Monday, 10 May 2021

Interview with Catriona

Monika: Today I have invited Catriona, a Scottish transgender lady, LGBTQI+ advocate, gamer, and photographer that documents her transition on social media. Hello Catriona! 
Catriona: Hi Monika, thank you for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Catriona: I am a 37 year old transwoman from Glasgow, Scotland. I began my transition at the age of 34 and began documenting it shortly after.
Monika: Why did you choose Catriona for your name?
Catriona: Quite simply if I had been assigned female at birth, Catriona would have been my name.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Catriona: There is still too much misinformation and incorrect assumptions about what it is to be a transgender person. By sharing snippets of my life and experiences I hope to show people that whilst I am a transgender woman that is only a small aspect of my life.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Interview with Angelica Volkonskaya

Monika: Today I am going to talk with Angelica Volkonskaya, a businesswoman, model, and transactivist from the capital city of Minsk in Belarus that shares her transition story on social media. I have never interviewed a sister from Belarus before, so I am very happy to meet you. Hello Angelica!
Angelica: Hello everyone! Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Angelica: I am from the glorious city of Minsk. I am very glad that my passport includes the same information that I have always wanted to correct. And I am proud to say that according to my passport data, I am already Angelica. This is not an easy way, but it is worth living as you always wanted and felt.
Monika: You seem to be a woman of many talents.
Angelica: It is very difficult to talk about myself. Usually other people talk about us because they can give a more accurate assessment. To say how good I am, I am not interested. I know only one thing, I constantly challenge everything and everyone, because I understand that in order to achieve something I must be strong in spirit.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Interview with Marissa du Bois

Monika: Today my guest is Marissa du Bois, an American software engineer working on AAA Games for a fortune 50 company. She is an award-winning LEGO maker and contributor to She is the inventor of multiple DIY LEGO electronic devices including two point-and-shoot cameras, a digital picture frame, a LEGO computer, and self-orienting panoramic camera. Marissa has contributed multiple props for a series of commercials for the LEGO group. Marissa is an Ally-Award winning corporate LGBT employee resource group leader and helped influence an Amicus Brief in support of Bostock vs. Clayton County as well as the Business Statement for Transgender Equality. She is an avid gardener and lives in Oregon with her husband of 10 years. Hello Marissa!
Marissa: Hi thanks for interviewing me. I read your interviews frequently and I appreciate the candid first person perspective of the people you feature.
Monika: How are you holding up in these crazy pandemic times?
Marissa: Doing well, got my first vaccine dose and hopefully seeing the light at the end of the tunnel soon. The quarantine has allowed me to focus a lot of my energy on engineering, gardening, and 3D printing hobbies, but I’m looking forward to getting out and spreading my wings soon.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Interview with Alessia Bergamo

Monika: Today I am going to interview Alessia Bergamo, an Italian model, showgirl, beauty pageant queen and TV personality, holding the title of Miss Trans Italia 2013. Hello Alessia!
Alessia: Hello Monika! With this interview I hope to give courage and esteem to all the transwomen who are facing this difficult transition path like me. I would like to make it clear that we too can become accomplished, beautiful and famous on TV as much as cis women.
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. Could you say a few words about yourself? 
Alessia: Like the majority of transgender women, in the past I had a bad life full of difficulties. I put a lot of effort to be fulfilled as an artist and known throughout Italy on TV as a columnist and soubrette.
For many years I have been working in the best Italian clubs as a sexy star with my burlesque shows. I am also a model of artistic nude, glamour and cosplay photos. I could achieve it thanks to the first place I won in the national beauty contest of Miss Trans Italia, which gave me a lot of visibility throughout the nation.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Interview with Louise Croucher

Monika: Today I am going to interview Louise Croucher, a British aspiring writer from London who has recently put down the pen to start her own handmade candle making business. She is the author of “The Butterfly on Fire: Mind, Body and Soul” (2017), “The Butterfly on Fire: Caterpillar to Chrysalis” (2018), and “Horned Winged Blessed” (2019). Alongside her career as a writer, she is now the founder of The Arlete Way Ltd., a company that promotes better well-being and standard of mental health through a three week routine that involves a wonderful selection of essential oil gift sets. Hello Louise!
Louise: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Louise: Well, you already know the main points of interest about me! I grew up in South East London, and other than my time living in Japan, I have lived in London all my adult life. A few years ago I moved into my own flat in North West London, and I love it there.
I'm a transgender woman, and write mostly dystopian fantasy. The transgender element is usually incorporated naturally, to show how societies could potentially just treat it as a normality - which is my ultimate goal and outcome.
Monika: Louise is a nice name. Why did you choose it?
Louise: It was what my parents said they would have chosen if they had given birth to a natal girl. I liked it. So that was that! I specifically wanted to go with something simple and perhaps even mundane, so that I could blend in when I have to.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Interview with Ella Baker

