Sunday, 11 May 2014

Interview with Dee HunnyBuns

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Dee HunnyBuns, a young American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Dee!
Dee: Hi Monika, well let me just start off by saying thank you and I feel extremely honored to be a part of this website, I see so many admirable women and their stories and it just makes me feel great to see fellow trans-sisters who are strong, beautiful and inspirational.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Dee: I am 24 years old, Mexican, born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m a licensed massage therapist and just finished school to get my license as a cosmetic laser technician. I’m a fan of all things beauty and really love the feeling of making other people feel beautiful. As a woman, I know how important feeling good in your own skin can be and want to help other women feel great in theirs as well.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Dee: I think it’s very important for people to be able to obtain more information about transition and issues regarding such, and who better than the living testimonials, right?
I know for me, girls who have documented their transitions on YouTube have been so helpful as far as surgery, hormones, and getting legal paperwork fixed, as well as just sharing about situations that they have encountered. It really hits home and can relate to many people out there of all ages and all stages of transition.

Pink is her color.

Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Dee: Well I have been transitioning since the age of 17, which is when I started living full time as my true self.
I’ve been on hormones since I was 20, I’m currently pre-op and do wish to go through with the full Sexual Reassignment Surgery.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Dee: Yes I am, I started young and it just helped me to not really go through too much of the wrath that comes with male puberty, so I was fortunate enough to be able to stop a lot of it for the most part, at least in my opinion.
Monika: In your vlog, you shared your experience about the orchiectomy operation that you underwent in March 2014. Why did you decide to have it done?
Dee: It was something that I wanted to have done since I was 18 and had inquired information about it with my surgeon but had a few friends who were transwomen and they sort of gave me the cons of doing such, so basically put it off until now. The reason for the decision to have it done was to stop my production of testosterone, therefore being able to greatly lower my hormone regimen and lessening any long-term negative effects.
Monika: What risks or side effects did you face as a result of the operation?
Dee: For the first month, I was having hot flashes and night sweats, and I also felt a lot more tired and lethargic. I gained a tad bit of weight, which I’ve been told is normal due to being off anti-androgens, which is also a diuretic. My mood was also down quite a bit, I experienced symptoms of depression, which subsided after a couple of weeks.

In blue.

Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Dee: I actually had a great childhood, I was the youngest of 6 siblings and got to grow up very close to my 2 brothers and 3 sisters. We would play and tease each other the way all brothers and sisters do, so definitely nothing but beautiful memories as a child.
I felt I was different than other boys when I was 5 or 6, I had a little crush on a boy in my kindergarten class and would imagine myself being a girl when we would be out in recess playing.
At that age, the feelings really started to progress and get stronger, which at about age 8 is when I started to play dress-up with my mom’s clothes in her locked bedroom when nobody was around and it just felt instantly right.
Monika: For most transgender girls, the most traumatic time is the time spent at school, college, or university when they had to face lots of discrimination. Was it the same in your case?
Dee: The only discrimination that I ever faced in school was when I was learning Massage Therapy. I had two situations regarding the women’s restroom, where a girl from another class basically expressed to me why I shouldn’t be in there and that not everybody was as comfortable with my “sexuality” as I was. That’s a situation that I will never forget. 
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Dee: I would have to say that of course, Janet Mock is one of the women that I look up to and admire very much for having the strength and courage to live visibly, tell her story, and most importantly help to open the minds of people who are less than familiar with the issues and struggles that many of us as transgender women face.
Laverne Cox, Candis Cayne, Isis King, and Calpernia Addams are also great examples and living proof that barriers can be broken, even in the media and on television.
I also know many women whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through social networks who are trans-activists such as Paulina Ashley Angel, a transwoman from Indio, California who makes music as well as doing activism work with her university. Her area was working on LGBT Student Issues such as the FAIR Education Act: SB 48, and would often hold breakout sessions at student conferences about such issues, starting in San Francisco and the final in Sacramento. She is definitely someone I admire for doing what she does and trying to better things for our community who can use all the help it can get.

