Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Interview with Danni Rose Monroe

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Danni Rose Monroe, a young video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Danni!
Danni: Hey Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Danni: Well I am 20 years old, I live in Calgary, Alberta, and I make YouTube videos to help educate people about what transgender is.

Monika: Your vlog is very popular. You answer many questions about your transition. What has been the strangest question that you have ever answered?
Danni: I have been asked many questions, but I would say the strangest thing to me is how disconnected people are with kindness. I wouldn't say people have strange questions because if you are ignorant of something the best thing you can do is to ask about it.

Jordan Gooden Photography: photographed
by Jordan Gooden.

Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Danni: I love helping people, and I am really passionate about bringing the trans movement forward.
I guess what really pushed me to share my experience and points of view is the people who had no idea what trans was. I felt that by sharing my story that I could help educate people who didn't understand.
My goal was doing all of this to help other trans women and trans men feel that it's OK to be who they are, but also to change people's point of view on what it means to be transgender.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Danni: I have currently been on hormones for 19 months, almost at the two-year mark! I do plan on getting a few different surgeries, but I'm not sure what ones I will share with my followers, or if I'll share them at all. I'm sure one day I'll talk about it but I guess we all just have to wait and see what happens.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Danni: I am, I feel a lot happier with who I am. I think it's crazy how much hormones really change you, the confidence that HRT can give someone is amazing.
Monika: Which aspects of your experience could be used by other transgender women planning their transitions?
Danni: I think all aspects of my perspective could be used to help others. Not because I think my experience is superior to anyone's, but because while I was going through the earlier stages of HRT I found all of the other trans women's stories so helpful.
I think YouTube and the Internet are so amazing because you really get to see all the diversity and different perspectives of other trans women.

Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Danni: Trans women are definitely being more widely accepted in Canada. We have the same rights and freedoms as everyone else, and it's nice that the Canadian government doesn't treat us any different.
We aren't shut out by doctors or health care professionals, and the government actually helps fund SRS for those who feel they need it. I think we are at a good place and more people are definitely coming around.
Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Danni: Well they define the start of your transition when you start dressing and identifying as a female full time. For me, there isn't really an age that really stands out to me for when I started living as a female. I was always gender-bending and cross-dressing from a very young age, and people just started to refer to me as female.
Eventually, I was living as a female at work, in school, and in my day-to-day life, but when I would get home and be with my family that was the only place I wasn't considered female. It wasn't the process of starting transition that was difficult, it was the fact that I hid it from my family for so long. That's what made it really hard.

Jordan Gooden Photography: photographed
by Jordan Gooden.

Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Danni: Growing up there wasn't really any trans role models out there, I was really infatuated with Michael Alig and the Club Kids. I really looked up to them and was inspired by the atmosphere, the culture, and the underlying message that they had created.
One of my biggest inspirations then was Amanda Lepore, she was a part of the original club kids and she was the first transsexual I had ever known about.
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
Danni: I admire and respect all trans individuals because they are on the path to finding their own happiness.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Danni: Coming out was actually really easy for me, no one was surprised. I had been living as a female for a while so the only people I really needed to come out to were my parents. One day I just came home and told my parents I wanted to be female and they supported me.
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Danni: I really enjoy all the movies and things I have read in the media. It makes me really happy to see that the trans community is finally able to be a part of mainstream culture.
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?
Danni: Definitely! I think we have been trying to do this for a while now but we were maybe overlooked because of all the success that the gay community had with their equality and rights.
It's so amazing to see how far the entire LGBT community has come, but now that trans people are being introduced into mainstream culture our rights and issues are being brought to light.
I think it is important for all of us to promote our own cause because although we all come from the same community we all are very different types of people.

Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Danni: I actually don't know a lot about politics, as I have gotten older I have definitely become more interested in it, but I haven't really taken the time to get more involved.
I do however think that trans women can make a difference in politics. Most of us live our lives trying to make people understand and all we want is equality for all.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Danni: I love fashion, it's definitely something I am very passionate about. I wear a lot of dresses when working but I honestly like being casual the most nowadays. High heels are definitely my footwear of choice, but I love wearing sneakers from time to time. I mostly wear ripped denim and crop tops but I always like to switch things up.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Danni: Beauty pageants are cool, I don't really follow any of them though, It's not really my thing. I don't think they are wrong but I can't fully say that I support them either.

Instagram photo of Danni after a day of work.

Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Danni: Love in all its forms is a really big thing for me. I have had many struggles in life as most of us have and if it wasn't for my loved ones I wouldn't be alive today.
Although dating can be difficult and this path I'm going down can be lonely, I have accepted that the only love I need right now is from my close friends, family, and most importantly the love from myself.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Danni: I have thought about writing one, but I still have a lot more things to experience in life and I'd like to wait till I'm a bit older to work on that project.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Danni: I have been getting into more modeling recently. Definitely connecting with more people and other creative minds. 
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Danni: You're not alone, every trans person deals with dysphoria. I know it's really hard to deal with now, but stay strong and when you start to take hormones it will help a lot. 
Remember to try and stay positive and always surround yourself with people you feel comfortable around and who truly love and cherish you for who you are.
Monika: Danni, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Danni Rose Monroe.
© 2016 - Monika Kowalska

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