Monika: Today I have invited Ella Baker, a Korean-American model, poet, Zen student in the Kwan Um School of Zen, and transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Hello Ella!
Ella: 안녕! Hi! Thanks so much for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ella: I’m a second-generation Korean American and a queer transgender woman of faith. I manage college programs for high schools throughout California and am finishing my Doctorate in Education at the University of Southern California this year. My research specialty is in belonging and how a sense of belonging impacts academic, psychological, and social outcomes. My dissertation specifically focuses on transgender college students and I’m hoping to provide colleges with student-centered data to improve their climates and policies.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Interview with Aeme Benali

Monika: Today I am going to interview Aeme Benali, also known as Ts Jade Perfume, a non-binary person, community worker, sex worker, vegan and queer individual, and social media influencer from Montreal in Canada. Hello Aeme!
Aeme: Hi Monica, thank you for the invitation!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Aeme: I am Aeme, pronounced like A.M; I am a trans non binary person from Montreal. I manage the Facebook page La Mafia Trans and I created an OnlyFans for my sex worker alter ego, Ts Jade Perfume (transnextdoor), which is a female figure who work for body acceptance. I am also a sober, vegan and queer individual who works as a community worker with the LGBTQ community.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Interview with Ritz Scarlet Arbuckle

Monika: Today I am going to interview Ritz Scarlet Arbuckle, an American video games and sound design specialist from Seattle that shares her transition story on social media. Hello Ritz!
Ritz: Hi Monika, thanks for inviting me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ritz: Sure! I'm a 28 year old musician, gamer and streamer! Gaming and music have always been my passions so I combined them and got a Bachelor's of Art in Music and Sound Design with a focus on video games. I play double bass and bass guitar, along with a smidge of keyboard and singing.
After coming out I've started considering myself something of a fashionista! Fashion is easily up there alongside games and music for me now that I am comfortable exploring the aesthetics I've admired for so long! I'm presently on a hiatus from my sound work to be at Starbucks, as their transgender benefits are one of the very best in the country and it's a wonderfully progressive company to work for. I also stream games on Twitch on the side.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Interview with Hayat Çelik

Monika: Today I am going to interview Hayat Çelik, a Turkish transgender activist from Istanbul, LGBTQ+ activist, and YouTube vlogger. Hello Hayat!
Hayat: Hello to everyone from Turkey, Istanbul!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hayat: I was born in 1980, in a small village in Sivas, as the youngest child of a family of 4 children living on a farm. I often compare myself to the cartoon characters of my childhood, Heidi and Yakari. I was born in the arms of Mother Earth, so I have a strong connection with Nature.
After completing primary education in a village school, my family enrolled me in a state boarding school in order to continue my education. Since our financial means were not sufficient, I stayed in the state dormitories for most of my education life, including university.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Interview with Johanna

Monika: Today I am going to interview Johanna, a Swedish businesswoman and Managing Director in one of the biggest Swedish high-tech companies, and a happy parent. Hello Johanna!
Johanna: Hi there Monika! It’s a pleasure to meet you like this. And how fitting in these strange times of social distancing.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Johanna: I’m a 47 years old transgender woman living in Sweden. It took me a long time to come to terms with who I am – a woman – I needed 45 years of my life for that. Sometimes I wonder why it took me so long and what life would have been like, had I transitioned earlier. I have no clear answer, only that I needed that time to develop into who I am today. But once I had accepted my gender identity, there was no turning back, never any choice really; I simply had to live as myself. And today I can love myself for who I am. I no longer define my value solely by what I accomplish. My self-esteem has increased a lot since I started living as a woman.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Interview with Amber Rose Washington

Monika: Today I am meeting Amber Rose Washington, an American author, songwriter, musician, producer, public speaker, and advocate for the transgender community originally from Liberty, New York. Amber has been featured on FOX, NBC, CBS, NPR, and a host of other media. In 2020 she published her memoir "Hiding from Myself: My Complicated Rebirth Into Womanhood and My Own Skin". Her new Podcast, "THE JOURNEY, Unscripted" is scheduled to begin airing in April 2021. Hello Amber!
Amber: Hello Monika! It’s nice to be here.
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. I have listed so many of your professions and interests. I am wondering which one you are most eager to pursue.
Amber: I’ve done many things in my life, partially due to what I call, self-inflicted Occupational ADD. I kept myself busy so I would have very little time dwelling on my incongruity. I spent nearly three decades in the music business.
Music was a perfect outlet for me. I began writing music at about the age of thirteen and was fortunate to have several successes along the way. Although I will always be a songwriter, I really enjoy writing stories as well as helping others tell their stories.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Interview with Alison Ashdown

