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.
Monika: Do you get many questions from your Reddit readers? What do they ask for?
Tyler: I don’t get that many questions at all.
Monika: What was the strangest question that you answered? :)
Tyler: I’d have to say I’ve gotten some creepy messages. I never respond to that, so I’d have to say the strangest question was this interview. I mean that in a good way!
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?
Tyler: Transitioning caused my relationship of two years to end which has been the absolute hardest part for me. My heart is still very broken. My friends and family have all been super cool and supportive of me. While I have noticed the dynamics of certain relationships seem to have changed, I’m still able to maintain those relationships. I live in a somewhat more liberal part of America, so it’s a lot easier for me to be open about myself.

"I find that being hyper-focused on certain features
of yourself or others will never do any good."

Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Tyler: Yes, I’m very happy with my results from starting HRT. I started last March, so I still have a lot more changes to experience. I tried my best to have realistic expectations, as my bones are never going to change and I know and accept that.
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?
Tyler: The whole passing versus not passing aspect is very difficult to speak on. I know a lot of people who care deeply about passing and vice versa. I don’t think it should matter as much as it does. Cis gendered people often aren’t these pillars of perfection. Cis Men with feminine features and cis women with masculine features do exist. I find that being hyper-focused on certain features of yourself or others will never do any good. I don’t consider myself someone that passes. So my way around that is to accept myself as the woman I am and learn to love my masculine features.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Tyler: My biggest trans role models are Leo Baker, Cher Strauberry, and Laverne Cox. They have all inspired me to be my true self.
Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Tyler: I think the first time I met anyone transgender was at the pride festival in my home state.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Tyler: The present situation in America is confusing for me to address properly. I live in an extremely liberal part of this country. So my experience differs a lot from people that live in other areas. I think this year was very historic election-wise, as many transgender firsts happened in places like lawmakers and the first trans senator. There has seemed to be a rise in radical conservatism that makes being any member of the LGBTQ quite nervous in some parts of this country. We have made a lot of progress but there is still a very large mountain to overcome.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Tyler: I do like fashion but I dress pretty boring, to be honest. I work at a school so I have to present somewhat professionally. The color black makes up the majority of my closet.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Tyler: Yes, who doesn’t like being complimented. I will say I’d much rather be complimented on other things than my looks.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Tyler: I actually have only had one job interview as a woman. The job I have now is the first job I started since coming out publicly so I decided I wanted to not have to live a double life.

"I think love is one of the most important parts
of life. I feel like what most humans want
and need is to feel safe and loved."

Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Tyler: My best advice would be to just be confident and comfortable with yourself. The interview wasn’t nearly as nerve-racking as my first day of work and getting to meet my colleagues.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Tyler: I’m somewhat involved with the local community, but not as much as I’d like to be. 
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Tyler: I think love is one of the most important parts of life. I feel like what most humans want and need is to feel safe and loved.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Tyler: I haven’t thought about writing anything about my trans experience, maybe one day when I’m older I’ll feel different about it. I’ve written poems and some of them touch on the topic.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Tyler: My next step would be to learn to love myself. Which has been difficult for me. Hopefully, in the next 5-7 years, I find true happiness and love in my life.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Tyler: I would recommend anyone that’s afraid of transitioning to try to have discussions with other trans people, whether it’s in person or on the Internet. Just follow your heart. I was terrified starting to transition. I have absolutely no regrets now, so I think it’s common to be afraid.
Monika: Tyler, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Tyler: You are welcome! Thank you for asking me to have this interview with you, Monika.

All the photos: courtesy of Tyler Keane.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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