyone that follows your work. 
Monika: You started as a classical violinist but soon you became a successful mezzo soprano diva. Would you like to keep both options open or you have already decided about your artistic future?
Tona: I would like to keep all options open because I enjoy making music no matter the genre or medium. Music IS my life!
Monika: Could you say a few words about your music career?
Tona: My decision to follow my dreams was the best decision of my life. As an artist I can express things that would be very difficult for me to express normally. Through my art I can release all frustrations and emote in ways unimaginable.

Friday 21 March 2014

Interview with Beth Horner

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Beth Horner, an American living in greater LA. She works in the bicycle industry and has won some design awards in the past, written 2 technical books, played music in a local band and has traveled extensively to Europe, Asia and South America for work and pleasure. Hello Beth!
Beth: Hi Monika and thanks for what you’re doing. There are lots of transwomen leading normal, interesting and successful lives. This is important for all people to know.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Beth: I was born in Afghanistan where my Dad was a USA diplomat. My Mom was Dutch and during my childhood we traveled a lot, living in many different countries. I must have been about 5 when I put on my Mom’s dress, in Greece, in private, and had an awakening. I revisited that theme many times over the years and dreamt, “if only I could have been born female”, or that there could be some magical intervention to make it happen. Basically the feeling was of inner peace and that things would be better compared to the estrangement I felt.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Interview with Honey West

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Honey West, an American entertainer, singer/actress, and YouTube vlogger. She started her cabaret career in the 1990s with one-woman show “A Taste of Honey”. She won two After Dark Awards as Chicago’s Outstanding Cabaret Entertainer as well as several other honors.
In 1997 she released her first album “Take Honey West Home” and seven years later released a second collection “My Big Fat Cheesy Lounge Act”. Honey appeared in the film “Velvets”, which was shown at the Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, and recorded the love theme for the Judy Tenuta film “Butch Camp”.
She starred in the comedy Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and was featured in such stage productions as “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding”, “Pussy on the House”, “Diva Diaries, The Musical”, “Music Kills a Memory”, “The Wizard of A.I.D.S.”, “Sexy Baby”, “Applause”, and “Jerry’s Girls”. Hello Honey!
Honey: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Honey: Sure, I have a degree in Musical Theater from Indiana University. I have been singing and acting professionally for the last 33 years. I traveled with cruise ships and resorts fresh out of college and finally settled in Chicago where I live now.
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be a stage artist?
Honey: Smile, I don’t remember a time I didn’t dream about it. They say I came out of the womb humming a tune.
Monika: Could you name some of the venues and shows in which you participated?
Honey: I got the chance as a young entertainer to live and work in Tahiti for American Hawaii cruises. I still remember the beauty and the people fondly. In Chicago I had a cabaret act that lasted for 13 years and some of the people that I met during those years are still friends today.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Interview with Michelle Ann Farrell

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Michelle Ann Farrell, an American independent filmmaker, known for her work on Safehouse (2008), Bigfoot at Holler Creek Canyon (2006) and On Top (2012) and several other feature films. She has been DP on 17 feature films and has written, produced and sold scripts and has established herself as a professional filmmaker. Hello Michelle Ann!
Michelle Ann: Hello Monika, I’m honored to do this interview. Thank you.
Monika: Were you born with a video camera in your hand?
Michelle Ann: Although I’ve always enjoyed photography and personally owned a video camera once many years back I was not one of those people who made movies as a child. I’ve always enjoyed being creative writing story lines and poetry but not until I was 40 years old did I decide that I was to shoot a movie. That movie of course was “Franky’s Heaven”.
Monika: Before you worked in independent films, she had run a wedding business which involved video…
Michelle Ann: Yes, soon after Franky’s Heaven I had bought my business partners out and decided to use the movie gear and start my own business. In the beginning weddings were the day job but my goal was to one day leave that and do production full time. That’s what I do now, work production 7 days a week either in the office or out making money.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Interview with Grishno

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Grishno, an American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Grishno!
Grishno: Hi Monika. Glad to be here.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Grishno: Sure. My name is Erin Armstrong, but many people know me as Grishno online. I was assigned male at birth, but transitioned from male to female when I was 20. It was not an easy choice to make at the time, and it has cost me a lot, including my relationship with parts of my family, but looking back now, almost 10 years later, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Grishno: I first started doing video blogs on YouTube in 2006, only a year or two after the site started. At the time I was living in NYC, where it is really hard to meet new people. I had friends, sure, but none of them were Trans*, and I felt like I was missing that in my life. I decided to make my first video as a way of reaching out to other people like me, and wouldn’t you know it… we’re everywhere.

