Tuesday 28 February 2023

Interview with Kimberly Davis

Monika: Today I have the sheer pleasure of meeting Rebekah Kimberly Davis, the author of "Becoming Kimberly: A Transgender's Journey" (2021), a biographical book that covers different aspects of her transition. Hello Kimberly!
Kimberly: Hi Monika! Thank you for speaking with me today. It is a pleasure.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kimberly: I have always known something was different in me but being raised in the rural southern USA, I had to pretend to be someone else for most of my life. I was married twice and fathered three sons. My second marriage ended in 2016 with the death of my wife of 24 years. Her death freed me from a promise I made to her early in the marriage.
The first year Vikki and I were married, she discovered my girl clothes. The first thing on her mind was that I was having an affair. So, I made a full admission of my cross-dressing activities. Vikki, being an old hippie and survivor of the sexual revolution, did her level best to accept this and bring it out into our bedroom. She could not quite accept it.

Sunday 26 February 2023

Interview with Jessie McGrath

Monika: You do not like lawyers? Please do not go away because today I have invited a nice lawyer and an amazing woman. Jessie McGrath has been a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 1988. Her areas of expertise include consumer protection, cyber-crime, narcotics, and juvenile law. She has been lead counsel or co-counsel in consumer protection cases against Apple, Uber, Sony BMG, Choice Point, Honda of Santa Monica, McKenna BMW, and Gunderson Chevrolet. In April 2002 she was named Deputy District Attorney of the Month. Ms. McGrath has served on the Board of Directors and was Executive Vice President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the union representing the more than 900 rank and file prosecutors of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She is the happy parent of five children, three of whom will be lawyers too. Hello Jessie!
Jessie: Hi Monika. Thank you so much for reaching out to me and asking me to participate in your amazing work.

Thursday 23 February 2023

Interview with Antonella Lerca Duda

Monika: Today we are going to Bucharest, the lovely capital city of Romania, where I am meeting Antonella Lerca Duda, a Romanian LGBTQI activist, author, and transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Antonella is the first transwoman in Romania to have run for public office, dedicated to improving the social standing of women, sex workers, and the Roma community. Hello Antonella!
Antonella: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Antonella: I would like to greet all the readers of this fantastic blog. I am a Roma transwoman, the author of the book “Sex Work Is Work, O Poveste Transgen” (2020), and a human rights activist. I have been an activist for five years.
Having spent 11 years in Italy, I could see that trans women are not represented in Romania, so I decided to come back to my home country and fight for the rights of my trans sisters and brothers. Since then I have been trying to be visible and vocal everywhere in Romania, supporting the transgender Roma community and sex workers.

Monday 20 February 2023

Interview with Lily Gist

Monika: Frida Kill is a Brooklyn-based intersectional feminist punk band. It consists of Lily Gist, Jeanette D. Moses, Maria Lina, and Gaby Canales. And today I am meeting Lily Gist to talk about her inspirations, being a trans artist, and her artistic perception of the world.
Hello Lily! You are a perfect example that punk rock is not dead!
Lily: Hi Monika! So are you, I just play loud music.
Monika: I always associate punk music with authenticity and equality. Is it difficult to achieve this with four strong-minded, charismatic ladies with different backgrounds and experiences?
Lily: We’re very different people from very different backgrounds. The other three don’t know what it’s like to be trans and I don’t know what it’s like to be Black, Hispanic, Jewish, from an immigrant family, or to have a pastor for a father. We all lead and support, fill multiple roles, different songs have different singers and we swap instruments often. Navigating each other’s differences can be complex work sometimes but we all have each other’s backs 100% and even when we argue or push each other’s buttons we listen and learn.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Interview with Emily Green

Monika: The city of Glasgow is our next destination today where my guest lives. Emily Green is a Scottish transgender woman and blogger that documents her transition on social media. Hello Emily!
Emily: Hiya Monika thank you for having me!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Emily: I'm 37 and I am a civil servant by job. I'm a massive wrestling fan and enjoy being a foodie and a small-batch coffee geek. I dabble with the odd ice hockey game and enjoy six nations rugby. I also blog about craft beers as Glasgow Beer Girl.
Monika: When I visit the UK, I usually drink Caffrey's, my favourite one, which is not a craft beer but still palatable to me. What is your favourite one?
Emily: I have a soft spot for the German lager Augustiner Helles. I love IPAs, stouts, and porters.

