Friday, 24 March 2017

Interview with Kenna Aloi

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kenna Aloi, an American video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube in her vlog Kenna's World. Hello Kenna!
Kenna: Hey Monika, I am so happy to be able to have this interview with you to be able to share my story on another platform, thank you so much for reaching out to me, I really appreciate it!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kenna: So as you know by now my name is Kenna Aloi, I am currently 22, and I am a hardworking millennial. I work 7 days a week and try to manage a YouTube channel on top of that and try to fit in some personal life as well.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Kenna: I love doing update videos on my life, where I am at, what I am doing. It's like an online diary that I get to share with the world hoping that people can relate and maybe be able to help them from my personal experiences. I can also look back and see how far I came from leaving my digital mark on the world which will probably last forever.
Monika: I am sure you get many questions from your YouTube fans. What do they ask for?
Kenna: I rather call my "fans" friends or subscribers because I personally feel that I'm not any better than any other person but as of right now, subscribers aren't very interactive with me. I wish they were though! 
Monika: Do you write scenarios for your videos or do you just improvise?
Kenna: I keep a list on my notes app on my phone to make sure I don't forget any ideas that I had, sometimes I have a terrible memory, but other than keeping the title as an example: "Military Dating." I'll improvise but I know what topic to talk about. I feel it would be more genuine to improvise instead of having a script.

"1 Year on Hormones" via YouTube.

Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Kenna: Right now, I am only on hormones for the past almost two years. I do plan on getting surgeries at some point in my life. Even though I work 7 days a week with 2 jobs I'm still broke haha.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Kenna: For the most part, I am definitely a much happier person now than I was prior to transitioning. I feel that I am farther along on the inside than the outside. Hormones only do so much for the body and at this point I need surgery.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Kenna: Oh I have so many trans role models, Gigi Gorgeous of course lol. Harlow Rose Monroe, Princess Joules, A Lions Fear, Maya. That's just a couple the list would be too long otherwise, haha. 
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Kenna: Coming out, in general, is so extremely tough, and unfortunately, I came out twice haha. First time I came out as gay because I had no clue what being transgender meant or was but as soon as I knew it was like a light bulb.
But the best advice I could give is to force yourself out of your comfort zone and just spit it out and the weight of the world will be lifted off of your shoulders and the feeling is extremely liberating. When I came out as transgender to my mom, I wrote everything down I wanted to say and I was shaking so badly haha. 
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Kenna: We are in a really tough spot because as a whole we are not really accepted completely by society and because of that it is extremely dangerous and we have to worry about "is this person gonna have a bad reaction if I wanna go to the bathroom and pee." It's hard not to live a life in fear but not to as much as I can.

"What Transitioning Meant To Me" via YouTube.

Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Kenna: So I heard about the movie "The Danish Girl," and what gets me mad about that is if you are gonna have trans characters let trans actors or actresses play them not a cisgender person. In "Sense 8" and the TV show called "Star" they have trans actors playing trans characters.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Kenna: I am not involved in politics and I don't participate in any campaigns but I am planning on enlisting and going into the active army. I will be the first transgender who transitioned previously before going to boot camp so that is awesome. And anyone who has a voice people are willing to listen to can make a huge change in society as a whole. 
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBTQ community?
Kenna: At the moment I am not involved, unfortunately.
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?
Kenna: I personally feel that we are able to actively promote in the LGBTQ group but we also promote outside of the group as well and so do all the others.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Kenna: Lately all I ever feel I wear is work uniforms, but I am similar to Kylie Jenner in a way that I am either wearing sweat pants or I am really dressed up. I usually go with the current fashion but absolutely love 1950's dresses they are amazing!
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Kenna: I think they are awesome I know that they are around but I haven't seen one. But if I had the opportunity I'd participate haha.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Kenna: I think love is important to have in life for me and for anyone, you have to have a love for yourself so you can be happy from within which can be difficult sometimes. I am currently single at the moment and for me, it is extremely hard to find that special someone to treat me the way I deserve to be treated.
There are so many tranny chasers who only want to be with you if you haven't had reassignment surgery because they view you more as a sex object. But also most guys who are into someone who is trans don't want to be open about it to friends or family and I'm not willing to be someone secret. I know my worth and I deserve more than that. So if you are a nice guy, you know where to find me haha.

"Are Guys Gay If They Date Transwomen" via YouTube.

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Kenna: If I had an opportunity, I would love to do a book! It would be a fun experience. 
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of transition, discrimination, and hatred?
Kenna: To be honest I say go for it because, in the end, it's something that you will regret doing for the rest of your life because if you aren't living your personal truth then you aren't living. And you just have to have thick skin.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Kenna: I see myself still in the military for at least 8 years and more if I like it. And they would help me with my surgeries I am hoping so that would be absolutely amazing. 
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transsexuals and transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Kenna: I completely agree with this, our biggest insecurities about "if my tuck looks good" "can they see my Adam's apple" anything along that line we would not be so insecure, and we can live our life to the fullest potential!
Monika: Kenna, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Kenna: Thank you for this opportunity, I really enjoyed talking to you, thank you.

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

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