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.
There are many subgroups within the TG community (like myself) who don’t specifically fit certain people’s definition of what they believe a transsexual or a transgender person is and I wanted to, hopefully, shed some light on that area.

Third Sex Life (2014).

Monika: Which parts of your autobiography could be of special interest to other transgender ladies?
Vennessa: Hopefully the parts about fighting for acceptance (as opposed to tolerance) and the separation of who someone is as a person as opposed to their gender, sexual orientation, or how they identify sexually.
Monika: You are also a very prolific vlogger …
Vennessa: Not as much as I used to be, but if I see something that is disturbing or misleading I might go on a rant about it!
Monika: Pantyhose seems to be your favorite woman's garment…
Vennessa: I love pantyhose! I wear them all the time, they are so comfortable!
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Vennessa: I don’t really follow trends. I try to have and maintain my own style and pick clothes that I think are me. I also design and make a lot of my own stuff. I actually go into quite a bit of detail about my style and love of clothes in Third Sex Life.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Vennessa: I think that transgender people in general not being fully protected under a sweeping, Federal, civil rights law like the ones that protect everyone else is reprehensible. There shouldn’t be or need to be, any special laws for us. There should be one law that prohibits discrimination against ANYONE based on race, religion, social status, sexual identity, sexual orientation, gender, etc.
Anyone should be allowed to work wherever they want, live wherever they want, or join the military, provided they can do the job and meet all the other realistic requirements. As for use of restrooms and things like that I also talk about solutions to some of those things in the book.
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Vennessa: So far the majority of them (based on what I have seen) have been portrayed in a bad light. Certainly, there have been attempts at portraying us as people, even somewhat realistically, on shows like Ugly Betty and the short-lived Dirty Sexy Money, but for the most part, the portrayals so far have come off as more offensive than anything else. I am attempting to help change that with lead TG characters in my book ‘Vennomous’.

Courtesy of Vennessa St John.

Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Vennessa: I talk about this in detail in the book also. I never really transitioned, I just grew up being me.
Monika: Did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Vennessa: Not really, no.
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect most? 
Vennessa: Anyone who has the courage to just be themselves and do their own thing regardless of what anyone or the rest of the TG communities think. My friend Tempest comes to mind.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Vennessa: Just living my life and being regarded as a person and not a novelty or a freak. 
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?
Vennessa: It is, but there is discrimination within this group also.
Monika: Is there anyone in the US transgender society whose actions could be compared to what Harvey Milk was doing in the 60s and 70s for gay activism?
Vennessa: I don’t think there is any ONE person who is covering everything but I do believe there are many out there who are doing a lot of good.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Vennessa: I try to avoid politics. I have seen too many things from the inside to want to exhaust myself arguing facts against opinionated delusions that are brought about by biased media sources, propaganda, wishful thinking, denial, and extreme idealism.
Too many people today want what they want and want it now with no concept of what it takes to get it or of the bigger picture behind it. There is a huge difference between politics and government and I don’t think many people understand that anymore either.

Courtesy of Vennessa St John.

Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Vennessa: I think love is very important.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Vennessa: Hopefully still writing and making a living at it! Though, realistically, I’ll probably end up working in a music store or something.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Vennessa: I personally have never struggled with gender dysphoria or anything like that and I don’t consider myself qualified to tell anyone else how to deal with their gender or sexual identity.
I can only speak for myself, but I would urge anyone who is struggling with ANYTHING to seek therapy, counseling, or support. Don’t suffer in silence just because others have trouble accepting you for who you are, that’s THEIR problem, not yours. Do what’s right for you.
Monika: Vennessa, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Venessa St John.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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