Monika: Today I am going to talk to Alison Ashdown, an inspirational transgender woman from Toronto, Canada. Alison is a fashion model, actress, film writer/director, and transactivist. Her artistic short film “Forever Changed” was produced and released online in 2020. Hello Alison!
Alison: Hello Monika! Thank you for having me!
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Alison: Yeah certainly! Let’s see. Well, I love to try new things when I get that passionate interest peaking. It’s how I ended up in modelling, film, fashion studies, and ballet. One day, I asked my friend to do a photoshoot with me and that blossomed into a dream come true with modelling. I’ve been published four times and participated in several runway events.
In fact, at the end of my first year in 2019, I was chosen to walk the runway in Los Angeles for the Equality Fashion Week. Had the time of my life! And with the confidence I gained in front of the camera and on stage, I moved to try my hand at writing a film and subsequently acting and directing it as well. And since then, I moved to Toronto to study fashion management at George Brown College and recreationally train in the Royal Academy of Dance classical ballet program.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Interview with Marcie Primrose

Monika: Today I am going to interview Marcie Primrose, an American vlogger that shares her transition story on social media. Hello Marcie!
Marcie: Hey Monika! It's wonderful to meet you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Marcie: I'm a gal on a gender journey. I've spent my entire adult life exploring who I want to be. It's a bit daunting to realize you can be whoever you want. Now I'm a punk-goth-pastel-fem-Egirl sharing her body with the world. I want everyone to know that a woman can look like me too.
Monika: Marcie is a nice name. Why did you choose it?
Marcie: I'm a huge Adventure Time fan. My favorite character is Marceline, a powerful sapphic vampire. What more could I ask for in a character? I shortened that to Marcie to sound less formal.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Interview with Antin Belizar

Monika: Today I am meeting Antin Belizar, a Filipino make-up and hair stylist, and YouTube vlogger. It has been 10 years since she launched her Antin Belizar vlog where she shares her beauty tips and transition story. Hello Antin!
Antin: Hi Monika! I'm really glad answering your questions and thank you for this opportunity.️
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Antin: My name is Antin. I was born and raised in the Philippines. I am proud to say that I am a transgender woman. I work as a call center agent in the BPO industry as my main source of income. Sometimes I like to indulge in little activities to help me escape from reality. That's how my YouTube channel was created. In my channel you will see me create different makeup Inspirations and most importantly some videos I have shared about my true Identity. I'm just a normal person; I'm far from being perfect. I'm just me.️

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Interview with Dani Masterson

Monika: Today I am going to talk to Dani Masterson, an inspirational transgender woman from Boston, Massachusetts. Dani is a fashion model, social media influencer, transgender activist, and sales consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. She advocates raising awareness for transgender inclusion at workplace. Hello Dani!
Dani: Hello Monika, thank you for having me.
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. Could you say a few words about yourself? 
Dani: Oh thanks, I appreciate that. However, what I can tell you is that like any other human I also have many areas of opportunity. I think what you are describing as "talents" I'd like to categorize as dedication. I am someone who is very determined and committed to put the work in on whatever makes me feel passionate. I found rewarding being able to contribute to my community by showing the world a woman of transgender experience can be someone well rounded, wholesome and beautiful beyond the physical aspects.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Interview with Miss Rose

Monika: Today I am going to introduce you to you Miss Rose, an Australian trans escort girl, model, and former commercial skipper. Hello Rose!
Rose: Thanks for having me. I love being me and sharing my story.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Rose: When talking about myself I always find it hard, despite I have such a story to tell. I'm a post op trans woman. I have had top, boobs and bottom surgery, neo vagina done, and absolutely loving it; it finally made me myself and I'm very proud of who I'm. It happened only a few years ago but it was so nice to be myself.
I'm an easy outgoing kind of girl, who loves catching up with friends and making new friends. Did I mention I love my job? 
Monika: Haha, I guess we can read it between the lines. When did you decide that you would like to be an escort?
Rose: In my younger years I was once a bit desperate for work, and I worked for a short time as a male escort. So after transitioning and finding out that no one would employ me in the marine industry anymore as a commercial skipper (my former occupation with teaching as well) I decided to become an escort. I had some contacts to help start me up, and haven't looked back.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Interview with Robin Rose

Monika: Today I am going to interview Robin Rose, a young trans girl from Belgium that chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Robin!
Robin: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Robin: I'm 25 and currently finishing up my bachelor in HR as well as having my eye on a possible master in business psychology in the future. Going through depressive episodes due to gender dysphoria as a teenager and adolescent has had a big impact on my career as a student, so I'm quite proud of myself for not giving up.
I hope to make a positive contribution to the community and help against the discrimination against minorities at workplace. I'm also passionate about makeup, fashion, yummy food and generally leaving this world a better place than when I came into it.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Robin: I didn't have many role models when I was growing up. My biggest regret is not transitioning sooner, so if I can inspire someone else to live authentically by sharing my experience I'll gladly do it.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Interview with Victoria Karppinen

