Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Interview with Lena Kuner


Monika: Today I am going to interview Lena Kuner, a German transgender woman, fashionista, travel blogger, and gamer that shares her transition story on social media. Hello Lena!
Lena: Hello Monika, it's a pleasure for me. Thank you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lena: My name is Lena, and I'm 36 years old. I live in a small town in the German federal state of Saxony. I live there with my boyfriend and work as an archivist for our district administration.
Monika: Lena is a nice name. Why did you choose it?
Lena: Long story! *chuckles* I love the sound. I chose it a long time before my transition started. In video games I always had the nickname "Lalena".
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Lena: Because I want to show that trans people are just as normal as everyone else. I don't want to be special or something. Maybe I'm a role model for somebody. If somebody feels better after reading my posts, I'm happy. And of course, I love modelling! *smiles*

2009 versus 2019.

Monika: Do you get many questions from your followers? What do they ask for?
Lena: Not really that many questions about my transition. Some of them ask about HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or the GRS (gender reassignment surgery) in general or about my feelings. The most common question is, if I'm single. (I'm not!)
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?
Lena: Fortunately almost everything went well. I've lost only a few "friends", but gained so many more! The hardest thing was to tell my dad about the transition. For the first six months, he didn't talk to me, and one day he called me and told me: "I'm so sorry. Now I know I can only be happy if my children are happy. I love you, Lena".
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Lena: It's okay. I cried a bit more than before and I lost some strength. But my skin is softer and less body hair is growing.
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?
Lena: That's a very hard question. Maybe it's not our task to reach a good passing. I think society should throw away old role models. Even cis gender are hunting down this ideal of beauty. I'm a lucky one. I've an almost good passing, and I think I would never do a FFS (facial feminization surgery), but I can understand other trans women. Sometimes the pressure is too high.

"I work as an archivist for our district
administration."

Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Lena: Not really. When I was younger, I followed the famous transgender singer - Kim Petras.
Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Lena: It was Kim Petras, on the German television show Stern TV in 2006.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Lena: It's much better than in other countries. But better means not perfect. Sometimes I don't feel safe. Especially eastern Germany has many right wing people. Transphobia is still a problem in society, but not that big like 30 years ago.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Lena: I love fashion! I usually wear dresses and skirts. Sometimes I prefer black on other days I like it more colorful. I also love business looks.
Monika: Do you often experiment with your makeup?
Lena: In the beginning of my transition, I did it very often. Nowadays I've my basic makeup. Only for special events, I do some experiments.

"I love fashion! I usually wear dresses
and skirts."

Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Lena: Yes, I'm a woman! *smiles*
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Lena: Oh yes and it was a full success. I'm still working in this job in the public service. 
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Lena: Just be well prepared, get dressed properly and be natural!
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Lena: Not that much as I should be. I'm more active in online communities.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Lena: Very important. I'm in a relationship with a cis man and it's almost perfect. :)
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Lena: Not yet. But I write almost daily on my Instagram account.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years? 
Lena: In November I'm going to have my breast augmentation surgery. I hope that it will be my last surgery. :)
In 5-7 years I'll live in a nice house with my (then hopefully) husband and maybe we'll have some rabbits in our garden. :)
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Lena: Be yourself, let other people support you. Talk to your closest friends. Speak with other trans people too.

"Be yourself, let other people support you."

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?
Lena: Yeah, of course. Everyone is unique, so everyone should do what he/she/they like to do (if he/she/they don't do anything illegal, of course!) :)
Monika: Lena, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Lena: Thank you very much, too!

All the photos: courtesy of Lena Kuner.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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