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.
Monika: It must be a challenge to take care of 4 children. :)
Renae: My goodness, yes. Thankfully one of them is fully grown but just the three that live with us are quite a handful. No rest after work but I love them dearly, and I know that I am contributing to help make the future inclusive for trans folks by just being their parent. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Renae: I can't reiterate it enough, representation, representation, representation! There is never enough. Whether it's trans-women, trans-men, non-binary folks or anyone else under the LGBTQIA umbrella.

"I feel I have been fortunate in this aspect of my transition
and I sympathize with those that don't. I haven't felt a great need
for cosmetic surgery because I don't get any hate from strangers.
That is my guide post."

It is also a nice place to gather experienced and diverse opinions and resources. There isn't exactly a "how to" guide when it comes to transitioning, nor should there be. Each person has different needs and expected outcomes, which brings me back around to my original point. If someone similar to my situation were to google a question I have asked on Reddit in the past they may stumble onto the answer or advice they needed.
I tend to seek out groups on Facebook or folks on Twitter and give advice to my trans-siblings as well. I also think it can help cis people have a glimpse of what it's like for trans people and maybe learn a thing or too. The enemy is ignorance, not people.
When it comes to posting images of myself it can really be a boost in confidence when people comment on nice and encouraging things. Especially when dysphoria is hitting hard that day, kind words have the potential to turn it around sometimes.
Posting images also works like having a living record of my physical transition. I update my profile picture exactly once a month on Facebook so I can look back at how far I have come.
Monika: Do you get many questions from your Reddit readers? What do they ask for? 
Renae: The most common ones. Things like when did you know you were transgender and how, are you getting the "surgery".
Monika: What was the strangest question that you answered?
Renae: I can't think of any that would qualify as "strange". What comes to mind with this question would be more on the invasive side. Things like did you lose breast mass when you de-transitioned the first time, do you use your "penis". All the ones that are nobody's business.
Monika: Did you de-transition the first time?
"Everyone wants to be loved
whether they will admit it or not.
The real trick is loving yourself
enough to be okay with yourself
Renae: Yeah in my early 20's I had a pretty rough go with transition. It caused some great issues with my mental health because of the fairly conservative area I live in. The world has changed a lot since then, and I can't complain about all the great friends I have made this time around.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Renae: I have been fortunate I believe but there are always things I wish would have more improvements like my hips and butt as well as my cheeks on my face. But it affects everyone differently. So what can you do?
Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, we lose our families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Renae: I have had a mix of good and bad that has occurred since my coming out this time. I am not on speaking terms with my father or brother. But one thing you learn when you come out is who your real family is and who you're friends really are.
Monika: We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Renae: Well, I feel I have been fortunate in this aspect of my transition and I sympathize with those that don't. I haven't felt a great need for cosmetic surgery because I don't get any hate from strangers. That is my guide post. Sure there are plenty of things I wish I could change but on my salary with the number of children I have it's hard to afford.
Monika: How did the children react to your transition?
Renae: My twin girls were very excited because they had another girl in the house and my son was mostly worried that he couldn't be a boy any more. Needless to say we cleared all that up for him and he is super happy that I get to be myself.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Renae: The shining star of our community would have to be Laverne Cox. Of all the trans women in the limelight it seems she has her priorities straight.
Monika: You have a nice name. How come you chose this particular name?
Renae: It took me a while to settle on this name. I always liked it and thought it was pretty. I know that it's mostly spelled Renee but I like how Renae looked better. I read that it stood for born again and I thought it was pretty fitting. Now I couldn't imagine going by any other name.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Renae: I feel like in the US we are in a better situation than some other countries but I believe we have a very long way to go before equality is truly achieved. It is really nice to see trans women in more prominent political positions as of late. Sarah McBride was recently elected to the United State Senate and I couldn't be more proud.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Renae: I love fashion. I have recently been losing a lot of weight so my wardrobe has been cycling out like crazy but I love black and white patterns and tend to wear a lot of red, blues and purple. It has been nice to wear stuff a little more fitted and lower cut. It makes my confidence go way up.
Monika: Do you experiment with your make-up?
Renae: I try to always learn new techniques because I love learning and I really like messing around with make-up. It's fun to be able to use my face to express my artistic ability.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Renae: As far as adult ladies are concerned, sure I think it's great but I don't really think kids under 10 should be put in those types of things. I feel like it can put them in a state of mind where they have to be the prettiest to be loved and there can be only one that can claim the title. I feel like it can ruin a child's self esteem and they shouldn't have to worry about that at such a tender age. But I believe this goes for all children not just trans but cis kids as well. By the way, Toddlers and Tiaras is a horrible show and should have never been put on the air.
"When it comes to posting images of
myself it can really be a boost in
confidence when people
comment on nice and encouraging
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Renae: Sure, it's quite a confidence booster. ️
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Renae: My first one was over 13 years ago so not really. But I just had one the other day it seemed to go pretty well. I even made one of the interviewers laugh.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Renae: Persistent attitude is key. You don't have to tell them you are trans. If they don't hire you because you are trans then you probably wouldn't want to work for bigoted people anyways.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Renae: Yes, I am. There is a local support group for trans folks and we meet twice a month. I have made many like minded friends because of this, and I am very grateful that it exists. I would have a much harder go in my transition without them.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Renae: Everyone wants to be loved whether they will admit it or not. The real trick is loving yourself enough to be okay with yourself alone. It may be a bit hypocritical for me to say that though since I am married. But if you can do that you can achieve just about anything. 
Monika: Yes, you have been very fortunate with keeping your marriage intact. Not all spouses are so emphatic.
Renae: My goodness, yes. I feel sorry for those that haven't that kind of luck but I say to them you will find your one, just keep your head up and love yourself. It will be a beacon of light for who you are meant to be with.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Renae: I have thought about it a lot but there are just parts of my life that I am really just not willing to share with the whole world. Maybe when I'm 85 or something I will feel differently but only time will tell.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Renae: Well, I hope to get one of the jobs I just interviewed for and we plan to move to a more liberal city, which is more welcoming to those under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella very soon. But 5-7 years is way too hard for me to think about at this point. Hopefully enjoying my new town and new job!
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Renae: Don't put it off any longer then you have to but also don't jump in without a plan and a group of friends who really have your back.
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 transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Renae: Wholeheartedly. Operations are not the end of one's transition through life, merely a milestone along the way.
Monika: Renae, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Renae: Thank you for having me.

