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 color who is very passionate about 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 makeup 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 makeup 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, 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. The 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 a medical background as I have finished my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng in Manila. It is a State University in the Philippines and is 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 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 criticize 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 risks. But the 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 to 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 to trans people 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 some 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 with 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 life that's why whenever she answers questions related to SRS, she always says, it is a 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 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?
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 into 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 trans girlfriend 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 into other
people's beauty standards."

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, 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 color as I figured they suit my skin best. I'm into skirts and skater dresses so much. When I pick clothes, I always try them on to see if they will make my skin pop and if it will give me the illusion of wider hips and If they look cute in total.


All the photos: courtesy of Destiny Maylas.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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