Monika: Today I am taking you to Finland where my lovely guest Victoria Karppinen lives. She is a model and social media enthusiast. We are going to touch upon her transition, inspirations and challenges that she has faced as a transgender woman. Hello Victoria! 
Victoria: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Victoria: I'm a transgender woman from Finland. I love socializing and meeting with other people. I'm 33 years old and I have lived now about 6 years fully as a girl. I have been on HRT for around 4months now.
Monika: Wooow! You lived as a woman for almost 6 years without being on HRT? 
Victoria: Yeah almost. I used to order meds from the Internet, which were not like prescription ones. And I took only female hormones, not any androgen blockers. I had no idea whether they were harmful or not, which was quite stupid.
Anyway I had used them before I started the correct treatment. So I lived as a woman without any meds for around 5 years, and then I started to order them via the Internet. Obviously, I could not see any results because I did not take testosterone blockers.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Interview with Adriana Roberts

Monika: Today I am going to interview Adriana Roberts, an American performer, DJ, event producer, and model. She is the founder and Queen Mother of Bootie Mashup, a nightlife and music brand dedicated to the art form of the pop mashup, producing theme parties and livestreams. Hello Adriana!
Adriana: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Adriana: Sassy, smart, and sexy. There, that’s a few.
Monika: Adriana is a nice name. Why did you choose it?
Adriana: How do you know I wasn’t born with it? Actually, the name is a variation of a character’s name from the 1981 cult film “Liquid Sky.” 
Monika: I always wanted to have dreadlocks like you. How long have you been wearing them?
Adriana: After Burning Man 2003, my hair was already dreading, from all the dust storms that year out in the desert. Rather than deal with untangling it, my stylist suggested I just go all the way with it (but with better salon care, of course). And the rest is history. I’ve had dreadlocks ever since.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Interview with Eva Echo

Monika: Today I am going to take you for a journey to the city of Birmingham, in the West Midlands, England, where I am meeting Eva Echo, an inspirational lady that loves tattoos. Eva is a transactivist and Ambassador of London Transgender Clinic. Hello Eva!
Eva: Hi, it’s lovely to meet you!!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Eva: I’m an activist, blogger and spokesperson based in Birmingham, UK. I’m a brand Ambassador for London Transgender Clinic, an activist and trans spokesperson for the charity Gendered Intelligence and I also sit on the Crown Prosecution Service’s panel for hate crime.
Monika: Why did you choose Eva for your name?
Eva: My name comes from my friends’ band name, Eva Plays Dead. Prior to coming out and transitioning, they had some instruments stolen from their band van. I set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for replacements and I said that I’d legally include Eva as part of my name, if we hit target. We did hit target and I did change my name. When I subsequently transitioned, I chose to keep Eva as my first name.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Interview with Jamie Berthon

Monika: Today I am going to host Jamie Berthon, an Australian model, videographer, future personal trainer, social media influencer and transgender woman that shares her transition story on social media. Hello Jamie!
Jamie: Hey Monika, I'm hoping to explore myself through this as much as anyone else wanting to listen.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jamie: Well, I'm Jamie and I am trying to kick start my career as a model, and learning about fitness to eventually become a personal trainer along with it. I started hormones in January of 2019 and properly came out January of 2020. Along with those huge moments for me, I've been enjoying life to its fullest.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Jamie: I have had a lot of great friends over the Internet that I have helped in certain aspects, mostly regarding fitness. I want to share my experiences and knowledge to hopefully inspire other trans men and women to grow as themselves. That's the main reason I'm studying to become a personal trainer too, to help trans people be comfortable in the body they have, as I have found a lot of joy in fitness myself.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Interview with Nguyễn Hoàng Trúc Quân

Monika: Today I would like to take you to Vietnam where one of our sisters lives. Nguyễn Hoàng Trúc Quân is a trans enthusiast, make-up artist, and support lady at shared services center from Ho Chi Minh City. Trúc Quân was a co-founder of Trans Women Vietnam, an organization that supports the local transgender community, and now she is a moderator for another trans group called Vietnamese Trans Girl's Community, so she is the best person to share some interesting stories about our trans sisters from Vietnam. Hello Trúc Quân!
Trúc Quân: Hello there! Thank you for the introduction. Well first I have to say that I am honoured to be a part of this worldwide blog and to present the life of a Vietnamese trans sister like myself.
Monika: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Trúc Quân: My name is Trúc Quân - you can call me Quinn, as it sounds similar to Quân. I am a 21 year-old transgirl living in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh city. I am currently working as a customer care office lady. While I did learn to be a professional makeup artist, I do not do make-up very often, only when other people request me to. (PS: If any foreign ladies out there in Ho Chi Minh city want some make-up and probably a meeting with me, just give me a shout-out, I would love to meet you in person.)

