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.
Monika: What is the most frequent mistake that transwomen make when they resort to Do It Yourself hormone therapy?
Destiny: They combine two different kinds of estrogen, usually birth control pills, without knowing what hormones actually do. Basically not doing prior extensive research about HRT. And they do this all because their friends, who aren't even medically inclined, recommended them to do so. This always happens and it is very sad and scary.

"I started researching about the phenomenon
of transgenderism and everything about it
and then eventually focused on researching
HRT for transwomen."

Monika: When we start our transition, we want to look super feminine. However, we never know how much hormones will change us. What do you recommend to girls to set those expectations at a reasonable level?
Destiny: I tell them the truth. I always tell them that pretty transgirls they see online didn't just become pretty because of HRT alone. They had surgeries, advanced make up skills and most of them won the genetic lottery.
I always tell them that if they've been taking HRT for a couple of years now and they know they've been taking the right dose and combo and they aren't satisfied with the results, that it is necessary and okay to resort to other methods like surgery and make up to achieve the end results they want that HRT simply can't deliver.
Monika: Some girls tend to think that if their mothers have large breasts, the hormone therapy will do the same for them. I guess that it is not so straightforward.
Destiny: There is really no way to tell how big one's max breast size can be with HRT. Latest studies suggest that Progesterone helps with maximum breast development. But then again, if after a few years of HRT and they're still not satisfied with their breast size, they might want to consider breast augmentation.
Monika: You have amazing knowledge about hormone therapy. How did you manage to learn so much about hormones?
Destiny: I have medical background as I have finished Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng in Manila. It is a State University in the Philippines and quite known in the country. I am always that person that wants to know more about something that interests me.
"I never had to come out. I
just started HRT and changed
clothes one day."
I started researching about the phenomenon of transgenderism and everything about it and then eventually focused on researching HRT for transwomen. I'm also doing continuous research and study to further my knowledge.
Recently I attended Australia GP Education Day 2020, which is a seminar for GPs and trans medical professionals and students discussing everything about transgender care. 
I also get in touch and collaborate with some doctors with practical knowledge about transgender care. I also read articles, journals, researches and watch a lot of videos about new information regarding HRT and transgender care. Basically, I invest a lot of time really learning everything that needs to be taken into account.
Monika: Some doctors criticise our community for DIY approach towards hormones. Do they have a point?
Destiny: Even though I strongly advocate against DIY HRT, I myself have started my HRT through DIY. In the third world countries such as mine, the Philippines, doctors who practice transgender care are very rare. So most of us have to resort to DIY. From a medical standpoint, they do have a point as DIY HRT comes with a lot of risk. But reality is, most transwomen in poor countries can barely afford HRT, and doctor consultations and lab tests are expensive. So they resort to DIY through birth control pills, which is the worst but still works. Most of us would rather take the risk than not transition at all as gender dysphoria is more of a concern than the actual DIY HRT risk.
Monika: You live in Australia but you have a strong connection with the Philippines. What is your view on the situation of transgender women in both countries?
Destiny: I honestly don't know any transwomen here in Australia aside from my friends who are Filipino transwomen. Transwomen here are so respected that I feel I am being treated finally with some human decency. Finally I get to be treated as the woman that I am.
Transwomen in Australia are very lucky as there are more clinics and organizations that cater for transgender care. We don't have those in the Philippines. Most trans organizations in the Philippines focus on activism and forget what we actually need most, namely transgender care.
Victoria by LoveYourself is a clinic that caters for transpeople and this is the only clinic I know. Still not a lot of people have access to this location as it is only located in Metro Manila. So yeah, I'd say transwomen in Australia are so much luckier, as they have better access to care here than we do in the Philippines.
Monika: On your vlog, you do not avoid talking about sex. I wonder why this topic is so often neglected. We have the same needs as cis women but it seems it is a kind of taboo. 
Destiny: I talk about sex on my channel because I know despite the topic being taboo; a lot of transwomen will be interested to hear this from someone who's also trans. When I was starting my transition, I was very dysphoric and sex and genital dysphoria were one of the biggest concerns I had and I wanted answers.
"Your validity as a transwoman
isn't dependent on your ability
to pass."
Sadly it was very difficult to find answers at that time that's why I wanted to talk about it on my platform now so transwomen who have the same questions as I had will have the answers they're looking for.
I think people don't pay much attention to topics like these because they're focused so much on their transition which targets the improvement of their physical appearances, and for most of them it is a priority.
Also, a lot of transwomen think that there should be a certain way of pleasuring themselves in a way that they will feel pleasured but still feel feminine and their dysphoria will not be triggered. This is due to a lot of misinformation and hearsays.
There are also some myths about trans sex that is very limiting like masturbation, so I talked about it, and it helped a lot of transwomen to know that it isn’t bad, and it won’t harm their progress with HRT when they do it because just like other girls, we have sexual needs we need to attend to and it is okay and shouldn’t define us as who we are and should invalidate our transsexuality. Making transwomen realize this is one of my goals.
Monika: I liked your videos with Antonia Silva about SRS myths and facts.
Destiny: I really love that video I made with Ms. Antonia Silva regarding SRS. She told me a lot of things that only an experienced person would know. The vlog, however, was more of Ms. Antonia’s personal experience regarding SRS and we wanted to share it to the world so people would have a general idea about it. However, not everyone will be as lucky as her and that's the unfortunate reality of everyone’s lives that's why whenever she answers questions related to SRS, she always says, it is case to case basis and she can only talk about her personal experience. But I can tell you Ms. Antonia is very happy with her results and we wish the same for everyone who plans to undergo SRS.
Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfilment 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?
Destiny: To be very honest, I have a very supportive family and relatives that my transition was ideally smooth. I never had to come out. I just started HRT and changed clothes one day. I didn't even have to tell people I'm trans. I just carried that vibe while transitioning. 
The hardest part of coming out wasn't dealing with people close to me as they were very accepting and understanding and they had accepted me even before I transitioned. It was with people who don't know me who hate girls like us just because we are trans. They were the hardest people to deal with but I just learned to ignore people who don't matter, and that's what everyone should do.


