Monday 26 May 2014

Interview with Farah Zeiner

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Farah Zeiner, a German transgender activist, journalist, the founder of the YouTube vlog titled “Menschen dieser Erde”. Hello Farah!
Farah: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Farah: Hello, my name is Farah Zeiner. I studied social work, and I am a transgendered woman that advocates and promotes human rights, especially for transgender people in our society and around the world. I am living in South Germany at Lake Constance.
Monika: What inspired you to create a vlog where you place your interviews with transgender role models?
Farah: The inspiration to do interviews with transgender people came just naturally. Together with Michaela Werner, a good friend of mine and also a transgendered woman, we started making videos in our area, just for fun. So we developed the idea of doing interviews with transgender people. It was all going step by step; we found a brave transgender woman who gave us the first interview. After that interview, we got a huge fan base and more transgender people were able and brave enough to do interviews with our team.
Monika: Having conducted so many interviews, you are probably the most knowledgeable person in the field of the German transgender movement. What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in German society?
Farah: Looking only at legal aspects, the situation of transgender people in Germany is probably better than in most countries in the world but when you face "real life" and interaction with "normal" people you find stereotypes, discrimination in every field: job, private life, culture and so on! We have to go a long way till we can say we have the same rights and we are treated like everyone else.
Monika: How about the presence of transgender women in German art?
Farah: There are a few transgender women in the media but unfortunately not in leading positions; most of them are part of the yellow press. I wished there would be more transgender women working in art, media, important social fields, and so on.
Monika: Are any German transgender talents in other areas?
Farah: I think the transgender community is doing a lot but we don't have a leading person like the gay community used to have in the past or still have nowadays.
Monika: At the time of your transition did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Farah: No, I did not. I just met people in the same situation that I was in, and we helped each other as much as we could.

Farah Zeiner - "jeder zählt!". Source: YouTube.

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Farah: The hardest thing about my coming out was the insecurity that I faced and the inner insecurity that increased by the reaction of other people.
Monika: A few weeks ago Jared Leto received his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club" as transgender Rayon. What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Farah: Stories and films can help but they never replace real-life experience if you know what I mean.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Farah: I think everyone that is engaged in society (politics) can make a difference, but transgender people in politics should tell the world about their transgender theme so it becomes a part of the agenda that will bring discussion and hopefully a change in society.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Farah: Everyone needs love, freedom, and peace. This is very important.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Farah: I love casual looks, at the moment my favorite colors are green, orange, and purple.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Farah: I have experienced so many things in my life that it would be a very thick book but today it doesn't feel right for me to write a book
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Farah: We are searching for new interview guests all the time and other projects will be coming soon too.
Monika: Farah, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Farah Zeiner.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

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