Monday 13 February 2023

Interview with Mary Ann Horton

Monika: Today I have the pleasure of talking to Mary Ann Horton, PhD, an American transgender activist, computer systems architect, Internet pioneer, entrepreneur, author, and speaker. In 1997, she persuaded Lucent Technologies to become the first Fortune 500 company to add transgender-inclusive language to its nondiscrimination policy, and to add coverage for transition care and surgery. Her work, which was soon replicated at Apple and Avaya, led Out & Equal Workplace Associates to present her with the 2001 Trailblazer Outie Award (since renamed the LGBT Corporate Advocate of the Year).
Mary Ann founded several transgender social and activist groups. She conducted a research study that proved the addition of transgender medical coverage would cost companies virtually nothing. She has been featured in the Daily Beast, Out Magazine, Google Arts and Culture, Salon, Diversity Factor, SHRM, L-Mag, Nokia, Faces of Open Source, and Out TV. Hello Mary Ann!
Mary Ann: Hi, Monika. Thanks for inviting me.
Monika: You give a lot of interviews. What is the most frequent question related to your professional career or transition that you are usually asked and you are already fed up with?
Mary Ann: You know, I get a lot of great questions, but none of them really annoy me. One of the most challenging questions is “Are you treated worse professionally as a woman than you were as a man?” After all, many professional women are talked down to, looked over for promotion, or asked to make coffee.

Saturday 11 February 2023

Interview with Dana Day

Monika: Today I have invited Dana Day, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Hello Dana!
Dana: Hi Monika! And thank you for your interest in my journey!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Dana: I'm 42 years old and rebuilding my life. Essentially starting life over but this time, as myself. It's taken me a long time to find self-acceptance, but when I did, the decision to transition was an obvious one. The real me has always been creative and imaginative, but somewhere along my many lost years, I sold my soul for security and financial gain.
I buried my identity because of my desperation for acceptance from others. So in a broad sense, my journey to transition involves much more than just medically transitioning. It is a long walk down a path where I eagerly relinquish my past burdens and expectations and take my newfound energy to grow, to blossom, to finally... buy my soul back.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Dana: In my opinion, the most powerful tool for any transgender person, to bring to bear, is simply being visible for others to see. It is a statement so moving, that the foundations of society crumble at the edges. Just the acknowledgment of our existence pushes civilization to grow up.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Interview with Jillian Rae Celentano

Monika: Today I would like to present to you Jillian Rae Celentano, LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker), an American author and advocate for the transgender community, a mentor for trans youth, and has organized support groups for transgender children and young adults. Jillian co-authored two published transgender studies at Yale University and is a Community Liaison at the Yale Gender Program. Her book "Transitioning Later in Life: A Personal Guide" was published in 2021. Hello Jillian!
Jillian: Hello Monika! Thanks for having me.
Monika: Given my own experience as well as that of many girls and women that I interviewed, I wonder whether we should be called ‘runners’ instead of transwomen. We run, run, and run away from our feminine self until it catches up with us. The only difference is how long we can run away. Was it the same in your case?
Jillian: I have never thought of it that way, but that does hold a lot of truth. I knew something was different since the age of 5. When I told people I felt like a girl they made it very clear that I was a boy. This made me feel shameful, so I never spoke of it again. So my “running” journey was a 55-year run. But as you said, “she” finally caught up to me. I was so afraid of my feminine side and thought she was the enemy, but when confronted, I found out my feminine side was my savior and was the beginning of my true happiness.

Saturday 4 February 2023

Interview with Claudine Griggs

Monika: My guest today is Claudine Griggs, an American writer and college writing instructor. She earned her BA and MA in English at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and she has worked as the Writing Center Director at Rhode Island College and as a visiting professor of communication skills at Soka University of America.
She is currently a part-time writing specialist at the Bush School of Government and Public Service in Washington, D.C. Claudine is known for her science fiction stories, including "The Cold Waters of Europa," "Growing Up Human," "Firestorm," "Maiden Voyage of the Fearless," "Death after Dying," "Informed Consent," "The Gender Blender," and "Raptures of the Deep."
One of her stories, "Helping Hand," was selected for The Year's Best Military and Adventure SF 2015 and was adapted as an episode in the Netflix series Love, Death and Robots. Her most recent book, Firestorm, a collection of twenty-three of her short stories, was released in March 2022. Her novel Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was published in June 2020.
Hello, Claudine! I am so happy that you have accepted my invitation!
Claudine: Thank you. It was a pleasure to hear from you.
Monika: You are a very prolific writer. What do you think makes a good story?
Claudine: If I knew the precise answer, I’d probably write more stories like “Helping Hand.” But it’s difficult to predict what will interest a publisher or a producer, so I focus on creating stories that interest me. The most important aspect is the narrative itself. I know that character is important, too, but for me the story carries more weight. I love journeys and optimism along with a bit of the heroic. I also think that humans are a pretty good species, overall, and I often reflect this in my work. And if narrative surprises happen along the way, even better. But again—story, story, story.

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