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Interview with Lennie Blockmans

Monika: Today I am going to host Lennie Blockmans, a young model and social media influencer from Antwerp in Belgium. Hello Lennie!
Lennie: Hello Monika! Thank you so much for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lennie: My name is Len, but most people call me Lennie. I'm 22 years old and I live in Antwerp where I study psychology. My interests are fashion, art, music, pop culture and things like that. I came out as gay at 15 and when I was 17 I came out as trans. I completed my medical transition last year and I'm happier than ever.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments via Instagram?
Lennie: I've always been very open and honest about everything regarding my transition. I use Instagram as a visual diary where I document my life, just like most people. But when I started my transition I figured it would be nice to have a timeline with pictures from start to finish and I'm very happy I did that.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Interview with Hannah Herr

Monika: Today I am going to host Hannah Herr, a German social media influencer and transgender woman that shares her transition story on social media. Hello Hannah! 
Hannah: Hi Monika! Thanks for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hannah: I'm 30 years old, and I studied biology and English before I got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I then tried myself as an optometrist for a few years until my condition got worse and had to quit my job as well. Now I am writing a blog on Instagram about being transgender while having a chronic illness, my life with my partner, my cat and whatever comes to my mind really. It has been a great outlet for me.
Monika: Hannah is a nice name. How did you choose it?
Hannah: I was set on the name Linda for the longest time, but a friend pressed me for an alternative and I spontaneously came up with Hannah. He loved it and it instantly grew on me, because it was similar to my old name phonetically, but different enough to not make an instant connection to the dead name. It is also a palindrome and I could keep my initials, the perfect name!

Friday, 19 March 2021

Interview with Daniella Schofield

Monika: Today I am going to interview Daniella Schofield, a British beauty expert and Avon representative from Blackpool in the United Kingdom. In 2019, Daniella joined Avon, a direct sales company in beauty, household, and personal care categories, which changed her life. So we are going to ouch upon the Avon story and her personal challenges related to her transition. Hello Daniella!
Daniella: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Daniella: Hi! My name is Daniella Schofield, I started my transition in 2016, when I was 35, and at the time I was managing services in health and social care. In 2018 my mother's partner and carer suddenly passed away, which totally devastated me. My life changed from that day. I left my job and started caring for my mother at home, and times became very hard, hard emotionally and even harder financially, as I needed money.
I had no idea what I was going to do, so I joined Avon. I saw an advertisement on Facebook, and signed up, I had no real expectations, but it was worth a shot, just to feel like I was doing something that gave me an escape, something to focus on. I was really low; little did I know Avon would change my life.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Interview with Destiny Maylas

Monika: Destiny Maylas is an Australian transgender advocate and vlogger of Filipino origin. Her Destiny Maylas vlog on YouTube can boast over 25 thousand subscribers that follow Destiny's recommendations about HRT, MTF transition, transgender life, surgeries, and everything related to being Transgender. Hello Destiny!
Destiny: Hello Monika. Thanks for having me.
Monika: How are you holding up in the crazy pandemic times?
Destiny: Thank you for asking. I am doing okay but I'd say things can be better, you know. I hope you're doing well too.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Destiny: I am a curly Filipina transgender woman of colour who is very passionate with my advocacy of safe HRT for Trans Pinays, which is the main focus of my YouTube Channel, where transwomen all around the world who have no choice but to do DIY-HRT can benefit from.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Interview with Connie Fleming

Monika: Today I am taking you for a fantastic journey to the world of fashion and glamour, as my guest is a Jamaican-born model and showgirl. Connie Fleming, also known as Connie Girl, started her career as a showgirl in New York City’s clubs in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Her beauty caught the attention of the fashion industry very quickly and she has become an iconic character in modeling, makeup, and clothes design. Some of you may remember the 2012 Candy magazine cover with her photo impersonating Michelle Obama. Hello Connie! 
Connie: Hello Monika. Thanks for having me.
Monika: How are you doing in the pandemic times? Do you have a chance to work normally?
Connie: I’m doing well, and not gonna complain. At the beginning when the Standard closed, it was a bit nerve racking but I had a couple art projects I hadn’t time to work on, so I started with them. It then went on from there to a series of tattooed men pencil drawings, a Black Lives Matter. And Black Trans Lives Matter pieces I did for my friend James Gardner’s restaurant Gitano. So as always in my life Art brought me through the bad times.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Interview with Katherine Reilly

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Katherine Reilly, a Greek-American author, teacher, educational blogger, and active contributor to humanitarian efforts. She works at a private school in Athens Greece, teaching English to learners of all ages. As an author, she works for an international publisher and can boast multiple children’s books and novels. Katherine is known for her children's book trilogy “The Adventures of Ben & Friday”, her guidebook “The Road to Femininity: A New Life for a New Woman” (2016), and novel “I Can’t Love You” (2018). She is also a TEDx speaker and trainer, organizing Ted-Ed clubs and using her experience to motivate, inspire and assist students in reaching their true potential. Hello Katherine!
Katherine: Hello Monika, it’s so nice to see you again!
Monika: We have not heard from each other since 2017 when we did our first interview and suddenly you told me that you would like to go stealth and remove any links with your transgender past. It must have been a very dramatic moment of your life.
Katherine: Imagine establishing a career only to be threatened with being fired due to trans identity. At the time, I was employed as a teacher at a private school. My employer told me that if word came out that I was a transgender woman; I would be out of a job. I had grown extremely attached to my students who loved me dearly. I was faced with the dilemma of losing my kids, my job and of course the income to support myself. For a while, I went off the radar, contemplating what my life had become.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Interview with Violet-Jane

