Thursday 9 March 2017

Interview with SOSara

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Sara, a Canadian video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube as SOSara. Hello Sara!
SOSara: Hey Monika, thanks for giving me an opportunity to share my story and hopefully reach those who need some uplifting and those who need a better understanding of us.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
SOSara: I’m really just a regular person. I didn’t transition and decide hey, now that I’m finally expressing myself as a woman, I should become a super glam diva! I just work hard to live my life to the fullest and give my 2 beautiful daughters the best life possible. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
SOSara: I'm sharing all my transition details from the ups to the downs because I feel like people need a better understanding of what it’s like in our shoes, and people aren’t getting that from Caitlyn Jenner unfortunately.
I also share it all to help the transgender community know that they aren’t alone in their struggles, but that they too can get through it and be happy and confident in their skin.

Sara's angels.

Monika: I am sure you get many questions from your YouTube fans. What do they ask for?
SOSara: I think the biggest question I get from my fans is how I trained my voice lol. It’s one of the hardest things to do when transitioning and one of the biggest things to help “pass” as a woman and not be called out for being transgender (clocked). It makes it much easier to be in stealth and not seen as transgender but as a woman.
Monika: What was the strangest question that you answered?
SOSara: I’m straight so I get a lot of guys who either ask or assume that it's gay to be attracted to me. My answer is always the same. Do you think a gay guy has any interest in me? No, because I’m a woman, and gay guys are attracted to men. It’s hard to comprehend but I really am a woman if you ask what truly makes a woman a woman. Is it her physical parts or is it more than that?
Ever since I was very young, I wasn’t like the other boys. My mom thought I was gay because I was so feminine and sensitive and just wasn’t the same as the other boys. I played with Barbie dolls with the girl across the street and wasn’t into the same things as the other boys were.
My mind has always been that of a female, even though I suppressed it and pretended to be the man everyone wanted me to be, it was always there. Being who I truly am has been so easy and effortless and to anyone who doesn’t know I’m transgender, I'm 100% woman. I don’t tell everyone, including my boss and coworkers.
Monika: Do you write scenarios for your videos or do you just improvise?
SOSara: Before coming out I would definitely have to write scenarios so I could control what I said, which I did most of my life in everyday situations; control everything I said. I don’t EVER need to do that anymore. What I say now comes from the heart and is effortless. I don’t think about what I have to say anymore, everything I say is natural and I don’t have to prepare at all for my videos. I think of a topic, I press record and I speak.

Bathroom selfie.

Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
SOSara: I, like everyone else in the world, am constantly transitioning from one stage of life to another. We are all transitioning ;) but the answer you want to hear is what I have done as part of my transition and what I have left to feel complete if I’m not mistaken.
I have been on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) for over a year and have been living full time as my real self for almost 2 years. I’m at a point where I’m very confident in who I am, I am comfortable in my skin, and am not worried about being in public and being seen as a freak like I was in the beginning.
Within the next few months, I'll be receiving GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery), and I can not wait! It's been a struggle dealing with having the wrong parts and how uncomfortable it makes me, not to mention it’s really messing with my sex life :/ 
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
SOSara: I'm definitely happy with the progress I've made on HRT. Before getting breast implants I was a B cup which is pretty awesome for HRT and above average. My skin has become softer, my face has become rounder with fuller cheeks, my waist has become smaller and some of my body hair has become thinner or not there at all.
As for the mental changes, I cry A LOT more now lol but I don’t mind, its refreshing to finally be able to FEEL and express my emotions. That has always been something that bothered me about pretending to be a boy; I held back all of my emotions and feelings and it hurt. I can have pretty intense mood swings which took a while to get used to or at least be more prepared for. Overall I'm very happy with the changes I've gone through on HRT.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
SOSara: Before coming out I followed basically anyone on YouTube that documented their transition. I'm not a big fan of Caitlyn Jenner as not many people can relate to her at all.
I do keep track of Gigi Gorgeous and Princess Jules but I also cant relate to them because I find them to be very glitzy glam girls and I'm more of a regular hard-working mother of 2.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
SOSara: It was all hard. Every bit of it except for the massive relief I felt with finally putting the costume away and the mental stress with it. Coming out to everyone was one of the most nerve-racking things I've ever done. Nobody saw it coming, I was the typical tough macho man in their eyes.
My grandmother, who passed away a few years ago, and my mother always knew though, or at least they thought I was gay lol. Learning how to dress properly wasn’t easy, makeup wasn’t easy, forgetting ALL the bad habits I taught myself in order to come off as the macho man everyone wanted me to be was tough; the way I spoke, the way I walked, my attitude, suppressing my emotions, etc. It was hard losing all my friends.

