Thursday, 23 March 2023

Interview with Basilia Loren

Monika: The sunny state of California is our next destination today where I am meeting a lovely guest. Basilia Loren is an American transgender activist and the author of "Secret Tear - Beginning stage of life" (2020). Hello Basilia! Thank you for accepting my invitation!
Basilia: You are very welcome Monika! It surely is a pleasure, thank you for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Basilia: I'm more than happy to say a few words about myself, Monika. My name is Basilia Loren aka Silia Loren. I consider myself a strong and proud Transwoman, a spiritual being who strongly believes in the power of prayers! I was born in Stockton, California on July 4th, 1957. That said, makes me 65 years of age.
As far as my journey as a transwoman, I officially transitioned on June 20, 1983, and became post-op in September 1993. In those days keeping stealth was keeping safe. So I kept stealth until 2003 when I was introduced to the transgender community by Angela Burgess, unfortunately, she crossed the rainbow a few years back. This is when I heard the word, “Transgender” and other terms within the LGBTQ+ community that I was completely unaware of its existence.

Monday, 20 March 2023

Interview with Taylor Van Malsen

Monika: Today I have invited Taylor Van Malsen, an American gamer, golfer, artist, happy mother and wife, and transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Hello Taylor!
Taylor: Hello Monika! Typically it's just "American Transgender Woman who likes to play video games and golf," but I like the way you said it much better! Makes it sound like I'm good enough to do that stuff professionally.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Taylor: Sure! I'm a 31-year-old woman, who lives in West Michigan with my wife Sarah and daughter Valerie. In my free time (like we said earlier) I really like to play video games and go golfing. I also enjoy drawing and have always dreamed of a career as a tattoo artist. Oh, and I'm transgender.

Friday, 17 March 2023

Interview with Rebeckah Loveday

Monika: Today I have the pleasure of talking to Rebeckah Loveday, an inspirational Australian transgender advocate and activist from Melbourne, actress, fashion model, beauty pageant queen, and radio personality on Joy 94.9. Hello Rebeckah!
Rebeckah: Hi Monika! Thank you so much for the warm welcome and introduction. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you.
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. How would you define your vocation?
Rebeckah: Thank you, Monika. I really enjoy all the different avenues I embed myself in. I have always had a passion for helping others, and currently, I am working in Community Services supporting people experiencing homelessness. Alongside that, I do a lot of work within the trans community, creating projects that benefit the trans community through advocacy, awareness, and community collaboration. I think in a nutshell, I define my vocation as being a trans advocate and social activist.

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Interview with Nora Dahmer

Monika: Today I have the pleasure of talking to Nora Dahmer, a German businesswoman and transgender activist from the Rhineland, and the author of "Endlich Nora!: Aus einem Transgenderleben" (Finally Nora!: From a Transgender Life). Hello Nora!
Nora: Hello Monika, nice to meet you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Nora: My name is Nora and I am 60 years old. For almost 3 years I have been living as a woman in society. I have two adult children. I advise companies on strategic issues as a freelancer. At the same time, I give lectures at schools and in companies for teachers and managers about LGBTQIA+.
Monika: What inspired you to write "Endlich Nora!: Aus einem Transgenderleben" (2022)?
Nora: With the decision to change my life, I sat down and reviewed everything for myself. Then I kept a kind of diary for myself practically during my transition from the moment I came out. I noticed how much was happening to me and my environment and decided to make a book out of my scripts. The aim was to help other people and to explain the background.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Interview with Andrea Rossi

Monika: Today my guest is Andrea Rossi, a fashion model, beauty ambassador, makeup artist, and proud and happy transgender woman from the Czech Republic. Hello Andrea!
Andrea: Hi Monika, thank you for the invitation. And also greetings to all readers.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Andrea: My name is Andrea, I am 33 years old and I live in Prague, Czech Republic. I moved to Prague right after my eighteenth birthday in order to fulfill my dreams and find love. It sounds like a Sex and the City cliché. But I hoped that I would succeed, which finally came true.
I come from a small village where I could not realize myself even in what I wanted to do professionally. And that was the world of fashion and makeup. Of course, I had to start somewhere, so my first job was as a saleswoman in a chain. When I earned some money, I paid for a make-up course from the main Christian Dior make-up instructor. Since then I have met the most interesting people.

