Friday 17 March 2017

Interview with Ally

Today’s interview will be with Ally, a transgender woman that documents her transition on as Hey_Im_Allison. More recently she has launched the YouTube channel Allycat Makeup, which aims to help Transgender women learn to do makeup. Hello Ally!
Ally: It’s a real pleasure to speak with you, Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ally: I am a 25-year-old transgender woman and I have been transitioning since June of 2016! The three things that I enjoy the most in my life are traveling, music and makeup. I’ve managed to see 15 different countries, played guitar for half of my life, and in the last 7 months became absolutely makeup obsessed. I’m openly trans and believe in being proud of being transgender.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on Reddit?
Ally: When I had first truly admitted to myself that I was transgender and needed to move forward with the transition, I had wanted to express those thoughts in a very concrete manner. I suppose posting on Reddit was my way of declaring it to the world in a way that I could not take back. From that point onward I felt it would be an interesting way to document my journey and how much has changed.
Monika: I am sure you get many questions from Redditors. What do they ask?
Ally: I usually get messages from trans gals asking for specific advice about make-up or from individuals who are just beginning their journey and are not quite sure where to start. I am always excited to help others and answer their questions. Some people even just need someone to talk to and I always happen to listen.
Monika: What was the strangest message that you received on Reddit?
Ally: I once had someone message me stating that they were drunk and then proceeded to apologize for how badly they treated women over the internet all of their life. The message was simultaneously sad and somehow touching at the same time. It was quite an unexpected message from a complete stranger.
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Ally: I have been full-time for nearly seven months and have had Hormone Replacement Therapy for 6 months. I just recently completed updating all of my legal documents to reflect my gender and chosen name. My future plan is to obtain an appointment for SRS once I’ve reached my one year of ‘real-life experience.’ After SRS I believe I will have accomplished most of my transition goals as I do not plan on pursuing FFS or VFS.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Ally: I am incredibly satisfied with my results so far. I feel as though I’ve really had a lot of changes over the six months I have been taking HRT. Every day I am appreciative of my progress and incredibly excited about what the future holds.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Ally: My biggest trans role model would be the YouTuber Stef Sanjati. Her videos really helped me when I was beginning my transition. Her focus on trans issues, trans education, and makeup is always very informative and entertaining to watch! She has certainly been one of the inspirations that lead me to start my own YouTube channel. Most of my other trans role models are great friends that I’ve made through Reddit and trans-specific discord chat servers.
Monika: What drew you to makeup and inspired you to teach it to others?
Ally: When coming out I first had one of my best friends do my makeup. I just really loved the look I had with makeup on so I decided that I wanted to pursue learning it. My Reddit post shows an interesting progression in my makeup skills over time. My passion for beauty, makeup, and fashion really helped me work towards really becoming myself and the idea of who I always knew I was.

Just a selfie.

I found that watching makeup tutorials on YouTube was one of the best ways to learn, as you can pause and rewind as many times as you want. I do my makeup almost every day and I believe that this repeated practice really helped develop my skills.
Some of my closest trans friends were often saying that they wanted to learn how to do makeup and told me that I should show them how. I figured since there wasn’t an abundance of transwomen-focused makeup tutorials I would give it a shot! I just hope that I can help people learn!
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Ally: I love fashion! I would say I have a slightly alternative sense of style. I’m particularly fond of wearing cute vintage dresses and tights, but I’ll often also wear skinny jeans and a band tank top. Just wear what you like and have fun with it!
Monika: You’ve mentioned in some of your comments that you’re 6’1” tall. How do you feel about your height?
Ally: I love how tall I am. It is not something you are able to change, so you just have to own it. I even wear 4” heels sometimes! I think being so tall is also a challenge, but it has driven me to further work in sense of my makeup and fashion. When you’re this tall you inevitably turn heads, but I want them to just think ‘Damn that’s one pretty tall girl!’
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Ally: I’m concerned for the well-being of all transgender individuals within the United States. Once Trump had withdrawn the bathroom guidelines for transgender youth in schools, it was apparent to me that he was not going to fulfill his promise of protecting our rights. I am fearful that his administration will focus on further marginalizing us and continue using us as political scapegoats.
That is why I think it is all the more important for us to make our voices heard and stand up for protecting our rights and protections under the law. We have to remember that while he did win the presidency, he lost the popular vote. We have allies and support on our side.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Ally: While I do have a degree in political science, I am not currently participating actively in politics or lobbying campaigns. It is something that I would possibly be interested in pursuing someday. I think transgender people can make a difference in politics and recent trends in history support that. While we have made progress in recent years, there is a definite challenge to that progress so it is important that we push to continue progress.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBTQ community?
Ally: I am involved in an LGBT group at my workplace which supports the LGBTQ community. It is a great group of people that I’m proud to be a part of. I hope to someday soon expand my involvement within the community as well.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Ally: Love is something that is very important to me. It is something that you and your partner have to work hard at together. It's definitely not easy, but I believe when you find the right person it is all the more worth it.

Ally's vlog on YouTube.

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Ally: I think I would someday like to write about my experiences because I have quite a few interesting stories to tell. But I think I would want to wait for a couple more years of material to write on!
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Ally: My next step is to continue to work on my professional career, but I also love making YouTube videos as well as playing music live. It would be amazing to someday make money off of playing music or my videos. You never know what could happen!
Monika: Ally, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Ally: My pleasure Monika! Thank you!

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

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