Bring it on!

It was hard going out in public looking ridiculous, feeling everyone’s eyes on me, judging me, laughing at me, talking about me behind my back. Doing job interviews knowing I most likely wouldn’t get the job just because of how I looked. It's also hard dealing with idiots and stupid questions but I handle it because I need to help people understand this better.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
SOSara: Canada is one of the better places to be for transgender men and women but it can always be better. As long as we’re allowed to pee in the bathroom we belong in and hate isn’t tolerated then I’m happy.
I feel extremely horrible and even terrified for my sisters down South. Trump has created a very hostile environment filled with people who think it's OK to hate anybody who’s different from them and transgender people have to fight harder than ever just for basic rights.
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
SOSara: I've only seen a couple of movies with people portraying transgender people and it seems fine to me, I don’t have a major opinion on this except that if it brings positive awareness to what it's like to be transgender then I'm for it.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
SOSara: I HATE politics, I hate politicians, I hate the lobbying, I hate the campaigns. I should know more so that I can help in a bigger way but I'm just so uncomfortable with everything to do with politics.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBTQ community?
SOSara: I go to a local support group as often as I can, but I don’t do as much for my local community as I wish I could. I’m working on rebuilding my life and one that can be good for my daughters. Until my life is more stable I cant do all the work I do plan to do for my local community.

Sara's 2nd birthday.

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?
SOSara: Well in a sense, the T doesn’t even belong in that group. Transgender is not a sexuality, it’s a gender identity. LGB is about sexuality. The transgender community is not a small one and there are many fighting for our rights and for equality, abbreviation or not.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
SOSara: I love fashion, I just can't yet afford all the fashionable pieces I want lol. I shop only when I can but I like trendy pieces. I'm a very colorful person inside and out so I usually wear things that are somewhat exciting.
I find the color I wear a lot is burgundy and it seems to suit my personality. I love my form-fitting dresses and my flowy skirts. I wear long sweaters in the winter and leggings or tight jeans as well as scarves. I'm always wearing some kind of jewelry and accessories.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
SOSara: I’m not huge on “transgender beauty pageants” but I like regular beauty pageants. My perfect world would not separate the 2 and would recognize transgender women not as transgender but as women. I've been accepted to move forward to the second part of an application for a regular beauty pageant and I’m excited to have the opportunity to show the world who I am and how I can fit in as a woman and not be separated into the group of being transgender. I also, of course, cant wait to dress up and look my best while doing it and spreading my message.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
SOSara: What would anyone be or do without love. Love is of major importance in my life. I love nothing more than my daughters and I will teach them about love and how to spread love and not hate. I long for a partner to share my love with and feel it back. It's almost like a dream… 
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
SOSara: I would love to write a book, it would not be a dull one that’s for sure, but I don’t have the patience for it. I started a diary when I began my transition but I'm so detailed and so much would happen in a day that I had to spend at least 30 minutes writing every night and I just don’t have the patience for it, that’s why I started my YouTube channel. I'm a very expressive persona and YouTube can capture that. I hope to one day have someone help me with writing a book because I just can't.

Photoshoots are fun. :)

Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
SOSara: All I can say is it’s worth it. I went through the hardest times of my life, hands down, after coming out and even then I had no regrets because I was finally free of my mental prison.
I had a bright and exciting future ahead of me and NOTHING/NOBODY would stop me from getting there. If you want happiness, unfortunately, you have to fight for it in this world, but the rewards are sweet. I would definitely recommend talking to a counselor to help prepare you and support you during this difficult journey.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
SOSara: My next step is to finish off my laser hair removal on my face because it is way too much work to cover up every morning and shaving sucks.
I'm going back to school in September for health and fitness promotion to become a fitness instructor and personal trainer which is also part of my 5-year plan. I plan to somehow get into public speaking and speak to schools about being transgender and anything else I can do to spread awareness and make this easier for the next generations.
Monika: SOSara, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
SOSara: The pleasure is mine. Anything to help.

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

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