Friday, 30 January 2015

Interview with Abby Louise Jensen

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Abby Louise Jensen, a transgender attorney and activist now living in Tucson, Arizona. She is Vice President of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, a member of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the Arizona State Bar Association and the City of Tucson’s GLBT Advisory Commission, the former President and member of the Board of Directors of QsquaredYouth, a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Prescott Area Shelter Services, and honoree on the inaugural Trans 100 list (2013). Hello Abby!
Abby: Hi, Monika! Thanks for giving me the chance to be interviewed for your blog. 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Abby: Sure. I’ve been an attorney since 1982, but I didn’t decide to transition until 2007. So, I’ve been living full-time as Abby for just under 8 years.
Although I often thought about being a girl or woman when I was younger, I gave up that dream when I was in my late 20’s and resolved myself to living as a man for the rest of my life.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Interview with Kamilla A

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kamilla A, an American young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube, and an aspiring opera/Pop singer and actress. Hello Kamilla!
Kamilla: Hello!! How are you doing today darling?! I hope life has been treating you well, my dear.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kamilla: I'm 22 yrs old, Hispanic and, you know; a YouTube vlogger! I also am a Pop/R&B and classically trained Opera singer. I live in a small town in the panhandle of Florida currently and plan to move to LA soon to pursue my dream of singing and acting. I'm outgoing, fun, energetic, outspoken, kind yet firm, and believe in “treating others as you would treat yourself”.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Interview with Claire Russell

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Claire Russell, a transgender activist from San Diego, California, creator of the online San Diego Trans Resource Center, and co-organizer of the first annual Trans*Pride and March. Hello Claire!
Claire: Hey! Thanks for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Claire: I’m a 25-year-old trans woman from Southern California. I live with my supportive family and work two jobs. I love archery, sailing, video games, nature, etiquette, technology, NPR, children, dogs, and piña coladas. I was Ms. Trans San Diego 2013 and 2014. I mostly volunteer around trans youth specifically.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Interview with Estelle Roedrer

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Estelle Roedrer, a French cabaret artist, singer, dancer, and beauty pageant queen. Hello Estelle!
Estelle: Hello Monika and thanks for keeping in touch with me. It’s a great pleasure and honor to me.
Monika: Estelle, you look absolutely stunning! What is the secret of your everlasting beauty?
Estelle: Thanks! Really I don’t know… maybe the natural and simple life?
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Estelle: I will be soon 42, already! Life is passing away so fast! I used to work in cabarets. I lived in many countries: Germany, Spain, and Egypt but I decided to come back to France and since then I have been living here for 11 years.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Interview with Emily Iannielli

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Emily Iannielli, an American blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Emily!
Emily: Hi, Monika, It’s my pleasure to be a part of your interview. Thank you for your kind consideration. It is greatly appreciated!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Emily: First I wish to thank you Monika for inviting me to share my story. I identify as a male-to-female transgender woman. I felt I should have been a girl since age 3. I fought my transgender feelings all throughout my life hoping desperately I would rise above it. I am very lucky to have a son I love. He is 16 years old and is my pride and joy.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Interview with Lexi Jean McPherson

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Lexi Jean McPherson, a British writer, the author of the biographical book titled “HE wants HER” (2014). Hello Lexi!
Lexi: Hello Monika. Thank you for the interview! I am very grateful.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lexi: Well my name is Lexi Jean. I’m a 31-year-old transgendered woman. I have been living as a woman for several years. I work at an elderly housing association.
I am originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire. I moved to Manchester in 2004. I lived here for 11 years but I have been living now in Salford for over 6 years now.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Interview with Jaroslava Brokešová

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Jaroslava Brokešová, a tram driver from Prague, the Czech Republic, former diva, one of the most charismatic transgender women in Central and Eastern Europe. Hello Jaroslava!
Jaroslava: Hi, Monika. I am pleased with your interest and I am happy to answer all your questions. I would also like to greet the readers of your blog!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jaroslava: This year I am having my anniversary. Although I underwent a gender reassignment operation twelve years ago, in fact in April I will be fifty years old. I have two children, a son (25), daughter (23) from my 15-year marriage with a woman.
I live in a small town - Úvaly, near the capital of the Czech Republic, where I work for a Public Transport Company, being a tram driver.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Interview with Morganna Love

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Morganna Love, an inspirational opera diva, actress, beauty queen, and transgender activist from Mexico. Hello Morganna!
Morganna: Hi, Monika! Thank You so much! It's my pleasure to be interviewed by you. 
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be an opera singer?
Morganna: Well, when I was 18 years old, my parents took me to a concert in a church. The chorus was singing Allegri's Miserere. I was in shock. I fell in love with such a piece of amazing music, and there I decided to become an opera singer.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Interview with Jameela Maxwell Boardman

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Jameela Maxwell Boardman, a British free thinker, scientist, spiritualist, and the author of the biographical book titled “Jameela's Journey: From Jonathan to Jameela” (2010). Hello Jameela!
Jameela: Thank you for inviting me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jameela: In hindsight, I think that it would be more accurate to call me a Third Gender person rather than Transsexual, but unfortunately that option is not legally open to me in my country (Britain).
We are all a combination of Nature and Nurture, and I feel now that the hiding of my male part after transition, is just as much a distortion as the hiding of my female part was before! I often use the simple phrase: A "Balance of Yin and Yang" to quickly explain my feelings. It never was a sexual issue, rather a spiritual wholeness that I sought. That sounds as though it wasn't much of a problem, but it was! I knew that something major was wrong, and I had to move in the direction of the feminine.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Interview with Ashley Ackley