All the photos: courtesy of Renae.

© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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!

Friday, 5 February 2021

Interview with Alexandra Chandler

Monika: Today I am hosting a very special woman. Alexandra Chandler is an American politician, lawyer, and former senior analyst at the Office of the Naval Intelligence. She is also an advocate for equality for LGBT people, especially transgender youth, immigrants and people of color.
Currently she holds the position of Policy Advocate at Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization with an urgent mission: to prevent democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.
In 2018, she took part in the Democratic Party primary, running for election to the U.S. House to represent Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District. Alexandra is married to Catherine, her high school sweetheart, and they have two children. Hello Alexandra!
Alexandra: Hello Monika! So glad to virtually meet you and those reading, wherever they are and whenever they do! 
Monika: How are you holding up in the pandemic times?
Alexandra: Relatively well, thank you. The truth is, we (speaking of our family) are very fortunate. My wife and I both have flexible (if intense this year!) and secure jobs that allow us to work from home and with some ability to reshuffle our hours around. We are both in good health with no major risk factors for COVID, as are our kids.
Yet that said, it is hard, as it is for all of us. There are so many moments where I feel I cannot be fully present as a mom or as a professional, because even with an amazing employer, there are times when I have to do both, with the addition of trying to be a half way decent part-time elementary school teacher and IT support for my son doing remote school. I am also such an extroverted person, and I miss the in-person interaction with friends, I miss seeing bands in concert and dancing, I miss eating in restaurants.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Interview with Damnlera

Monika: Today I am going to interview Damnlera, a young trans girl, digital illustrator, and social media influencer from Russia. Hello Lera!
Lera: Hello Monika! Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lera: I’m a transgender woman. I transitioned 11 years ago. I work as a digital illustrator. In addition, I post on my YouTube channel and Makeup Art Instagram.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Lera: The idea of making someone become more confident about themselves is very much inspiring for me. I want to inspire people of any age, gender or nationality to be what they really are and be proud of it. We are all beautiful and we are all talented, so making people feel great about themselves is what I really want to do.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Interview with Kara Norwood

