Friday, 1 January 2021

Interview with Angie Brewer


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor 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.

"I think one of the important parts of my
transition was learning to be patient."

Then the diary turned into my autobiography and what had led me to this point in my life that I was accepting who I truly was meant to be then we came up with the working title 'It's Just a Phase', which we both thought seemed quite appropriate, as it was something I had heard more than once.
Monika: Your book is very honest about your whole journey towards womanhood. Which aspects of your experience can be useful for other transwomen?
Angie: First and foremost being honest with yourself, even if it’s something that seems impossible, knowing that you’re not the only one and other people. I have gone through the same thing as you and thanks to social media there are people who you can talk to.
I think one of the important parts of my transition was learning to be patient. It’s a long process and you learn to be patient and know you will get there one day. Make sure you have good friends and family around you for support when you’re going through a bad time, as it won’t last forever.
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?
Angie: Yes, I have paid a high price just the same as many others have. I argued with a cousin, and my biological mother will never accept me as a daughter. It was her words, pointing out that she gave birth to a boy.
The hardest thing for me personally was being singled out at work and being dismissed from a job I loved. The depot manager wanted me out and that was all down to coming out. It did go to a tribunal and was settled out of court and dismissed due to discrimination. It was very hard to take.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Angie: Overall I am satisfied with the hormone treatment. When I started over 4 years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the treatment would take time to get into my system and there would be some things that take longer than others.
Since surgery, my breasts are developing nicely and my hair has started to grow back. Since the early days of hormone treatment, body hair skin, and even my voice have changed more than I could have dreamed of. The growth of body hair has slowed down to virtually nothing and it’s hardly noticeable now.

"Do not worry if you pass or not. Go out, hold your heads high,
be confident, and don’t worry about what people are thinking."

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?
Angie: I believe we should not be so obsessed with looks. Not everyone is a supermodel and some trans women even myself can be self-conscious about how we look. There are certain ways of coping with this. Stop overthinking.
Do not worry if you pass or not. Go out, hold your heads high, be confident, and don’t worry about what people are thinking. Most people don’t even notice. When you walk past someone, smile and be approachable. This is how we can make a big difference.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Angie: There are many trans women I follow. I have friends that have gone through the same as me. I follow Caroline Cossey and India Willoughby to name two. They have been through everything and for me they are women I admire in the same way as my trans friends who have helped me, especially leading up to my surgery. Hormone treatment is different for everyone but knowing someone, who has been there and has done it, gives you confidence and belief in yourself.
Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Angie: The first time I saw a trans woman on TV was in the ’80s. It was a documentary on a lady from Bradford. It followed her journey, and it was eye-opening for me. However, I must mention that the attitude of some people she came across wasn’t very nice.
I’ve since met a couple of trans women when I started out in my transition and they were so lovely with me. It was nice chatting with them and getting to know more about what was to come even what I could look forward to.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Angie: There are some positives but we can’t stop. There are still things to do to promote more acceptance and understanding. It’s a lot better than it was but we’ve still more to do. Thankfully there are laws on discrimination and gender identity is part of that.

"The first time I saw a trans woman on TV
was in the ’80s. It was a documentary
on a lady from Bradford."

However, the waiting times at gender identity services need to be looked at and more investment has to be earmarked for training and staff to reduce waiting times. Maybe even open a couple of gender service centers to reduce waiting times. It’s not acceptable to wait at least 4 years just for the initial assessment!
In addition, general practitioners need to be educated in listening to what patients are saying and not just pass them off. It’s not a mental health condition and it needs to be stopped being treated as one by general practitioners.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Angie: I don’t have much fashion sense and I don’t really follow fashion. I try to stay away from too much black. My style is usually a nice skirt and top, depending on the time of year and how cold it is. I like either ankle boots or knee-length boots. especially in winter. I’m just an average woman, the girl next door. I like to glam up for a night out, and I hope I will get to go out more next year.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Angie: Is there a transgender beauty pageant? I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anything like that but why not a chance to be part of a beauty pageant? I would be up for that. It would definitely show a positive side to the transgender community.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Angie: Being complimented on how I look is always very nice and a confidence boost. I’m not sure I will ever get used to being paid compliments.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Angie: When I went to an agency that I had previously worked for, I called in to see if they had any jobs going and it took a few minutes for the lady to recognize me and she didn’t have an issue with getting me to work as I have a full clean driving license and can drive a bus 18-tonne truck to vans. I could be placed in many roles. That's what I was looking for at the time, a chance to do different jobs and which I preferred to do.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Angie: The best advice is to not give up. Keep going and keep trying. Don’t get downhearted, don’t accept discrimination, and keep fighting. Decide what you want to do for a career if possible do training courses to get qualifications. Never ever give up!
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Angie: Not at the moment; it’s been a tough year for most people with this virus but it’s something I am hoping to be more involved with when everything improves. I just have to be patient. I am always willing to help anyone who needs help. I am on social media and I can be easily contacted.

"My mum tells me she loves me and how proud she is of me
and that means everything to me."

Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Angie: It’s important to know you’re loved. My mum tells me she loves me and how proud she is of me and that means everything to me. It’s brilliant and I couldn’t ask for more than that. It would make it perfect to find that special woman to settle down with and fall in love with, and now finally as my true self would make it all even better than it was before. 
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Angie: My next step is to get some new pictures for my new passport. I’m looking into courses on digital photography as that’s something I am keen to learn, and in the new year, I will try to sort out getting some driving work, once I’ve sorted a couple of things out first. 
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Angie: I would recommend talking to people that have gone through it and maybe they will even help to be a chaperone or mentor. It helped me out in the early days. Just be honest with yourself and there’s nothing to be afraid of!
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transsexuals and transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Angie: I do agree completely life starts afresh on the operating table and why should we let anything stop our dreams or limit our potential? We can achieve anything we want to! 
Monika: Angie, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Angie: Thank you, Monika! It’s been a pleasure to be interviewed by you.

All the photos: courtesy of Angie Brewer.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *

Search This Blog