Monday 17 March 2014

Interview with Ashley Jones

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Ashley Jones, an American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Ashley!
Ashley: Hello and thanks for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ashley: Sure thing! I am 23 years old, half Russian and half Ukrainian. My hobbies include: mixing/producing EDM music, playing guitar, doing yoga, and running. I’m a “gamer girl” I mostly play RPG’s, MMO’s, Sci-Fi and Fantasy games. I also love me some anime!! Top 3 would be: Cowboy Bebop, FLCL and Samurai Champloo.
I have been on hormones for 1 year and I would like to try to reach out to the LGBT community and help in any way I can! I have been through a lot of pain in the time I've spent transitioning and I would like to help others get through it all and be proud of who they are. The transgender community has a 41% suicide rate and I think that enough is enough!! If I can help just 1% of that 41% than I will be happy.

Saturday 15 March 2014

Interview with Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood, a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Erica!
Erica: Hi Monika. Thank you so much for asking me to do this. I’m just a little fish in a big sea really.
I do have to correct the term video blogger though. That would suggest I actually talk to the camera, which really isn’t my style of video. Rather, I use music and images to help me tell my story.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself? 
rica: Few words LOL. You don’t know me very well Monika. I’ll try to keep it pretty basic. I was born in 1965. A difficult period to grow up transgender since the information and resources didn’t exist back then like they do today. But growing up in the 70’s was also a magical time. I was 12 years old when Star Wars came out, for crying out loud. What better era was there to be a kid?
That being said, as many transgender girls do, I grew up without friends, I’ll go into that more in a later question.
I hid, buried, denied all that I could as I got older so that by the time I met my future wife I had a pretty decent alter persona going that at least allowed me to pass as male. I found the strong silent type the easiest to pull off. If I said little I would have less of a chance of giving my true thoughts away.

Friday 14 March 2014

Interview with Mayra Viamonte

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Mayra Viamonte, a young Brazilian video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Mayra!
Mayra: Hello, Monika. Interesting proposition, to list trans personalities as possibility models. Glad to be one of them.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Mayra: More than a few, like ‘narcissistic’ and ‘gorgeous’. Jokes aside, I’m a lesbian trans, which confuses a lot of people. I’m a professional translator, working from my home PC, and I’m engaged to a ciswoman that is wonderful in many ways.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Mayra: Actually, the YouTube profile is just a part of my personal blog. Both, however, are a twofold tool. Through them I aim to inspire other trans people, and educate everyone else about us.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Mayra: At “mission complete”. I’ve done a Facial Surgery and Breast Implant, I have no desire for the SRS, and my social life is fully feminine. Documents aren’t changed, but I also don’t plan them to be.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Interview with Cherise Witehira

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Cherise Witehira, an inspirational transgender activist from New Zealand, Butcher’s Apprentice, Hairdresser, Academic, Sex Worker, Public Servant and former President of Agender New Zealand, a leading advocacy organization for the trans community in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Hello Cherise!
Cherise: Kia ora my sis!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Cherise: Trigger alert, blunt, offensively honest etc…
Monika: For many years you have been dealing with transgender advocacy. What are the current challenges for transgender people In New Zealand?
Cherise: Please forgive me for the long-winded response to this question. To be honest Monika, there are many challenges faced by the Trans community here in Aotearoa, NZ. The five main issues I see currently affecting the community in NZ are Housing, Healthcare, Education, Employment and Poverty.
These issues have been evident for many years and successive governments have chosen to ignore them as they “are not a priority”. This is quite sad really as there are many within the community who require the support but for various reasons, cannot seem to access the services that are required in order for the person to become, for want of a better term, valuable, contributing members of society.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Interview with Ianna Book

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Ianna Book, an inspirational photographer from Canada, author of Trans Avenue, a series of photographic self-portraits taken in Montréal and New York from 2011 to 2013. Hello Ianna!
Ianna: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ianna: Of course! I was born in Lévis, a small town in Québec, Canada. My parents divorced early and I lived with my brother and my single mom in a difficult economic situation. From a young age, I’ve always felt perturbed and was always asking myself many questions.
Puberty is when I started to feel a need to express my femininity. I isolated myself to live out that reality because I was scared. At the beginning of adulthood, I moved to Montréal to study visual arts.
After many many years of denial and hesitation, I started, four years ago, to move forward with the process of my transition and gender adjustment (mtf). It was very difficult at first but necessary. In 2013, I published Trans Avenue, a collection of photographs tracing a part of this period of change.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Interview with Vicki Estrada

