Friday, 13 March 2015

Interview with Karen Adell Scot

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Karen Adell Scot. Miss Scot is a very diverse woman. She is an award-winning California high school science teacher, a movie producer, and screenwriter of feature films, a former Major in the military, a law enforcement officer, and recently a beauty queen. Hello Karen Adell!
Karen Adell: Hi there Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Karen Adell: Thank you so much for interviewing me. It is an honor to share a little bit of my life with your readers.
Monika: You hit the headlines in December 2014 when the American media covered your coming-out story. Were you satisfied with the way the media covered your transition? 
Karen Adell: Absolutely not. I was outed against my will on the front pages of many newspapers, on over twenty local news broadcasts and then was outed on all the major American national news broadcasts and went viral on the net. Many stories used male pronouns and then allowed comments where others called me a “thing” and “it” even calling for me to die as some sort of filthy piece of garbage. Some stories about me were so bad other news stories were written using my example of how NOT to write about transgender women.
Monika: What do you think in general about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Karen Adell: The tide is turning slowly. We were the only group a little more than a year ago that was still mocked in movies and on television. The perpetual joke of the huge overly made-up man with a beard in a dress as a supposed transgender woman who would be attracted to the protagonist of a comedy was still used even recently.
Now things are changing. We are being seen by many in the media as who we actually are: Transgender human beings born as we are, who need to be treated with the same dignity, kindness, and respect equally as any other rare minority among people. Stars like Laverne Cox and others are being allowed to show their professionalism and are depicting characters that are actually like we really are on television and in films. I am personally writing a movie screenplay where the protagonist is transgender.

At the Transgender Law Center SPARK Gala.

Monika: What was the reaction of your students when they saw you entering the class as a woman?
Karen Adell: The students were mostly very accepting and encouraging to me. They gave me flowers and wrote on a huge card, wonderful kind notes to make me feel welcome. Most of the students have been great, although there is a small group that reflects the bigotry of their parents and will never look at or talk to me when I greet them. No, it is the adults of the previous generations that are the biggest problem.
Interestingly, I was always entering my class as a woman, even before transition, because I WAS a woman. The only thing that changed was my presenting as real me instead of hiding. The kids saw immediately that I was so much happier in class and they commented on how much happier I seemed to them. They say I seem to be smiling all of the time, and I am.
Monika: What is the present situation of transgender women in American society? 
Karen Adell: The situation for us is deteriorating in my opinion. Our suicide rate is climbing, and the rate of transgender women being violently murdered, especially transgender women of color, is horribly rising. Our unemployment rates are abysmal, and a huge percentage of transgender people have experienced homelessness.
Health is a challenge for many women who are told they can get insurance help to transition but in reality when they are under Obama Care and relying upon state agencies like Medi-Cal, they are not able to get services easily. They are told they can get the services but the bureaucratic red tape makes it so the doctors are either paid a pittance for the surgeries or are not paid at all. The doctors simply then refuse to take the government health care and the transgender person finds they are left out in the cold. Without proper insurance help, Gender Confirmation Surgery and the vital and necessary Facial Feminization Surgery are so expensive; most of them cannot afford life-saving services.
There are women who have given up and threatened to commit suicide after finding an initial excitement that they may be covered for these procedures, that they really are NEVER going to get them because the government created walls of uncaring red tape, doctor refusal to take their insurance, and lack of government insurance payment. I personally have had my insurance refuse to pay for my estrogen even though I, by law, am supposed to have that guaranteed, forcing me to pay cash I did not have.
Monika: That was tough.
Karen Adell: American Society is ruled by a pervasive and widely believed paradigm that transgender men are just women posing as men, and transgender women are just men posing as women. They are seen by the religious right as perverts, pedophiles, deceivers, liars, and are acting to try to fool everyone. They are treated as an “abomination” to God and are seen as trying to subvert God’s holy gender binary created in the Garden of Eden.
They are seen as destructive to the dominant Christian culture and are a danger to the minds and thoughts of children. They are seen as invaders trying to gawk and molest persons in public and school restrooms. They are seen as needful of being set apart, shunned, ostracized, disdained, misgendered, and treated like the lying, cheating garbage that they are. Bad people deserve what they get, and hating and even attacking them is seen as okay.
Recently, near my home in California, five men went to an area where there is an LGBT community to beat up a transgender woman just for the sheer pleasure of, “beating up a tranny.” They attacked a Tran’s girl as she walked from getting coffee and broke her ribs, her cheekbones, split her lips, and caused her bruises and contusions all over her body. If she had not been able to fight back, they would have killed her. This paradigm in America and in many countries of the world is why we transgender women are being murdered violently at a rate of one woman every thirty-two hours now, and that rate is rising.
Karen just before
winning a beauty pageant.
Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Karen Adell: I initially transitioned as a tiny child. I was female from my first self-aware memories. I told my mommy I was a little girl and asked to wear a scarf on my head to simulate long hair.
In America, in the 1960s a little boy body with a girl inside did not go to school as a little girl, so I had to go to school as a boy. This started a lifelong bout with Cultural Gender Inertia ruling my life. Everyone expected me to be a boy and later a man’s man. I was forced to keep up this façade for decades.
I began my second and final transition on April 21, 2013, and never looked back. I was 55 years old. For me, the most difficult part was coming back to my true self and finding that nearly my entire set of friends and family had decided that I was not worthy of their time any longer. I was shunned by so many people.
My personal transition was fast and was done with scientific planning and style. I am a science gal who knows how to plan well. I am fully transitioned now.
Monika: At the time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Karen Adell: I didn’t have any role models at all. I was kind of a “Lone Ranger” in my area. Later I found out that others had gone before me and examined their pathways to see what I could do to enhance my transition. 
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now? 
Karen Adell: There are many whom I look up to. Other military ladies like me; Sage Fox and Kristin Beck to name a few. I also appreciate the difficult path actresses like Laverne Cox have had to travel, and ladies like Cece McDonald who had to fight for their lives and then were placed in jail just for saving their own life.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Karen Adell: The hardest thing by far was family shunning and disdain. The gigantic pain from being shunned is the causation of my suicide attempt. 57% of transgender people will attempt suicide because of being cut off from and not included any longer in their beloved families. It is so sad that in the time where you need the greatest support of your life, those who say they will always love you and be there for you are the FIRST to leave and shun you.
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?
Karen Adell: We try. I have had some huge support recently when I won the Miss Trans 2015 beauty pageant. A large number of gay and lesbian people were so sweet and supportive of the transgender people in our community. I know that in some areas, the transgender is put down and even ostracized from the LGB’s but here it does not happen. Here we are treated wonderfully and with kindness. This is how it should be.
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?
Karen Adell: Mara Keisling the Executive Director of the National Center for Gender Equality and those who are working at the Transgender Law Center are my heroes. Also, there are so many nameless men and women who are working tirelessly and with no fanfare to help in their own way, in their own area, who will never be known publicly, yet are as important as any big names.

