Saturday, 18 February 2017

Interview with Crissy Red

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Crissy Red, a Canadian video blogger that documents her experiences being a transsexual on YouTube. Hello Crissy!
Crissy: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Crissy: I started transitioning in 1999 when I finally realized why I felt so limited in life. I always knew something was wrong because I could not have a romantic relationship, it never felt right. I went into therapy and it was then I was told that I was suffering from gender
I immediately started things rolling with changing my identity, hormones and arranged for surgery. By 2004, I had my surgery and have never looked back since. It was like being released from prison.

Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Crissy: I wanted to contribute somehow. I am not big on marches or parades. I’m also not incredibly political and didn’t find success in helping my local community. So I realized that video blogging was a great opportunity to share my experiences with a worldwide audience. I am theatre trained so speaking and improvising words and ideas come easy to me.
I also figured out that in the transgender community, people want advice and want to hear different experiences and views. Too many videos are about makeup, hair, and fashion. There are also too many vloggers out to shock and cause controversy. I wanted to do something that was light, friendly, and wide-ranging in topics. I also like to use humor a lot to make viewers feel at ease.
Monika: I am sure you get many questions from your YouTube fans. What do they ask for?
Crissy: I receive a variety of questions; many are about hormones and development. I try not to dispense too much about hormones as I am not a doctor so I limit answers to my personal experience. I always advise that they see a doctor for medical questions and issues. I, of course, get dating advice questions on how to handle situations regarding being transgender. What has touched my heart most are emails and private messages from parents asking how to handle their transgender child or how to handle their community’s prejudice.
Monika: What was the strangest question that you answered?
Crissy: Luckily I don’t get too many whacky questions, in fact, I rarely get negative comments in general! The weird questions are those ones it’s impossible to answer, like “does your vagina feel like a real one?” or “do you orgasm like a real woman?”. I have no clue what any of those things feels like, so I just ignore them.

Crissy as a boy aged 11.

Monika: Do you write scenarios for your videos or do you just improvise?
Crissy: I rarely write an outline for my vlogs. The more technical or serious ones I will have something written to guide my thoughts but mostly it’s just freestyling. Speaking publicly in any situation comes easy to me.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Crissy: Like I said, I had my SRS in 2004. I feel complete however I wouldn’t mind facial feminization done. I have never had my breasts augmented, I was so fortunate in developing rather well with hormones.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy? 
Crissy: Very pleased with the results. I was 32 years old when I transitioned but fortunately was never a ‘man’, didn’t have muscles and with my heritage, was never hairy, etc. So the hormones reacted fast and I developed well. I love what it did for my skin and hair. It’s miraculous to me. I am still on hormones to this day.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Crissy: I am old school; I love April Ashley, Christine Jorgensen, and Caroline Cossey! When I was very young, these women seemed like magic to me, I couldn’t believe what they had done was possible. It seemed like fantasy and far out of my grasp, so far that I waited until I was 32 to take action.
Monika: As for the Canadians, I am a big admirer of Jenna Talackova...
Crissy: Jenna is quite beautiful, I relate to her in that we are both native Indians she is Babine Nation and I am Blackfoot. She's not big on advocating and putting herself out in the media in regards to transgender issues, and why should she be? Just because we are transgender does not mean we are activists. However, she is young so who knows what the future holds for her.

Crissy in 2013.

Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Crissy: I am so very proud of our community today. My only concern is the pressure on those who have not transitioned, that beauty and glamour are required to transition. We are still too sexualized as well.
I also feel there is a difference between being a transsexual and being gender fluid. If you are okay with your male body parts (in the cases of MtoF) and have no desire to have reassignment surgery, then you are not suffering from gender dysphoria. I get in trouble for this point of view but I stick to my opinion on this.
However, I love that being transgender has such a variety of meanings. But those of us who are unable to live a normal life with the body parts we were born with are a special group and the core of what it is to be transsexual. 
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Crissy: It’s a slow tedious process for Hollywood to incorporate transgender people, but it’s happening. Inspirational stories and articles are more available than ever before. Unfortunately, there are still too many things in the movies, TV, and print that depict transgender people as psycho sex killers, etc. It still appears to me that we are seen as deviants to the majority of the public.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Crissy: I am not political and do not participate in marches or protests. I have a fear of large crowds for one thing. It takes the very brave ones to put themselves out there like that. I am so grateful for these people. I know a couple who do get involved in changing the political landscape of transgender folk and they always have my full support.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBTQ community?
Crissy: I don’t get involved too much in person with local activities. I donate my clothes regularly and attend the yearly vigil for murdered transgender women and men. With that said, I never hesitate to speak my mind when faced with contentious issues.
The college I am currently attending has no awareness in regards to transgender people, so I have been vocal on this and they have started on being this subject into view. I do not tolerate any type of prejudice from teachers or other students and so far have been successful in that.

Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBTQ communities. Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBTQ group?
Crissy: It is another subject I face criticism for because I personally do not like being glopped into one big group that for the most part has nothing to do with each other. Meaning, being gay is sexual, and being transgender is the body and mind not matching.
I have also faced being rejected by my gay friends after transitioning, which shocked and hurt me deeply. I also remember being at a party that was mostly for lesbian women. I was cornered by a group of lesbians asking me “who do you think you are thinking you can steal our womanhood”… I was flabbergasted!
The LGBTQ community is not the loving rainbow family the world thinks it is. There are many in the gay community who think it’s okay for them to call us ‘trannies’, but if we used the obvious derogatory terms on them, we would be in deep trouble. Those who identify as being bisexual are even still in question as the medical profession does not recognize that word.
I honestly am mostly concerned with the transsexual community, their rights to free SRS, and hormones and gender markers on their identification. It breaks my heart that many are suffering because their governments will not provide these much-needed services and funding.
I am in Canada and my government paid for everything, right down to the taxi fare!! This is how it should be worldwide.
Monika: Really?!! It sounds like heaven for transgender women! How about FFS or breast augmentation?
Crissy: Canada funds the reassignment surgery only. But that is major and necessary.

Crissy in 2016.

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Crissy: As a very tall woman at 6’2, so I am conscious of what I am wearing. My style is simple, tasteful, and practical. I love pink and red. I love leggings, maybe too much. I have lots of dresses but rarely wear them. Style is so personal so I love it when people express themselves, no matter how crazy.
I am conservative by nature, so dressing sexy is not something I do regularly, but I don’t consider cleavage sexually overt. I do put the effort into my appearance every day, my hair has to be perfect and even though I don’t wear much makeup I still want it to look flawless. I do have a couple videos on my makeup routine and want to do one on skincare.
I am 50 years old and have incredible skin, but I put effort into it. We are so blessed to be living in an age now where we can basically create our own styles without being judged too much. Age is less of a factor in what’s appropriate now.
Monika: You are 50 years old?!! I can't believe it!
Crissy: I made a video on turning 50. I think my ethnic heritage attributes to good skin.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Crissy: I love them. I think it can be very empowering for women of all varieties! It can also be a stepping stone to great career possibilities too. Transgender women probably put more effort in being beautiful than cisgender women!
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Crissy: I am single and open to love with a man. It’s not an easy road for transgender women. Obtaining sex is the easiest thing to do, for me, I can snap my fingers and have a hot young man at my door in a second.
However, this is not real love and my fingers aren’t magical enough to snap up love. From what I have seen though, it is possible. Just keep an open mind and heart!

Crissy in 2013.

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Crissy: No I haven’t, however, I have always wanted to write a novel regarding transsexual love. It’s a tragedy. I am so grateful to those ladies who have written autobiographies. 
Caroline Cossey has inspired and changed many lives due to her story that she graciously shared with us all. 
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of transition, discrimination, and hatred?
Crissy: It’s the reason I do videos on YouTube. I am filled with such joy at the responses I get from those watching my videos and commenting on how it has changed their lives or given them an insight on how life will go on after transitioning. These people need advice, support, and a positive outlook. Seeing others like them coping with life as a transgender person is a great way to instill courage and strength.
I am so fortunate because transitioning was so easy for me, I had no doubts, fear, or shame. With my family and friends, my attitude was ‘you’re either with me or not, you choose’. Fear is a state of mind; one must realize their fears are mostly imaginary. More often than not, family and friends get over it but aren’t given the chance.
However, many who are thinking of transition have very serious considerations, some are married with children. This is something I can’t help with as I was single and have no children; in fact, I’ve never had sex with a woman.
My own philosophy on this is: If ultimate happiness is a line 10 inches long, and life in your birth gender you’re only at a 3 in happiness, and after transitioning you are at a 5 or 6, it’s worth it because you’re still happier and getting to a 10, well most people don’t get there, no matter what their gender is!

Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Crissy: Presently I am in college taking Human Resources because I would like to be a consultant for companies teaching diversity in the workplace as more and more transgender people are coming out in the workforce. I also wouldn’t mind becoming a millionaire too!! LOL
Monika: Crissy, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Crissy: Thank you Monika for this opportunity to express my opinions on this subject. There are never enough articles, blogs, videos, or any type of media on being transgender. It’s vital that we continue to talk and share our experiences and embrace different ideas and points of view. Take care!

All the photos: courtesy of Crissy Red.
© 2017 - Monika Kowalska

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