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Kara Norwood, an American transgender activist that documents her transition on Hello Kara!
Kara: Hello Monika. It is my pleasure to meet you and I look forward to this interview and where it takes us.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kara: I will do my best to keep it brief. I am a multifaceted woman with a very dynamic background. In my life I have been a tattoo artist, soldier, physics research assistant, motorcycle enthusiast, speed demon, IT Director, entrepreneur a few times over, a son and a daughter, a father as well as a mother.
Now most recently I have become the godmother to a close friend's daughter. I do have plans for more things in the future presuming I live long enough. I think a life span of 250 years would do just fine.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Interview with Michelle Nastasis

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Michelle Nastasis, the first known Transgender professional poker player from Florida, USA, and author of 'QdQh: Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Hearts: The Life and Journey of Michelle Nastasis, the First Known Transgender Professional Poker Player!' (2020). Hello Michelle!
Michelle: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Michelle: First, I really am a professional poker player. I've played in almost 5000 tournaments over the last 12+ years as a pro. My unofficial career earnings are just shy of $2M USD.
Second, I am very much a fashionista at the table. I have over 400 dresses and over 1100 pairs of high heels.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Interview with JaiLynn Joanna Desvignes

Monika: Today I am meeting JaiLynn Joanna Desvignes, an American transgender activist, model, and YouTube vlogger and influencer. Her vlog 'To Whom It May Concern' chronicles her own transition and provides recommendations to the transgender community all over the world. Hello JaiLynn!
JaiLynn: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
JaiLynn: Sure... My name is Jailynn-Joanna, originally from New York and currently residing in the Bronx. I am a niece, a daughter and a friend who loves living life and loves the life I’ve been given. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
JaiLynn: When I began my transition several years ago, it was a very lonely journey in the beginning and I had to do a great deal of the research and journeying on my own. I also met other trans folk along the way who felt the same way but didn’t have the courage to share the most intimate details of their lives.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Interview with Nicola Nilla

Monika: Today I am meeting Nicola Nilla, an American YouTube vlogger. It has been almost 16 months since she launched her Nicola Nilla vlog where she shares her transition Story. Hello Nicola!
Nicola: Hi Monika! I can't believe it's already been 16 months since this all started.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Nicola: Yeah! I am a 27 year old transwoman from San Francisco with a background in education. However, I like to dabble in a lot of different things like fashion styling, MUA, modeling, and photography. I like anything that allows me to express my true self!
Monika: Nicola is such a lovely name. How come you chose it?
Nicola: So it's kind of a funny story. My birth initials are NBL, and I wanted to keep those the same during the name change -- mostly out of simplicity but to also respect my parents. I already knew I wanted a unique "N" name when I was watching one of my favorite 2000s teen movies, Superbad. The side character, McLovin, spends half the movie obsessing over this girl he barely knows, Nicola. She really only represents that hot girl every guy wants to hook up with, and I thought that was bad ass so I took that name for myself haha! It's kind of a weird inspiration, but it stuck hehe.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Interview with Lucky Bradley

Monika: Today I am hosting Lucky Bradley, an American who has been an auditor at multiple governmental agencies, including the US Department of Defense. She is also a happy wife, and transgender woman that documents her transition on her blog ‘A Girl U Should Know’ and continues to be active other social media. Before her transition, she had previously blogged on Accidentally Gay. She is also the co-author of Accidentally Gay: The True Love Story When a Wife Becomes a Husband. A book that detailed her experiences as a husband whose wife transitioned into her husband. Hello, Lucky!
Lucky: Hi Monika, It is great to meet you and be here.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lucky: I am a 49-year-old transgender woman married for 28 years to a fantastic transgender man. We live at home with our own little fur baby cat, Tally. I have been transitioning since mid-2018 and it has been a roller coaster. After a bunch of HRT level issues though I think I am at the halfway point of physical transition. I have worked in many governmental agencies as an auditor, and my hobbies include photography, gaming, writing, and other forms of storytelling.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Lucky: I have always shared my life online, since the early days of Myspace and LiveJournal. My sharing of my life became even more frequent when my husband transitioned in 2013.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Interview with with Tyler Keane