Modeling for the NoH8 campaign.

Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Karen Adell: I am. I am prepared to lobby and speak anywhere to any size group on the issues that affect transgender people. I feel called, literally, to stand before politicians, large groups, and speak out to help transgender people.
I am trying to finish my course as a science teacher so I can work as an activist and advocate full time. We can definitely make a difference, but need to have the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time… And that takes money.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Karen Adell: I love fashion! I have a wide and varied wardrobe of very nice dresses, skirts, tops, and pants outfits. I follow fashion in magazines and work to improve and keep up make-up skills. I love every color and seasonally change from subtle colors to brighter colors as the weather warms up. I follow all the fashion trends and can usually wear most of the clothes the models are wearing. I simply love bikinis and have at least six. I am a girly girl.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Karen Adell: I am very lonely. I used to lie in bed as a married person (36 years) and was lonely nearly every night of my life. It was not my ex-spouse’s fault. I was an in-the-closet heterosexual woman and was waiting for the love of a man each night. I am still a totally straight woman. I do not have love. I have tried dating sites and get hundreds and hundreds of men checking out my page because of my pics, but except for the freaks, (can I lick your feet?,) they rarely contact me. I think they can’t get past the first line where it says, “I am a beautiful, vivacious, highly-educated, post-operative transsexual woman.” They rarely go any farther.
Sometimes it hurts to go to the dating sites and see how many, many men have visited but no contacts are there. I have shut down the sites more than once but still, as I have hope in my heart, go back and turn them on again. I have resigned myself to most likely never being loved or cherished in my life. I have come to peace about that though. I am my own best company and look on the bright side of a loveless life. I see that my freedom to go where I want to go and do what I want to do when I want to do it, is a very good thing. It allows me to help others with a large amount of time and energy.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Karen Adell: I have begun writing a book on my life and am in my first chapter. It is very hard on me to do this as the whole start if the book is about a little two-year-old transgender girl getting raped and molested on a weekly schedule by men for child pornography from two years old until nine years old. I will finish the book and it will be called AUTHENTIC.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Karen Adell: I am continuing to find time to teach science at school, regain the trust and renewed love of my family, go to therapy weekly, and live my normal life while working on my TransCare organization.
TransCare will be a national organization that will help transgender people with their transitions and fights for their rights. I work hard to help people online and give them encouragement and advice. I take people out shopping for their first dresses and give them makeovers.

Getting ready for church.

I am writing the outline for a screenplay for a feature film that will be based upon my life and also will be called AUTHENTIC. I have written seven movies and have had two in theaters: STRICKEN (A horror-thriller) and FIREFALL an Epic Family Adventure (a fun and hilarious comedy.)
Recently, a film production company has been filming me in my normal life with the thought of putting together either a series of documentaries or a television show. They filmed me the whole day I won the Miss Trans 2015 beauty pageant. I am excited about the prospects.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Karen Adell: Gender Dysphoria is normal for us. We are the correct gender brain in the wrong gender body. The incongruence of that fact is overwhelming. I recommend consistent counseling with a quality transgender educated counselor and participating in a transgender support group in your area.
Getting involved in helping other transgender people is a help to those who are having dysphoria. Giving of one’s self to help others helps the person who does the helping immensely. These things are not negotiable! A transgender person MUST see a counselor. I tell others to do White Light meditation where you relax your whole body and then flood yourself with healing light. It is a mental exercise and is not religious. I then float my problems before me and after seeing them from all aspects, destroy them. Finally, I fill myself up with joy.
So, counseling, group, giving of self, meditation, and finally TRANSITION! Transition as fast as you can at the speed that is comfortable for you. Make a plan and transition. Transitioning is what stopped my gender dysphoria. When my body was totally and completely right, my dysphoria went away. It can come back, and that is normal, but for me, it has not.
Monika: Karen Adell, thank you for the interview!
Karen Adell: Thank you, Monika. Please be well.

All the photos: courtesy of Karen Adell Scot.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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