Monika: Today I am going to host Violet-Jane, an American young design artist, and transgender woman from Rochester, NY, that shares her art and transition story on social media. Hello Violet-Jane!
Violet-Jane: Hello, Monika, thanks for reaching out!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Violet-Jane: Absolutely, so I am a 27 year old non-binary transgender woman. I am a design student, artist, chef, and writer. I am hard-of-hearing and I am bilingual (English and American Sign Language). I'm a lifelong student and community advocate.
Monika: Do you cook professionally or only for yourself?
Violet-Jane: I used to cook professionally but between a growing disability and how the environment damaged my relationship with food I had to leave the industry when I was 25. I currently cook for myself but I do my best cooking when it is for people I love and care about. Be it partners, family, friends, or my community I strive to nourish them. Many of my friends who I had to leave behind when I moved missed my cooking a lot so I started recording informal cooking shows for them so they can hear me talk and enjoy my food again.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Interview with Isabelle Lindén

Monika: Today I am going to interview Isabelle Lindén, a Swedish transgender woman and an aspiring social media influencer that shares all her transition stories on Instagram. Hello Isabelle!
Isabelle: Hi Monika! The funny thing is when you call me an ”influencer”. I assure you I'm not. I tried to be one but it didn't work out. After blogging for so many years, now I'm just someone that likes taking photos and posting them on Instagram and stream on twitch, thebelasaga (well I am going to switch to that name anyway)
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Isabelle: Of course, to tell you who I am I must tell you who I was. I had Everything: family, wife, two kids, nice stable income, car etc. etc.
Now I don't know who I am anymore after being fired from my job, left by my wife, crashed financially, and left in debt for life. Family and friends left me all because I came out as transgender. I do suffer from depression and anxiety, not just because of who I am but more for what has happened.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Interview with Siân Longthorpe

Monika: Today I am going to interview Siân Longthorpe, a British 40-something runner, fitness enthusiast, and lover of the outdoors. Hello Siân!
Siân: Hi Monika, thanks for getting in touch.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Siân: Sure. Your introduction does a good job, but I'm happy to expand on that a little further. My transition began following the breakdown of my marriage in 2016. I remember feeling completely trapped, not being able to see a way forward; it was a grim time and I had some very dark thoughts. I was finally being honest with myself but the thought of making my true feelings public seemed too much. I was also still very ashamed of my true feelings, having kept them hidden for so many years, and I feared how coming out would impact on my two young children and my job.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Interview with Alexis

Monika: Today I am going to host Alexis, a Spanish model, fashion designer, and social media influencer living in London, UK. Hello Alexis!
Alexis: Hello Monika! Thanks for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Alexis: It is always hard to talk about oneself. I was born in Madrid, in one of the most rebellious districts of the city called Vallekas. My parents were working class people climbing their way to the middle class with nothing but hard work.
I started feeling like a woman at the age of 5. However, growing up as a transgender girl in the 80s was very challenging as the portrayal of transgender community was both negative and marginal.
In addition, I knew I like men, so I was still contemplating that I might be gay. I came out at 16 when my mother found a letter written to me by my then secret boyfriend of 29 haha, which was quite an experience. But fortunately regardless of all the concerns my parents had, they allowed me to continue my relationship that lasted 2 years. I have always been quite openly gay and very feminine. Perhaps frequent dates with much older men fulfilled my private fantasy to play the "girl" role.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Interview with Erin Grace

Monika: Today I am going to chat with Erin Grace, a British software engineer and transgender woman from Manchester, the United Kingdom, that documents her transition on social media. Hello Erin!
Erin: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Erin: I’m a 27 year old transwoman living in Manchester with my cats! I started transitioning when I was 25, for a second time, after a first failed attempt when I was 20.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Erin: A few reasons really! After having failed and detransitioning once, I think having a semi-public record of my transition out there serves not only as a sort of memory of how far I’ve come, but acts as a statement of intent that I don’t intend on giving up or failing this time. I’m here to stay.