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Tyler Keane, an American teacher and transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Hello Tyler!
Tyler: Hello Monika, I wanted to start off by thanking you for doing these interviews to help raise awareness for the transgender community.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Tyler: I just recently turned 24 years old, I work at an elementary school, with passions for photography and skateboarding.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Tyler: I started posting about my transition on social media because at the beginning of my transition I was very alone. I didn’t personally know any transgender people at the time. I wanted to be able to share my experiences with other people, as well as learn about what other people have experienced.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Interview with Felicia Rolletschke

Monika: Felicia Rolletschke is a young German transgender activist and academic teacher. Her website Transformational Tomorrow is the source of all relevant information for the German trans community. I am going to discuss with her the most recent actions launched by the German trans activists in order to change the archaic gender-recognition law. Hello Felicia!
Felicia: Hello Monika! Thank you very much for doing this interview.
Monika: How are you doing in the pandemic times of COVID-19?
Felicia: As well as possible in times like this. Much of my work was and is based on in-person workshops so naturally during 2020 many changes happened and I had to improvise a lot. Nonetheless I already had my first online workshops this year and am already looking on a filled calendar for March and the following months.
Monika: Felicia is such a lovely name. Why did you choose this particular name?
Felicia: Thank you! There were many names I considered. "Felicia" won in the end over "Ayana" and "Julia" for being a name that meant something to me personally, was easy to pronounce in both my mother tongue German and my most commonly used language English, and it was at least familiar enough to most people, so they do not have to struggle when writing it.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Interview with Chloé Brandt

Monika: Today I am talking to Chloé Brandt, a Swedish transgender artist and vlogger that documents her transition on social media. Hello Chloé!
Chloé: Hello, thanks for reaching out!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Chloé: I was born and raised in Sweden. I live in a little town called Eskilstuna with my boyfriend and our new family member a kitten named Lusse. Right now I’m studying my last year at college aiming for a bachelor degree in culture and media production, I work extra at a nursing home, and I also paint and sometimes show my art at exhibits. And then there's social media haha. So it’s a lot to juggle around.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Chloé: When I started transitioning I was looking at transgender women mainly on YouTube but I had a hard time finding someone who lived in Sweden. So I thought to myself that this is my responsibility. The situation for transgender women is so different around the world, and you can feel so lonely on your journey. Hence my plan was to make a place where I could share that knowledge through documenting my life, making Swedish transgender people feel like they’re not alone or weird for feeling this way, like you can have a normal day to day life.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Interview with Jolene

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Jolene, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Hello Jolene!
Jolene: Hello Monika! Thank you for reaching out to me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jolene: Certainly. I'm 34 years old, living in western Nebraska. I began my transition in private at the end of 2019 and started HRT in March of 2020. I came out publicly in June and I've been living my truth out and proud ever since!
Monika: Jolene is such a nice name. How come you chose this particular name?
Jolene: It was actually the name of my first D&D character many years ago. Most people think it’s because of the Dolly Parton song but I had actually never heard the song until after I’d chosen it. I don’t know how I missed it but I did!

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Interview with Sabrina Symington

Monika: My today’s guest is Sabrina Symington, a Canadian illustrator, graphic novelist and blogger who runs the popular LGBTQ+ webcomic Life of Bria. Sabrina is the author of two comic books: ‘First Year Out: A Transition Story’(2017) and ‘Coming Out, Again: Transition Stories’ to be published next year, and a columnist at TG Forum. Hello Sabrina! 
Sabrina: Hi Monika!
Monika: There are comic books about Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman and other heroes of our childhood that have defined the way we look at comic books. Your ‘First Year Out: A Transition Story’ (2017) proves that a comic book can be a perfect form of expression for transition as well.
Sabrina: I have always cared most about “narrative” in my art. This is a common thread I see with trans people; we often seem very interested in coming up with a “story” to our lives so we can make sense of the feelings we’ve had throughout them. These stories come to define us, they anchor us to our sense of self, and having this story be understood by others is one of the most affirming things I can imagine.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Interview with Lily (bamb00unicorn)