Lady in black.

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Dee: My family was mostly accepting, my dad tolerated it for the most part, but never exactly accepted or supported my transition or my decision to live my true identity.
I would have to say the hardest part of my whole transition has been just getting truly comfortable in my own skin, accepting the fact that being transgender IS different, it’s a beautiful thing, and just really owning my womanhood and knowing that I’ve come this far by following my heart, regardless of what other people may think or say.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Dee: I feel like transwomen are starting to live more visibly as trans, I feel like that is something that is really helping society to understand that we are real and that we are human, helping folks realize that the representations in television of transgender individuals, shows such as Jerry Springer or Maury, is not always the accurate portrait oh who and what we are. I feel like trans-rights are definitely progressing, slowly but surely. 
Monika: What is your general view on transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Dee: I feel like for the most part, we are definitely beginning to make a good impact in the media and television, with women like Candis Cayne, being the first trans actress to have a recurring role in ‘Dirty Sexy Money” and Laverne Cox in “Orange Is the New Black.” Those ladies are definitely talented and are great at doing what they do.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Dee: I don’t really get too into politics to be quite honest, I just avoid it for the most part.

With her sister.

Monika: Being beautiful always produces a lot of girl power and empowerment. Do you often use it?
Dee: I would say I do, I’ve met a few young girls early in their transition that are feeling down about being Pre-HRT or not having the surgeries they desire yet to look more feminine, and I always make sure to let them know that I was once in their place and that transition takes time and patience, but the results will be amazing and they too shall bloom into beautiful women, even more beautiful than they already are.
It’s extremely important to let younger girls know that beauty isn’t everything, womanhood is not measured by your physical attributes or the number of surgeries you’ve had, regardless of what stage you are at in your transition. “That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful” - Ninon de L’Enclos.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Dee: Well I would say my style varies, I mostly do jeans, shorts, and tank tops, but I do have my days where I can be super feminine and glamorous, as well as casual and comfortable. I absolutely love crop tops, high-rise shorts, and blouses that are open and reveal my lower back. I’m not too into labels, as long as something is flattering and looks good, you better believe I will rock it til’ the cows come home.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Dee: I love watching beauty pageants, especially with gorgeous, talented transwomen. “Trantasia” was the first big pageant I saw and it was really inspiring, those girls are stunning and really put a lot of effort into competing. Maria Roman and Cassandra Cass were two girls that really stuck out to me, they both seem so genuine and down to earth, and that exudes beauty.

Being pretty.

Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Dee: Not too much, and to be quite honest, my YouTube vlogs were a way for me to interact more with my community and offer the information I have and just try to help anyone I can by answering any questions about the transition. I hope to continue making videos and hopefully give some insight to my fellow sisters.
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Dee: I would just say that it’s always better to be disliked for who you truly are than to fly by life being something or someone that you are not. Making the decision to transition and live your truth is half the battle, as long as you are happy with who you are and keep an open mind and heart, then everything will fall into place.
Society and people, in general, can surprise you, people whom I thought would react badly to me and turn their backs ended up being great allies and still are to this day. Life is short, live it authentically and wholeheartedly.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Dee: Well I plan to complete my transition and get SRS within the next 24 months, further my career in the health/beauty industry, and hopefully go into business for myself. I would absolutely love to help my community in some way, shape, or form as well. And last but not least, meet the lucky man who shall become my husband and have to put up with my crazy sense of humor and sassiness.
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Dee: Yes, I am the happiest I have ever been, I am extremely blessed with a supportive family, a great group of friends, and genuine people who have made me feel beautiful inside and out. That kind of support system is crucial to any girl going through what we have to go through in life, and I am awfully lucky to have that and sincerely happy to have the life that I have.
Life has ups and downs, I’ve made bad decisions and I’ve made great decisions, the point is to keep living life and searching for your happiness. That too shall come and when it does, you will know it, you will be it.
Monika: Dee, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!

All the photos: courtesy of Dee HunnyBuns.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

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