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?
Destiny: We just need to know ourselves that we are who we are. And don't let people say otherwise. If you're happy about what you are, don't change just to fit in to other people's beauty standards but if your goal is to pass, be very analytical and notice what people see in you that makes them notice your being trans and see what you can do about it and do it. That was my personal goal and that's what I did, and I'm very happy. We also must understand that your validity as a transwoman isn't dependent on your ability to pass. 
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Destiny: Yes. My transgender best girlfriend was and is my role model. She was the first transgirlfriend I had, and she taught me a lot of things. As a transwoman, her view in life is more on the realistic side especially with being trans, which helped me see a lot of truth in this world. She also taught me valuable lessons in life she already had encountered.
Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Destiny: Yes I did. The first time I saw a transwoman was when I was still in high school and was having a gender identity crisis. I was as confused as to why they were presenting the way they were presenting and told myself I'll never be like them. Needless to say, I was very transphobic at that time. Maybe because they were being themselves which I couldn't at that moment. In the end, I realized that they were actually one of the happiest and bravest people in the world because despite all the negative things people tell them every day, they are living their lives and that's what mattered most.
"Don't change just to fit in to
other people's beauty standards."
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Destiny: Honestly, If I didn't meet my Main Girls from the Philippines, I'd always commit a fashion disaster. They helped me build my own fashion sense. Even now I ask them for tips and advice. I always go for dusty pink, mustards and anything that is of earthy, warm colour as I figured they suit my skin best. I'm into skirts and skater dresses so much. When I pick clothes, I always try it on to see if it will make my skin pop and if it will give me the illusion of wider hips and If they look cute in total.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Destiny: I believe they are an amazing platform for a transwoman who wishes to fully experience the pageantry world, although I think pageant organizers should step up their game. I'm not much of a pageant enthusiast myself but I noticed winners of trans pageants don't do anything after winning unlike the traditional beauty queens who do lots of things after winning like charity works or raising awareness on a specific issue.
Personally I feel that trans pageantries we have are just to display pretty faces and nothing more, and that's sad because transwomen are so much more than just pretty faces. We can be anything and achieve anything if we are just given the right tools and better working platforms.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Destiny: I do. It validates all the hard work I put on my transitioning. But at the same time, I don't wait for other people to compliment me. First thing in the morning when I wake up, I look at myself in front of the mirror and tell myself "You are so pretty". And it is kind of narcissistic for some but it is my way of telling myself: "There are a lot of people out there who will tell you otherwise, but know you are pretty and enough because you are". I always believe in the saying "You become what you Project" and I think it worked hehe.
Also, people in the Internet seem to hate other people complimenting transwomen because of backhanded compliments. Personally I don't take offence since I always try to see the positive in everything, and I judge it based on the context and usually these backhanded compliments really mean well. So I personally don't think otherwise.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Destiny: In terms of being a YouTuber, I am working on collaborating with more doctors and medical professionals who practice transgender care to talk about Transgender HRT, Gender-Affirming Surgeries, Sexual and Mental Health.
I’m also aiming to be able to talk about or at least invite people with knowledge about transgender data related to hate crime, sexual and mental health etc. I will still talk about transgender relationships, life, story times and produce vlogs in general.
In the next 5-7 years, I see myself still making videos for the trans community. Maybe this time hopefully, our channel gets international attention that trans organizations and even government organizations would pay attention to the MORE IMPORTANT issues of the trans community. And hopefully I will have made a change. I truly hope all the efforts I’m doing would uplift the standards of care for transgender people in countries like mine where they are almost non-existent.
"My potential is in no way being
limited by me being transgender
because it is just a small fraction
of who I am."
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Destiny: Always weigh the risks and benefits in everything you try to decide for. Transitioning isn't a race, so do it in your own time. Bloom in your own time. Assess what's making you afraid to do it and address it one by one until one day, the only question left is, "When am I going to start?" Always remember, you won't feel the need to transition if it isn't the right thing to do.
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?
Destiny: I agree. But for me, dreams start as soon as you're able to dream, whether before or after the operation. And Dream becoming a reality starts when you try to attempt to make it happen.
I believe my potential is in no way being limited by me being transgender because it is just a small fraction of who I am. My life doesn't revolve solely on me being trans. It is a piece of the puzzle of my existence. It makes me unique but it is not the entirety of my personality because I love all of me and every transwoman should do this. When they are able to, we will become unstoppable.
Monika: Destiny, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Destiny: Thank you Monika for giving me the opportunity to be in this interview. I hope my answers inspire transwomen and transpeople in general. I know I can't speak for all of us as we have our own unique set of experiences. But just know all my answers are coming from a genuine heart.

All the photos: courtesy of Destiny Maylas.

© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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