Friday, 7 May 2021

Interview with Angelica Volkonskaya

Monika: Today I am going to talk with Angelica Volkonskaya, a businesswoman, model, and transactivist from the capital city of Minsk in Belarus that shares her transition story on social media. I have never interviewed a sister from Belarus before, so I am very happy to meet you. Hello Angelica!
Angelica: Hello everyone! Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Angelica: I am from the glorious city of Minsk. I am very glad that my passport includes the same information that I have always wanted to correct. And I am proud to say that according to my passport data, I am already Angelica. This is not an easy way, but it is worth living as you always wanted and felt.
Monika: You seem to be a woman of many talents.
Angelica: It is very difficult to talk about myself. Usually, other people talk about us because they can give a more accurate assessment. To say how good I am, I am not interested. I know only one thing, I constantly challenge everything and everyone, because I understand that in order to achieve something I must be strong in spirit.

"I constantly challenge everything and everyone,
because I understand that in order to achieve
something I must be strong in spirit."

Monika: Angelica is a nice name. Why did you choose it?
Angelica: It is Angelica. My Mom is connected with this name in a very testy way. In a way, it was she who gave me this name. I wanted to choose Timya Polina, but somehow while talking to my mother in the kitchen, when she was cooking cheesecakes, she asked me what name I wanted. I answered Polina. She said that Polina is not suitable for me and it is not beautiful. Then she said that I could call myself what I wanted but for her, I would always be Angelica. Then when she flipped the cheesecakes on the pan she added that all beautiful girls have the name Angelica. After that, I stopped thinking about another name.
Mom is no longer with me, she died. But I love her very much.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Angelica: I think the answer is simple. I am very open and I understand that there is no present time without the past. When you understand this, you live for the present.
Monika: Do you get many questions from your followers? What do they ask for?
Angelica: Unfortunately, many subscribers have sex-related questions, and sometimes it is not always pleasant for me.

"My mother and sister accepted
and understood me."

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?
Angelica: The hardest part was that everyone thought that this was my game.
Monika: Were your parents surprised by your transition? Did they accept it?
Angelica: My mother and sister accepted and understood me. For me, it was the most important thing.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Angelica: Today I am still in search of effective hormone therapy. With the passage of time, the type of hormone therapy has changed and if before it was only pills and injections, now we can get gels, plasters, and sprays.
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?
Angelica: Probably the most important rule is to be yourself and feel like you are more comfortable living yourself. You need to overcome your fears step by step, work with yourself and your consciousness, as well as with a psychologist to overcome your internal barriers. Genital organs do not make us men and women but internal sensations ...
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Angelica: No, I definitely did not follow anyone. I am what I am. I do not want to ape anyone and be like someone else. Sometimes I observe other transwomen and I can see that they are working on themselves to look great, which is an incentive for me to look no worse. 
Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Angelica: The first bright transgender woman was Dana International. I watched her on TV and thought that she was cool and she lived in harmony with herself no matter what and no matter who was against her.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Angelica: To date, the process of transgender transition fully complies with the order of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus. This process takes from a year to several years, but the situation with employment and life during the transition is not easy because it is not easy to socialize and live in a gender that other people do not accept. It requires a lot of effort and you need to have great desire and nerves of iron.

"If you really want something, you will learn to
survive and bypass the sharp corners of life."

One needs to understand that this is not a momentary desire, and not everyone psychologically can cope with it. If you really want something, you will learn to survive and bypass the sharp corners of life. This is how we transwomen survive and fulfill our dreams in spite of all the difficulties.
I have taken some initiatives to help people in order to make it easier for them to adapt. This is how the first transgender organization in the Republic of Belarus was born to help the trans community. The name of the organization is Adaptation. We have just started doing this and I hope we will succeed. We are not promoting this in any way, we are just trying to make the life of trans people in Belarus a little easier.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Angelica: I cannot say that I am a fan of some brands. Fashion is what suits you and what looks harmonious on your figure. Over time, I realized that colors, designs, and trends change with a person's worldview. But probably I have had a passion for bright colors for a long time. Perhaps my mother loved bright colors throughout her life and even at an old age when she went out on the street she always wore a dress with a great hairstyle and makeup, and I was always proud of the fact that she was a bright and beautiful woman in comparison with women of her age. And I somehow conveyed the desire to be always a well-groomed woman.

"Be honest and be yourself."

Monika: Do you often experiment with your makeup?
Angelica: Yes, I do. I love applying make-up, and when you love doing something you always want to experiment and improve.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Angelica: Only talentless people are praised, but within reasonable limits I like it.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Angelica: In fact, I don’t remember it because wherever I settled down everyone knew that I was a trans woman. I didn’t want to play games so that later someone would try to find out more about me.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Angelica: Be honest and be yourself. As soon as the lies of friends are revealed, there will be no confusion in the team. If you are just starting the transition, then slowly paint your nails in flashy varnish, sometimes tint your eyelashes.
People need to get used to them so you should not shock them. It takes time; the main thing is that these manifestations of yourself must be elegant and disciplined. Everyone will understand that this is awareness and not a perversion and will try to accept it.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Angelica: No, I am not involved. Gays are best friends but somehow I cannot relate myself to the gay community. We have joint projects and an agreement to help each other.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Angelica: Monika, you will not believe but I have not yet experienced this feeling. I experienced a feeling of passion, affection, but I have never experienced love. I have always felt that men wanted and want only sex from me, but not a real relationship. Probably I have not been lucky in this regard yet. But I am working on myself and I believe that a man will definitely appear in my life who will tell me BE WITH ME ALWAYS AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR MORPHOLOGICAL GENDER WAS AT BIRTH. A man is characterized not by words, but by actions. Love is the complete acceptance of a person as he is something like that. This is what I can see and think.

"I experienced a feeling of
passion, affection, but I have
never experienced love."

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Angelica: No, Monika. I have never thought about it. I think each of us has our own story. I do not want to hang my experience and my thoughts on other girls. We are all individuals.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Angelica: I see myself as successful, attractive for myself, and in a relationship with a man who will understand and love me for who I am and I want to raise a child and live happily in an ordinary and normal family.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Angelica: I would advise you to think about what will change in your life? Or what are you afraid of? Or you just move on.
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?
Angelica: Yes, I completely agree with that. We are like what she described and this is exactly our story.
Monika: Angelica, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Angelica: Thank you, Monika, for your in-depth questions and for allowing me to share my story.

All the photos: courtesy of Angelica Volkonskaya.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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