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Lily, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on and Instagram, transgender activist, and film enthusiast. Hello Lily!
Lily: Hi! I’m flattered that you asked to interview me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lily: Well, I’m a 24 year old transgender woman who loves movies, is extremely sarcastic, and optimistic!
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Lily: I started using Instagram and Reddit as online spaces where I could be myself. I grew up in a conservative town in Michigan where there wasn’t really much of an LGBTQ community. I couldn’t be out there, so Instagram became a safe space for me to express myself and document my transition.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Interview with Selena

Monika: Today we are going to Germany where I am hosting a special guest. Selena is a German space scientist and transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. I am going to talk to Selena about her amazing journey towards womanhood. Hello Selena!
Selena: Hello Monika, thank you for interviewing me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Selena: Well, I am a 56-year-old trans woman from Berlin, of Australian origin. I began a physical transition 2 years ago. I had a brief period 23 years ago when I prepared myself for transition, but I unexpectedly met my darling wife. She knew about the doubts I had over my gender, but the relationship was so unexpectedly lovely that we both thought I could stay male for the sake of it. She thought her acceptance could cure my pain, and I thought I could live with my doubts as an "envy". And for the first years of our relationship, this worked.
We have brought two sublime children into the world. As a stay at home parent, I was heavily involved in the pretty much all female world of childcare, and I had some lovely first Mum friends who didn't seem to see my gender - they just treated me as one of them. So that soothed me for several years too.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Interview with Cereza Corazón B

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Cereza Corazón B, a transgender woman from Mexico that documents her transition on social media. Hello Corazón!
Corazón: Hi Monika, thank you for setting up this interview! Hello folk of the Internet, onlookers and regulars of Monika’s. 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Corazón: My name is Cereza Corazón B. I’m of Mexican nationality and really mixed heritage. It is my desire to be free that drives me forward and leads me to try new things. It is that same desire that guides me to accept and embrace who I am.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Corazón: I’ll be honest, it originally started because I had a really hard time believing that I could be seen as a woman. Although my beginning in Reddit was less than glamorous it did help me gain the confidence necessary to break away from my shell and believe I could actually do it.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Interview with Gabrielle Claiborne

Monika: For today's interview I have invited an inspirational woman from Georgia in the USA. Gabrielle Claiborne is a successful businesswoman that owned and operated successful businesses in the construction industry, overseeing multi-million dollar projects nationwide. She is a co-founder and CEO of Transformation Journeys Worldwide, an inclusion training and consulting firm with a transgender focus. Gabrielle received many awards and honors for her transgender activism, including the Atlanta’s 2015 Best Trans Activist, Emory University’s 2018 Alum of the Year Pride Award, and the 2019 Outstanding Voice for Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. She is the author of ‘Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity’ (2020), TEDx speaker and her work has been featured in Forbes. Hello Gabrielle!
Gabrielle: Hi Monika! Thank you for the opportunity to be featured today.
Monika: How are you doing in these crazy pandemic times?
Gabrielle: Monika, we are definitely living in challenging times, a time when everyone’s safety, sense of belonging and connection with family, friends and well-being is being challenged unlike never before. In the midst of seemingly insurmountable challenges, we’re all being called on to find ways to survive, many times, moment-by-moment, one day at a time.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Interview with Angie Brewer

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Angie Brewer, a British blogger, and author of the biographical book titled 'It's Just a Phase!' (2020). Hello Angie!
Angie: Hello Monika! Thanks for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Angie: I am a 53 year old post op trans woman, blogger, and author. I am open, honest and living life. I was born and bred in Leeds. I am a Yorkshire girl through and through and a Huddersfield Town fan for my sins.
Monika: Your biographical book was published just a couple of months ago. Why did you decide to write the autobiography?
Angie: The book came about after talking with my friend Andy. We have known each other most of our lives and told him that I was going to transition and he suggested writing a diary of my transition and writing blogs detailing how my transition was going and how  family friends people I met through work, and how they had taken to the real me, and then finally how my life had been leading to this point.

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