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Vicki Estrada, a landscape architect, urban planner, civic visionary, the President of Estrada Land Planning, a landscape architecture firm from San Diego. Hello Vicki!
Vicki: Hello Monika. I am quite honored that I am one you chose to interview. By the way, thank you for all you do for our community throughout the world.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your professional career so far?
Vicki: Well, I have owned my own design firm now for 29 years, almost half of my 61 years. I currently have 8 employees. Growing up I wanted to be an architect but realized while in architecture school that what makes a city great is not an iconic building here or tower there. It is what happens between buildings, how the buildings are arranged, that makes cities great. This is what landscape architects do.
There is misunderstanding by most that because the word "landscape architect" has the work "landscape" in it, that we are "fancy" gardeners. It is much more far reaching than that. I heard a story once by a famous landscape architect that if you imagine the earth as a canvas, architects put dots on the map, engineers connect the dots but landscape architects are the only ones that can literally paint the entire canvas.
I never forgot that story and have never regretted my decision to change from being an architect to being a landscape architect. We seem to be much more open and able to think on a larger scale.

Monday 10 March 2014

Interview with Dr. Lynn Walker

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Dr. Lynn Walker, an American transgender activist, educator, retired US Army officer, and bishop in the Orthodox Catholic Church of America. Hello Lynn!
Lynn: Hi Monika. It’s very good of you to invite me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lynn: I live in Brooklyn with my spouse and two cats, teach occasionally, and direct a couple of housing programs for a non-profit AIDS service organization.
Monika: Why is God so merciless towards transgender people, placing their minds in the opposite gender bodies?
Lynn: I don’t necessarily agree that God is merciless. It seems to me that nature and the creator love variety, and in the last hundred years or so we’re seeing that more clearly. Gender identity is not A or B, but may be better represented as a spectrum – far more nuanced than the scale developed by Dr Harry Benjamin.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Interview with Sarah Jordan

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Sarah Jordan, a young American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Sarah!
Sarah: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Sarah: I’m Sarah a Trans* Woman from South Carolina! I have been in transition now for about three years. I face many challenges and discrimination as a Southern transgender woman, even from family, friends and especially the public. Even though life gets really tough sometimes I never regret my choice to stop hiding and live free! I’m very fortunate to have a supportive, loving Boyfriend who knows when to push me forward and when to hold me tight!
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Sarah: When I first started on vlogging on YouTube it was to watch my transition as I went through my first hormone treatments and to follow my journey. Vlogging was also a way to express how I was feeling about life and my transition. The more videos I made the more I realized that other people needed to hear an honest and real transgender woman tell the truth about her life!
I felt I needed to share the highs and lows of accepting yourself as well as the struggle and pain of family, friends and societies acceptance of being a transgender woman! The more I videos I made the more it became like free therapy, allowing me to express my most intimate struggles and acceptance of my new life!

Saturday 8 March 2014

Interview with Namoli Brennet

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Namoli Brennet, an Iowa-based singer and songwriter, 4-time Outmusic award nominee, recipient of the Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Award and finalist in the ISC songwriting competition; her 2010 album "Black Crow" was named one of KXCI FM's 50 best albums of the year. Hello Namoli!
Namoli: Hi Monika.
Monika: When did you decide that music would be your way of life?
Namoli: I’m actually one of those people who - I just always knew that I would do something with music - I’m pretty sure I knew I was a musician before I knew I was trans. So I didn’t have to think about it too much, except for what form it would take.
I had always felt like I wanted to write, record and tour but I think in part I was underconfident, and I also hadn’t begun to deal with transitioning yet so I felt kind of stuck. Seeing the show “RENT” when I was 29 was a pivotal moment that made me feel like, “I need to do this - now.” The theme of that show is “No day but today” and it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.

