Friday 10 February 2017

Interview with Kira Darling Brand

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Kira Darling Brand, a writer, YouTube vlogger, the author of the biographical book titled "Becoming Her: From Man, To Woman: Part 1" (2016).
Kira: Hello, Monika! Thank you so much for this opportunity to shed a positive light on an oppressed and highly misunderstood group of people. I was absolutely thrilled to hear from you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kira: Certainly. I am currently 28 years old and struggling to find a stable career in the largely trans-phobic workforce of Alabama. I'm working towards establishing my career in writing, which includes books, short stories, and several genres of music. I am also a YouTube personality and video blogger, with a small following of about 2,200 people, who enjoy my comedy, political satire, how-to guides, and civil rights activism.
Monika: Why did you decide to write your autobiography?
Kira: When I first started my gender transition, I felt isolated and alone. I had so many questions about so many things, from medications to surgery options. I had a vast pool of questions, and what little support I did happen to find, wasn't always very helpful to my specific needs. I decided to start documenting all the information I found so I could possibly help other people along their journey.

Available via Amazon.

Monika: Which aspects of your experience can be useful for other transwomen?
Kira: Learning about myself and learning to accept negative reactions from family and friends were the hardest parts of my transition. I had to learn to stop caring if someone wanted to be in my life or not.
Being happy with myself and disconnecting from negative people makes a huge impact on being happy with your transition. If friends and family couldn't accept me as I am, then they didn't really love me, and I didn't want or need them in my life. Learning to be overcome these issues makes a huge improvement in your mental well-being.
Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Kira: I started my transition when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. But that didn't last long. My parents, sent me away to a therapy center for 18 months to undergo repression therapy. It worked for a long time.
I spent my life hiding my true self, although much of that time I was mentally unstable and ended up in and out of psychiatric hospitals. I wasn't happy. But when I was about 25 years old, I officially started my transition and decided that nothing and no one would stop me this time.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Kira: At that time, I had never heard of the term "Transgender". I didn't know it existed. I only knew how I felt about my assigned gender. Later in life, after I started my transition, I learned about Christine Jorgensen. Until she was outed by a magazine, she lived her life without anyone knowing about her former self. That was what I wanted. I wanted to blend in and live my life without the drama so many people must endure to be happy.
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
Kira: There are a few people I have met in support groups that appeared to be just like me: wanting to live happy lives without bigots hassling them because they looked Transgender. We have lost touch over these recent months, but they were respected nurses and lived unremarkable lives in respectable communities.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Kira: That's a tough one to narrow down. My marriage ended, although it was a rough marriage to begin with. My kids had a hard time at first, but they coped well after a few months. My family was 90% supportive, but a few people I held in high regard would have nothing to do with me, and I removed them from my life completely.
I also lost each and every friend I ever had, including my best friend. But if these people couldn't love me now, their love was conditional, so I didn't want them around anyway. With all that said, I suppose the hardest part was being happy when I looked in the mirror. I had to learn to love myself and what I saw. It's a daily struggle, as most of us know.

Exploring a 200-year-old abandoned

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?
Kira: I think it's difficult for us to support our cause together as one. A lot of Transgender people find hatred from the LGB community. Being Trans isn't related to sexual orientation. I identify as a lesbian, but I've had gay men tell me I'm gay and confused, not knowing I'm not attracted to men at all. And a lot of people feel this way. The LGB community is fighting for sexual orientation rights, and while the T may intersect at times, our mission is completely different.
Monika: What do you think in general about transgender news stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Kira: I'm not a fan of what I've seen so far. There may be good movies about Transgender people, but I've yet to see them. "The Dallas Buyers Club" (2013) depicted a Trans woman as a cross-dresser, whom everyone referred to by male pronouns and a male name. The Danish Girl (2015) depicted a Trans woman as someone who appeared incapable of controlling her sexual urges and cheating on her wife the first day out as herself. It's this negative light that reflects poorly on us and I think it would be so much better.
Monika: Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Kira: I have yet to lobby, as of yet. I've made my opinion known and called for action through my YouTube channel, and I once ran a Transgender charity providing free therapy services, but that fell through due to a lack of significant funding.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Kira: Funny you should ask! My girlfriend called me a "fashionista" a few weeks ago. I have a long selection of mid-thigh dresses I love to wear, and part of my "signature look" includes an assortment of necklaces and bracelets, 5 earrings, one of which is a chain and cuff on my left ear, and shoes! You can never have enough shoes! I don't follow current trends in fashion. I find things that fit well, look nice, and I'll wear anything that makes me feel beautiful and comfortable.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants? Some activists criticize their values, pointing out that they lead to the obsession with youth and beauty.
Kira: I have a problem with any form of a beauty pageant. Women have been oppressed for far too long. I feel as though beauty pageants contribute to making women appear as objects, rather than people. We should all be admired for who we are, not simply what we look like. 

Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Kira: I was married for 10 years. I left my wife on May 3, 2016. It's a long story, but I never loved her. Several months later, I made a new friend. She was the most amazing person I had ever met. She was also married at the time. We fell in love! I fell in love for the first time. We both got divorced and life for both of us has never been better. She makes me feel like the most beautiful woman she has ever met. It's truly amazing. So to answer your question, love is a huge part of my life. We do everything together.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Kira: I am currently working on my next book, Becoming Her: From Man, To Woman: Part 2. It should be available in May 2017 on Amazon. I'm also working on my next music record. I haven't spent much time on it with such a hectic schedule, but "1 Good Life" by Darl!ng should be out mid-2017.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Kira: Do something for yourself. If your hair is taking too long to grow, buy a real, quality wig and work on making it work for you. Don't go cheap on a wig. Practice your makeup techniques. Find colors that work for your skin tone and wear clothes that show your feminine curves. Most importantly: be yourself! Just be happy!
Monika: Kira, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Kira Darling Brand.
© 2017 - Monika Kowalska

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