Wednesday 28 July 2021

Interview with Greta Brown

Monika: Today I have the pleasure and honor of interviewing Greta Brown, an American businesswoman, and transgender woman that shares her transition story on social media. Hello Greta!
Greta: Hello Thank you for this opportunity. I've never done this type of Q & A, so please forgive me for any disjointed content.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Greta: I've always been a free thinker and felt a strong connection with the underdogs of the world. I'm a little older and a child of the '60s. I very much identify with LGB'T'Q+ community even before I transitioned or knew I was transgender. Come this year I'll be 53, I have waited long enough to be my true self. Life is too short to NOT be happy. The most difficult thing to overcome other than dysphoria is to find self-love, both are things I/we constantly strive to find peace with.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments via social media?
Greta: I don't know how intimate any of these moments really are. The platform you solicited me on has a bit of anonymity, however, if someone really wanted to find out about me they could. So I am open to an extent, as well as I want to let others know it's okay to be yourself. I don't have 2 fucks to give. I am proud of WHO, and proud of WHAT I am!
With visibility comes 2 things, good or bad it's an acknowledgment that leads to conversations. I'm not the most articulate person so I can only speak of the truths I know for facts. Fact: Transgender is absolutely a genetic condition that is as common a spectrum as the varying skin colors or the varying mental capacities of all living things. Why this debate is so ludicrous!
Monika: Why did you choose Greta for your name?
Greta: Not very complicated or exciting, my dead name was similar to Greta as well as my name gives provenance to my heritage.

At the onset of the journey.

Monika: Do you get many questions from your followers? What do they ask for?
Greta: I get more questions from other media sources other than Reddit. Reddit has its unsavory crowd, followers are more interested in visual stimuli. I don't cater to that group of people. I was more interested in the journey other transgender people have gone through. As well as the types of information surrounding all things transgender good and bad. I've made mistakes too for example: on one particular sub I was very fond of, I was banned for life! All because the rules changed. I didn't read them and used a filter on the picture I submitted.
I never really used filters, which have pros and cons. I say all that to say the things followers ask me are: what is your dosage, how long have you been on HRT, Is your spouse still with you, are you going to have SRS, do you consider yourself a lesbian, do you consider yourself a woman, have you been beaten up, have you been raped these are ALL the typical questions WE all get from new trans and just looky-loos. It is the questions I can't answer, not the ones I won't answer. How do you come out to your spouse, does it get easier, I am losing my job, what recourse do I have, I am losing my family, what do I do. My heart hurts over these. 
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?
Greta: You say fulfillment of a dream. I say stopping the nightmare. We have no choice! From your research what is the suicide rate among transgender and the like? It hovers around 50%. We didn't lose our family and friends, we lost people who only pretended to care about us or haven't yet realized what they are missing.
As far as jobs go, I am a victim of the purge once I come out. In the U.S our job is our identity. At get-togethers, a common conversation starter is " So what do you do for a living". I was or am a builder, from homes to roads I oversee the implementation of all things construction. Sticks and bricks and homeowner interactions, to dirt moving to road base and on up to the concrete road surface and municipalities cooperation.
Most LGBTQ+ are overachievers. I am no exception. I excel at all things construction, so good in fact my skillset and intellectual property is a rare commodity. I have a few companies wanting my services. Currently, I work with my wife in her construction company.
The hardest thing about coming out was the possibility of losing my relationship with the one person I love with all my heart, my wife. I started HRT and Therapy and THEN 6 months later I told her. The dumbest thing was to wait. A fight over trust was first on the list, then "are you sure" then "I'm not a lesbian" then " I don't think I can do this" I was prepared to walk away from almost 30 years of marriage. so yes that was definitely the hardest.
Monika: Was your spouse surprised by your transition? Did she accept it?
Greta: Short answer YES and YES: Surprised because I was a man's man (whatever that means) I worked on cars, built homes, roads, motorcycles, and climbed mountains. I am 188 tall and 95 kg. Everything she envisioned in a mate. She accepted me because, in the end, she tells me or anyone who wants to know that God doesn't make mistakes. Also who I am on the inside is still the same. She loves the person, not the shell I am in.

My favorite bench in Marbella, Spain.

Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Greta: I started at around 49 or 50 I don't recall the date. Which is very late in the scheme of things. So testosterone has made its mark on me, from my wide shoulders to my big feet and hands that can palm a basketball. My face and facial hair are the biggest dysphoria triggers for me.
So I have had FFS and Electrolysis which are lifesavers, in the most literal sense. I don't think HRT can happen fast enough. However, I think it's important to enjoy the journey. The ugly duckling stage was every day until 3 weeks FROM NOW, hahahahaha. I say that because I'm always a work in progress and I've grown my hair out for 2 years just so after FFS I can have a nice hairstyle age-appropriate.
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?
Greta: I LOVE THIS QUESTION!! passing or Not: Dysphoria is debilitating destructive and helps to crush transgender individual's dreams of a perfect life. I am reminded of how the beauty industry (that's what it is, an industry) projects the perfect woman on the net, in movies, and in every facet of consumption man has access to. We should NEVER accept the narrative others project us to be! Self-worth does not come from external stimuli. Rather it SHOULD come from how we MUST see ourselves. If we all believed this the beauty industry wouldn't be around. I will never "pass", life would be sooo much easier if I could.
Worrying is the worst possible use of imagination. What I am doing is trying to be the best person inside and out I can be. If anyone wants FFS, SRS, BA, or any other cosmetic surgery teeth cleaned, etc. to help fight dysphoria, absolutely DO IT!! Just do it for yourself NOT for others and the perceived perception YOU think OTHERS see in you.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Greta No with a caveat, I will start by saying I'm very liberal. My parents were hippies and for some time I grew up in a commune. I'm also white and that comes with such privilege. So much so I am unaware of all of it. Caitlyn Jenner is absolutely the wrong person to be a trans role model. She was the first that I saw as someone who was visible, which got the ball rolling in my head.
From that point, I've come across many transgender people who have fought for me in my quest to be me. Samantha Mason is one Suddenly Samantha is another I'm sure others are about. Abigail Thorn is such a brilliant mind I absolutely adore her whole mindset. I am in construction and have Tomboy tendencies so no one really is 100% in step with my views or mind's eye. Which is okay, I march to the beat of a different drummer, like most of us tend to do. I take a bit from this person and that person and use the lessons they are so willing to give.

One of my best friends.

Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Greta: The aforementioned KJ was probably the first. I do remember watching a movie Little Big Man in which the Indians had a different type of Indian that was not male and was more in line with being female. The World According To Garp. John Lithgow's character was a transgender person who was a former football player. Those were the first for me, not positive or negative or even defined as trans. Then I saw Silence of the Lambs, which was a great movie with a terrible portrayal of the transgender-related character. Today we are a little more visible than yesterday, hopefully, tomorrow we will be even more visible, vocal, and included. Today transgender (when I say transgender I include non-binary, amab, etc.) I don't like labels or boxes. I am limited in my vernacular, partly because of my age and partly because I am working on myself more so than to take note of the latest updates in terminology. Whoever is reading this please know I do not mean any disrespect if I seem to exclude a particular segment.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Greta: I think in some aspects the USA is better. We currently have a leader who is giving the correct lip service as opposed to the last guy who actually pushed an agenda of exclusion. It's all lip service until we have real change. Our health care is as bad as it gets. Transphobia is at an all-time high with transgender women of color being murdered at a rate so sky-high the word tragedy is an understatement. I'm not a fan of the endocrinologist of this country. They mail it in when dealing with transgender health. Don't get me wrong it's minutely better than it once was. However, it's still very far behind where it should be. It is basically all we have here in the states. I could talk forever about the Powers Method or a few minutes about the W/PATH. Endo's really works only within W/PATH which is NOT the only way. The data is old and outdated with a few researchers working with menopausal women to come up with the data they supplied to transgender medicine.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Greta: My wife styles me. She keeps me current with fashion so I blend consistently with cis women. She researches to find shoes that are current and fabulous for my size. She finds fashion items to fit my 6'1 height that can look classy and at the same time let me experience my style. I am BOHO so big bell bottoms and smock shirts or tie-dye tops and bottoms - she surprises me weekly with clothing that fits me and allows me to be me and current. She gets me short shorts in all colors and summer tops that are mesh that I wear a cami under to add a pop of color. My legs are very long and fit, and if I must say, I have a nice butt - at least that's what everyone says. My wife makes sure that my hair accessories also fit my style while keeping the BOHO theme. My shoes and socks are fun and I even have sandals with sparkles on them. I'm patiently waiting for my Jimmy Choo shoes... LOL. My winter clothes consist of leather, wool, and cashmere - working the same BOHO theme.

"We should NEVER accept the narrative others
project us to be!"

Monika: Do you often experiment with your makeup?
Greta: I haven't done much with makeup. Don't get me wrong I've always wanted to just didn't think it worked for me while living as a guy. Then I wanted to let the effects of HRT take place before I did anything, then I wanted to have electrolysis done before I began makeup. Then I wanted to have FFS surgery done, now I want my swelling to subside. Basically, I am a little scared of it. Weird I know, I've been a stand-up comedian (3 years not bad) I ran for state office (liberal democrat ) but makeup done poorly looks like a clown or a whore or someone who doesn't care about themselves.
I've slowly introduced a few things like mascara, foundation, or light base of some kind. I actually want to have more experience before I get my hair done in mid-July. I changed my gender and name months ago, I was just waiting to get back from Spain and FFS before I got a new driver's license. This is a big year for me, all the government entities and financial institutions will have a decree headed to them.


All the photos: courtesy of Greta Brown.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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