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.
I am currently a young ambassador for the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans homeless young people in crisis. It is such an amazing honor and also rewarding to help young people on the streets. I myself was homeless for 3 months until I got in touch with the AKT. I thank them from the bottom of my heart; if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be alive today.

Courtesy of Lexi Jean McPherson.

Monika: Why did you decide to write your autobiography?
Lexi: I decided to write an autobiography because I feel that it can relate to people’s everyday life, what they’re going through, and the struggles through the hard times that they are trying to overcome.
My life has been a battlefield that I am still today trying to fight for my equal rights.
Monika: Which aspects of your experience can be useful for other transwomen?
Lexi: In my experience as a transwoman I realized that everywhere you go there is going to be negative energy from people who like to discriminate against you.
You should be in the body that you want to be, and you should never back down from criticism, be strong, have as much love and support around you. People fear what they don’t understand that’s what makes them ignorant.
Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Did you have any support from your family or friends?
Lexi: I started transitioning in my 20’s. My family didn't live in Manchester, so communication wasn’t so easy, to begin with. It took my mother 2 years to come to terms with my transition but all in all my family and friends are extremely supportive. I think you need that when you want to fulfill your destiny.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Lexi: Absolutely, I have several role models; Amanda Lepore, she’s just unbelievably beautiful, successful, talented, and strong-headed. She’s just a legendary icon similar to Marilyn Monroe that people loved for her personality as well as her beauty. She was one of the iconic figures in movies.
And of course, RuPaul, who is just the Mamma of all drag queens. I love her beauty, the presence she brings on stage. I am a HUGE fan of RuPaul’s drag race. To me RuPaul represents transsexuals throughout the world; she’s a goddess, and I like her quotes “if you can’t love yourself how the hell can you love yourself” “good luck and DON’T F**K IT UP”.

Courtesy of Lexi Jean McPherson.

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Lexi: One of the hardest things is losing the people who are extremely close to you, and hoping they would understand and accept you.
You never know what reaction you would get from the people you’ve known all your life or your parents, or even friends. It is the hardest thing you can ever do, 
Transgender people vary greatly in choosing when, whether, and how to disclose their transgender status to family, close friends, and others.
The prevalence of discrimination and violence against the transgender community can make coming out a risky decision. Fear of retaliatory behavior, such as being removed from the parental home while underage, is a cause for transgender people to not come out to their families until they have reached adulthood.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in British society?
Lexi: There’s not enough support for transgendered women. The fact that people today are so ignorant and hateful towards transsexuals proves what sort of world we live in.
A transsexual woman can walk down the street and get called a man or gets threatening abuse from mean people, and nothing is being done about it. There are so many transsexual women throughout the world who have taken their own lives, been bullied or even raped!
More action, support, and guidance are needed. I feel there is not enough of that. I feel we’re ignored.

Courtesy of Lexi Jean McPherson.

Monika: What is your general view on transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Lexi: I recently bought a film called The Crying Game, which is such a powerful movie but also a love story between a transsexual woman and a heterosexual male.
It is great how she tries to make him see that there’s more to life than what’s between her legs. It's her heart that should be noticed not her gender.
Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBT communities? Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBT group?
Lexi: Absolutely, but when you look at the letters LGBT, that promotes every sexual orientation, but I wouldn’t understand why the transgender community would want to promote their own cause when the LGBT is fighting for all causes, it should be about unity and equality.
Monika: Is there anyone in the British transgender society whose actions could be compared to what Harvey Milk was doing in the USA in the 60s and 70s for the gay activism?
Lexi: I would probably say RuPaul. Although she is not transgender she is definitely a huge supporter of the transgender community. I was watching a documentary when RuPaul first started out as a drag queen. She turned into gold everything she touched. She has broken boundaries that no one in the world could ever break; it's such an amazing achievement that RuPaul had to do throughout her life, being a successful mamma drag queen, doing her TV reality show, releasing music that relates to people around the world. She’s just everything that the transgender community can relate to.

Courtesy of Lexi Jean McPherson.

Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Lexi: I’m not really into politics personally but transgender women can make a HUGE difference simply because they can make people understand that we’re not sexuality we’re gender, and we’re not being understood and recognized like we’re supposed to be. I think that in politics transgender women could seriously break the barriers around the world. 
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Lexi: The importance of love in my life is so important and simply it's just everything. I was in a relationship with someone who I was madly in love with but when we ended the relationship I was extremely devastated, heartbroken. I regret ever making that bad decision. Being with someone who loves you for who you are and not just because you’re a transgendered woman, such support and guidance in your life can make your future a brighter path because love always conquers all.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Lexi: I do love fashion absolutely. I like designer labels such as Chanel, D&G, Diesel, Vivienne Westwood (My favorite), but sometimes I do like to shop at Primark; they have such amazing clothes. As for me I buy the cheapest of the cheap and turn them into a million dollars.

Courtesy of Lexi Jean McPherson.

Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Lexi: My next step is to become an author; I am currently writing my very own autobiography but it needs a lot of help. Any generous people who want to help out, call me!! (JUST KIDDING).
No seriously, I would love to open up a hostel for lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender people, so I would like to make an impact on their lives, which would be an inspiration and also a great reward for me.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Lexi: My best advice would be to see how it makes you feel. That’s what worked for me. It wasn’t until I was presented as a man that I finally started to feel like a woman! Seek help and support because you are not alone.
Monika: Lexi, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Lexi Jean McPherson.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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