Monday, 1 March 2021

Interview with Lisa van Ginneken

Monika: Today I am going to introduce you to Lisa van Ginneken, a Dutch politician, human rights advocate, and LGBTQI+ activist. Lisa is the President of Transvisie, an organisation that supports the trans community in the Netherlands. This year she is running for a Member of Parliament seat, representing D66, a social-liberal political party in the Netherlands. Hello Lisa!
Lisa: Hello Monika! I feel very honoured to be here today with you and your readers. 
Monika: We are meeting a couple of weeks before the General Elections in the Netherlands. Our whole trans community is keeping fingers crossed for you, and I am very grateful that you have found some time to present yourself to the readers of my blog. Why do you want to enter the world of politics?
Lisa: Politics might feel a world apart from our own daily lives sometimes, but it is not. It affects our lives hugely, not only through the decisions politicians make, but also by the example they set with their behaviour. The tone of public debate really worries me, in the Netherlands and worldwide. In my years of advocating transgender rights in the Netherlands I got familiar and intrigued with the ways of politics. And it felt like this is the right point in my life to put forward this and other experiences I have.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Interview with Renae

Monika: Today I am going to interview Renae, an American IT specialist and transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Hello Renae!
Renae: Hello Monika! It's nice to meet you. I must say your blog is wonderful and it's nice to see so many other women like myself, getting great representation. I know it can be a beacon of hope for so many of us that may still be in the closet.
In addition to Reddit, I share my experience on other social media, including Facebook and Twitter as well.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Renae: Certainly! I am a mother of 4 kids and I have been married to my wife for 9 years. I work in IT in a moderately sized town of about 43,000 people in the Midwest. It's a fairly conservative town but there is a rather progressive area I frequent about 40 minutes away. That is where most of my friends live.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Interview with Willow-Jayne Davies

Monika: Today I am going to introduce to you Willow-Jayne Davies, a British makeup artist, nail technician, and beauty pageant queen from Swansea in Wales. She is Miss Swansea Sparkle 2016-2019 and Miss Voluptuous UK finalist 2020. Hello Willow-Jayne! 
Willow-Jayne: Hello gorgeous! How are you?
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Willow-Jayne: My top three most used words/phrases are: “it is what it is “, “Same to be honest “ and “lovely”. I’m not necessarily saying that my vocabulary is limited, it’s that I don’t need a dictionary to choose from because my top three work in all types of conversation.
Monika: Willow-Jayne is not a common name. Why did you choose it?
Willow-Jayne: When I was around eight I was rushed into hospital for an emergency operation (testicular torsion), and as I was slowly being put under the anesthetic and wheeled to the operating theatre, my mum had said “You’re going to go in as William and come out as Willow“. At that point it wasn’t a laughing matter, and I thought she was being serious.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Interview with Ashley-Marie Eden

Monika: Today I am meeting Ashley-Marie Eden, an Australian illustrator, writer, musician, engineer, poet, and thinker. Hello Ashley-Marie!
Ashley-Marie: Hi Monika!
Monika: How are you holding up in the crazy pandemic times?
Ashley-Marie: Fairly well all things considered. I work for a fantastic company in the defense and aerospace industry, and in an 'essential services role' so they looked after us very well and made arrangements for us all to work from home over a secure network. 
Personally at first I found the sudden change from a busy city office working life to one of almost total isolation quite difficult, especially because I live alone as well, but we adapt and move forward as best we can I guess.
Monika: Ashley-Marie is not a common name. Why did you choose it?
Ashley-Marie: Hmmm, to be honest I can't really tell you. Everyone just calls me Ash of course but as to why or where it came from I don't recall.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Interview with Nadia

Monika: Today I am going to interview Nadia, an American hair stylist and beauty expert, former entertainer from Orlando, Florida that shares her transition story on social media. Hello Nadia!
Nadia: Hello, how are you?
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Nadia: Well I am 44. I’m a services district educator for Ulta Beauty. I started my transition in 2005. So I will celebrate 16 years in April.
Monika: Nadia is a nice name. Why did you choose it?
Nadia: This name was given to me by my drag mother when I was a performer. It was a name I always loved as a kid. I love the movie Nadia based on the life of Nadia Comaneci. 
Monika: Yes, I remember the movie. Nadia Comaneci was a famous Romanian gymnast. Were you good at gymnastics?
Nadia: I was an ok gymnast. I taught myself a lot as a kid. All the things I wanted to do I was told “no” you can’t because that’s for girls. But that was with everything that I liked and wanted to do. I did enjoy watching the Olympics growing up and always hoped and wished I could do all those things that the girls did.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Interview with Jasmine Anderson

Monika: Today I am going to host Jasmine Anderson, a qualified hairdresser, part time model, and social media influencer from Brisbane in Australia. Hello Jasmine!
Jasmine: Hello Monika! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with you. I applaud you for all the great work you are doing with this blog.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jasmine: Well I’m a 34 year old transwoman from Australia. I’ve been transitioning for 3 1/2 years medically and have been married to a lovely man for just over 2 years now. I was lucky enough to meet him a month into my transition. I like to live life to the fullest and appreciate every moment I have on this earth. I hope I influence others' lives in a positive light.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Interview with Kimberly Kennedy

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kimberly Kennedy, an American transgender woman and social media influencer from San Francisco, California. Hello Kimberly! 
Kimberly: Hi there, I'm really surprised and honored that someone would want to interview me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kimberly: I am a 23 year old transgender woman. I started my transition in the senior year of college. So it's been about 2 years so far.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Kimberly: There are many reasons I have been sharing my story on Reddit. First I wanted to share my details on Reddit because I love the thriving communities that exist on the platform. In regards to why I wanted to share my personal story, I really think it's good for trans people, specifically the younger trans kids to see that life can be OK for a trans person in America. I think that many trans people my age were only exposed to the idea of a transgender through trashy day time TV, like the Jerry Springer show or other things that were posed as more of a "freak show".