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Ashley Ackley, a transgender activist from the USA, and Iraq War veteran. Hello Ashley!
Ashley: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ashley: Howdy! As of this writing, I am 26. I have been transitioning for over 3 years now. I work in the tech industry and am a run-of-the-mill geek.
Monika: Your story made headlines in 2012 when you asked the army to be re-enlisted after your transition, and they refused to do so …
Ashley: True. The mindset of the army is that there is no place for people with needs. I have met people who were rejected for having been on A.D.D medication. The logistics of just the social protections are so troublesome that the gay/lesbian population is still barely tolerated.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Interview with Vennessa St John

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Vennessa St John, an American vlogger, actress, model, the author of "Third Sex Life, Venomous, and After Effects" (2014). Hello Vennessa!
Vennessa: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Vennessa: Every time I am asked that I never know what to say!
Monika: Why did you decide to write your autobiography Third Sex Life (2014)?
Vennessa: It’s not really an autobiography. It doesn’t go into explicit detail about every aspect of my whole life and who I am. It concentrates on personal observations and personal experiences I have had growing up, living and working as myself.
I would say it’s more of a study or maybe a thesis although much of it is autobiographical. I wrote it because lately there has been a lot of press about TG rights and the struggle for equality and it seems (to me at least) that many people on both sides are limiting the scope of the issues in a very dangerous way.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Interview with Antonia Stevens

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Antonia Stevens, an Icelandic-born transgender woman from Canada. Hello Antonia!
Antonia: Hey, it’s a pleasure to meet you and I’m honored to be a part of the Heroine series!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Antonia: I’m 35 years old, currently living in Toronto, Canada. I’m a huge nerd and have always been but I also enjoy nature and the outdoors. I love sailing, cycling, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking. On the flip side, I love working on open-source software and hardware so I guess it balances out. I work in IT security so I and my colleagues help companies defend against hackers by finding the problems before the hackers do.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in Canadian society?
Antonia: It’s much better than I thought it would be when I started my journey, I guess my expectations were set back in ’93 when I first heard of the term transgender and started identifying myself as trans. I honestly expected to lose everything, job, family, and friends but so far I’ve not lost anything but gained so much.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Interview with Honey Andrews

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Honey Andrews, aka Honey Daniels, an American entertainer and beauty pageant queen from Corpus Christi, Texas, Former Miss TX Continental, and Miss Gay Harris County USofA 2013. Hello Honey!
Honey: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Honey: I'm Honey Andrews, 29, originally born in Monterrey, Mexico. I am currently living in Corpus Christi, Texas. I am a hairstylist by day and showgirl by night. I have been doing it for about 10 years.
Monika: Recently you have been subject to the transphobic act when after the last three years’ performance at the tribute to Selena, the late music icon, the tribute organizers did not allow you to perform because you are transgender…
Honey: Yes, unfortunately, last year I came across this incident where I was discriminated against because I was Transgender but fortunately I was able to perform at the other Selena tribute, which was the original one, and had the love and support from many people.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Interview with Tommie Ross

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Tommie Ross, an American entertainer and beauty pageant queen. Hello Tommie!
Tommie: Hello Monika! I'm great, blessed, and highly favored.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Tommie: I am a GOD-fearing entertainer who enjoys life.
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be a stage artist?
Tommie: After I saw my first show back in 1978, I knew instantly I wanted to do it. 
Monika: Could you name some of the venues and shows in which you participated? 
Tommie: I worked in different venues across the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, and Mexico.

The older I get the more I have learned how to
tolerate the mess.

Monika: Have you ever thought about acting?
Tommie: I believe every time I perform a song on stage it's a form of acting.
Monika: You also take part in transgender beauty pageants. Could you say a few words about your pageants and trophies?
Tommie: I am a 10-time national titleholder, including Miss USofA, Miss National, Miss Continental, Miss Black America, and Miss World.
Monika: Being beautiful always produces a lot of girl power and empowerment. Do you often use it?
Tommie: Exterior beauty is nice but I truly believe inner beauty is better to have.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Tommie: The first Impersonators I saw were Donna Day, Hot Chocolate, Tasha Kohl, and Naomi Sims but I tried to find my own identity.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Tommie: It was just a different time in the '80s; anything associated with transgendered people was thought of as negative.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Tommie: I think trans women are making positive steps in society but just like any other group of people there are ones that bring negative light.
Monika: We are witnessing more and more transgender ladies coming out. Unlike in the previous years, some of them have the status of celebrities or are really well-known, just to mention Lana Wachowski in film-directing, Jenna Talackova in modeling, Kate Bornstein in academic life, Laura Jane Grace in music or Candis Cayne in acting. Do you witness the same trend?
Tommie: Laverne Cox I believe is another fine example of a positive face.

Making mistakes says 1 of 2 things...

Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
Tommie: I do believe that trans women are becoming a new frontier for human rights.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Tommie: I am an active voter and try to get issues and messages out there as often as I can.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Tommie: Love is very important to give and share.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Tommie: I love fashion. I design the majority of my stage clothes. I particularly like a more classic look.
Monika: You have a perfect figure. What do you do to stay so slim?
Tommie: I don't exercise. Maybe all the running in airports trying to catch that next flight keeps me fit.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Tommie: Writing my memoirs has been something I have been thinking a lot about lately.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Tommie: In 5 or 7 years hopefully I will be something along the lines of an entertainment coach.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, thinking about the entertainment career?
Tommie: I recommend to all new entertainers is to keep your individuality.
Monika: Tommie, thank you for the interview!
Tommie: Thank you very much for the interview.

All the photos: courtesy of Tommie Ross.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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