Friday 7 March 2014

Interview with Mieke B

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Mieke B, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Mieke!
Mieke: Howzit Monika. Thank you for interviewing me, quite an honor!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Mieke: I’m a 25 year old trans woman living in South Africa. I’ve been living as a woman since November 2013. Generally I’m a happy spontaneous person with everything to give and considered something of an enlightenment for those around me. I’ll do anything in my power to help anyone in need and see to it that they are well and happy. Anything that provides a thrill will be my favorite thing to do.
I’m a bit of an adrenalin junky and still enjoy the “men” stuff like motor sports and off-road biking. I know anything and everything about cars. Off the eye I look like a city girl but at heart I’m more a farm type o’ gal.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Mieke: Well, in South Africa we barely ever hear about other trans people except for in the news and crime statistics. No transgender person has really ever put themselves out there to be a national face for the cause or to provide resources. When I started to transition I thought I was the only trans person in the country but with time more and more people contacted me and I realized that we are quite a few.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Interview with Mana Weindel

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Mana Weindel, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Mana!
Mana: Hello, Monika! Thank you for the interview, it is an honor to be able to participate. 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Mana: Sure. I live in Denmark by myself in an apartment, and I have a lot of friends, which I love very much. I am not exactly big on words but I will do my best. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Mana: I have seen a lot of transition videos myself, so maybe I got the idea from there. I have always loved attention, though I'm very critical about myself.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Mana: At this point I have been on HRT for about 5 months, and even though it might seem longer I can only say I know my makeup.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy and GRS?
Mana: Yes I am, very. GRS is not until later though, but I am getting to it.

Monday 3 March 2014

Interview with Jordyn

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Jordyn (aka JordynJordynJordynS), a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Jordyn!
Jordyn: Hello! Thank you so much for inviting me to talk with you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jordyn: Sure! Well, I’m 24 years old and I’ve been transitioning full-time for about three years so far, and I’m also pursuing a career in the film and TV industry to hopefully direct my own projects someday that focus on trans* and LGBT issues.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Jordyn: For me, watching YouTube videos of other trans* individuals talking about their experiences was really helpful when I was starting my transition and hadn't met anyone else yet who was trans* and so I decided to share my own experiences as well, in case they might be helpful for someone else the way they were for me.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Jordyn: I feel very grateful and fortunate to be almost at the end of my transition actually, for all intents and purposes at least. I’ve come out to all of my friends and family, had my name changed legally, updated all of my documents.
I’ve been taking hormones and living as myself full-time for almost three years, and I had GRS at the end of 2012. It’s been without a doubt the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life, but overall it’s absolutely been worth it.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Interview with Living Smile Vidya

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Living Smile Vidya known as Smiley, an inspirational woman from India, actress, film director, the author of the biography titled "I am Saravanan Vidya" (2008), a transgender activist and blogger, recipient of the British Council-Charles Wallace India Trust fellowship to study theater in UK. Hello Smiley! 
Smiley: Hi, it’s my honour to be in your list.
Monika: So, You pursue your career in theatre and cinema. You worked as an assistant director in Kollywood and acted in Tamil theater. Could you say a few words about your movie and theater career?
Smiley: Well, Theatre is always my first love. When I was 19 years old, I decided to be an actress and while doing my post-graduation at university I spent most of the time in the Theater Department rather than my Linguistics Department. So I was able to do a couple of plays. But at that time I was known to my colleagues and classmates as a boy.
After my post-graduation, I went to Pune for my castration and I had to stay there. Once I came back I was challenged to find a mainstream job, and after a long struggle I found a job in a rural bank. And only then I realized that I was the first Transwoman in India who worked in a mainstream job rather than working for NGOs.
Beyond this I wanted to work in theater but I realized that all my friends in theater were not sure how to handle a transwoman as an actress. That was when my autobiography was released and I became quite famous, so some film directors heard about me.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Interview with Merryn Witherspoon

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Merryn Witherspoon, a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Merryn!
Merryn: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Merryn: I’m not best known for only saying a few words Monika but I’ll try! I’m a middle-aged digital creative living in the lovely Cotswolds in South Gloucestershire, west England. Essentially I’ve been ‘T’ since I was three years of age but for a variety of personal reasons have tried to conform to society’s male expectations until very recently.
I’m now single again after losing my late partner eighteen months ago but have some wonderful family members in the UK and South Africa. My main non-work time is largely devoted to songwriting and live music and quite intensive cardio fitness sessions at my local gym.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Merryn: Partly as a ‘walking talking’ resource for my friends and family rather than the static photos I tend to circulate with every ‘coming out ‘ email! – and partly for my own cathartic and vanity reasons I guess I wanted to try and explain thing in a more conversational, human way than merely words on paper.

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