Monday, 15 February 2021

Interview with Sandra Krogh-Bjerke

Monika: Today I would like to introduce to you Sandra Krogh-Bjerke, a mental trainer and coach from Norway. We are going to touch upon her transition, inspirations, and challenges as a transgender woman. Hello Sandra!
Sandra: Hi Monika! Really excited and grateful to have this opportunity.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Sandra: Just a few words? Oh my, where to start? Haha... I´ll start with my identity which has been the same over my whole life. I am a helping and caring woman that can connect with anyone and find solutions to their problems.
Monika: Sandra is such a lovely name. Why did you choose it?
Sandra: My old name, what someone calls a deadname, was not so different. My name was Sondre when presenting as a man. When I was young, about 13 years old, I was already very aware of me being a girl. I looked for a female name that I could feel comfortable with. At that time the German artist Sandra (Cretu) was very popular and I could really relate with her soft but determined artist personality. Also Sandra means "the helper/defender of the people'' and that really fits me well. On the inside I was Sandra from the age of 13, even though I didn't come out before October 1st 2018 at 41 years old.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Interview with Chelsea Poe

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Chelsea Poe, a Dutch American producer and director of experimental queer art films, adult movie actress, artist and trans activist. Hello Chelsea!
Chelsea: Hello Monika!
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. Do you see yourself more as a producer or an actress?
Chelsea: I see myself as a performer who is lucky enough to have the means to produce. The content trade model has really taken hold and the amount of gigs that performers usually get is not enough to not produce your own content. I think the industry has shifted much like most of the entertainment industry to being decentralize. 
Monika: Are you more Dutch or more American?
Chelsea: I grew up surrounded by Dutch people and Dutch culture growing up in Holland, Michigan, so it makes up a large part of my identity. I feel as I got older and moved to California so much what I assumed were American things were actually Dutch things.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Interview with Cameron Laventure

Monika: Today I would like to invite you for a meeting with a talented woman who writes and directs her own movies. Cameron Laventure is an independent filmmaker and writer wi­th an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. 
Hello Cameron!
Cameron: Hi, Monika! Thanks for speaking with me today.
Monika: How are you holding up in the pandemic times?
Cameron: Quarantine has been hard, but I’ve been luckier than most. My brother Brandon and I co-write and co-direct all our projects, and fortunately we’ve been able to shelter at home, building a writing portfolio while we search for paid screenwriting work.
It breaks my heart that so many people in my country, including relatives and dear friends, aren’t so lucky. So many of us are exposed to senseless risk because our government won’t just pay us to stay home. I carry a lot of anger over that. I try to channel it into my art, and into activism when I can.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Interview with Monica Rose

Monika: Today I am meeting Monica Rose, a Canadian make-up and hair artist, and transgender YouTube vlogger. It has been almost 4 years since she launched her Elle Rose vlog where she chronicles the most important moments of her transition. Hello Monica!
Monica: Thank you Monika for the opportunity to interview me and give me a chance to share my story.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Monica: I currently live in Toronto, Canada, and I grew up on Vancouver Island in a small town called Port Alberni. I moved to the "big city" so I could pursue an education. I have, as you know, a background in hair and makeup, and as a hobby I live stream a lot playing video games.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Monica: I decided to share my transition on line because I thought it would be a good opportunity to help other people. I started my transition more than ten years ago when very little information was available for people who wanted to transition, and to change a legal name or to update the gender marker on a passport would be very difficult if not impossible. I wanted to be able to share how I was able to do it to help other people as well.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Interview with Kamila

Monika: Today I am taking you for a journey to the East Midlands region of England where I am going to chat with Kamila, an inspirational woman from Poland. Kamila is a transgender activist and successful business support analyst in the British civil service. I am going to chat with her about her experiences of being a transgender woman both in Poland and the UK. Hello Kamila! Dzień dobry!
Kamila: Dzień dobry Monika! First of all I would like to thank you for your invitation to take part in this project. I'm humbled by your invitation.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kamila: As previously stated by yourself, I am originally from Poland. However I have been living in the United Kingdom since 2005. The whole reasoning behind the move was to transition and become the person I am today. Most of you would be probably aware of Poland’s transphobic approach and lack of LGBTQ+ acceptance.
I am a 34 years old, civil service employee who is bubbly, outspoken and a little bit glitzy. Like a glitter tornado!

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