Interview with Alysha Scarlett

Monika: Today I have invited Alysha Scarlett. Alysha has won 13 writing awards, is an American business owner, wrote a book, and was a screenwriter for a theatrical film. She is the first transgender or non-binary person to get their name and gender legally affirmed in a rural Utah county. Hello Alysha!
Alysha: Hi Monika! Thank you for having me on The Heroines of My Life!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Alysha: I am 33 years old and from Utah. Accepting myself closes the book on a years-long journey to realize my identity. My accepting myself had a direct connection with me not letting residue from the Latter-day Saint (formerly Mormon) church influence me any longer. I am on hormone replacement therapy. I also look forward to doing all medical transition surgeries this year.
Monika: I have visited the website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been shocked by their attitude toward transgender people. In short, they do not allow medical, surgical, or social transition among their believers, and they specify that “taking these actions will be cause for Church membership restrictions.”
Alysha: This is one of many, many ways that the church doesn’t deserve to have “Jesus Christ” in its name.

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Interview with Mariette Pathy Allen

Monika: Today’s guest is not a transgender woman but for the last 45 years she has been one of the biggest allies of our community and is often referred to as the official photographer of the transgender community.
Mariette Pathy Allen is a well-known photographer for transgender, genderfluid, and intersex people. Through her artistic practice, she has been a pioneering force in gender consciousness, contributing to numerous cultural and academic publications about gender variance and lecturing throughout the globe.
She published five books, "Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them" (1989), "Masked Culture: The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade" (1994) - she was one of five photographers, "The Gender Frontier" (2004), "TransCuba" (2014) and "Transcendents: Spirit Mediums in Burma and Thailand" (2017). Her photographs have been exhibited internationally and they are available in many public and private collections. She is represented by Clamp NYC.
Hello Mariette! I am so happy that you have accepted my invitation!
Mariette: Hello Monika, thanks for having me.
Monika: Did your parents always support your interest in painting and photography?
Mariette: Visual art was my strong suit from the beginning. When I went to school, I would disappear into the art studio as often as possible, sometimes missing math class! My family was in favor of my painting and I had an aunt who was an artist who was very important to me.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Interview with Nathalie Rettenbacher

Monika: Vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria, is the venue of today’s meeting with Nathalie Rettenbacher, an inspirational Austrian woman, comedian, and performer. Nathalie is a member of "Politically Correct Comedy Club" (PCCC*), Vienna's first queer comedy club, where she addresses her experiences as a trans woman in Austria. Hello Nathalie!
Nathalie: Hi Monika, what an honour to be part of your project and your blog. I think it is vitally important to gather and share positive stories about trans women. Thank you for doing that.
Monika: By the way, I love your orange hair. Is it your favourite colour?
Nathalie: Thank you so much! Orange has been my favourite colour for a long time I guess. I started dyeing my hair in that colour a few years ago and never looked back.

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.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Interview with Niya

Monika: Today I have invited Niya, an American transgender woman who documents her transition on social media. Hello Niya!
Niya: Hi Monika, thank you so much for inviting me to do this!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Niya: My name is Niya and I'm a 26-year-old transgender woman. I started my transition at 18 and here I am now I guess.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Niya: I'm pretty much an open book, but I like to share a lot of myself on social media because it's not only good to show others the progress you can make, but to also keep track of it yourself. Transitioning can be a very daunting task, and I think seeing others succeed in their transition can drive you to do the same in yours.

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Interview with Ashley Adamson

Monika: Today I have a special guest for you. Ashley Adamson is an American speaker and writer on transgender personal growth and advocacy, YouTube vlogger, and transactivist. She is the founder of the Trans Resiliency project and Trans Club - a community dedicated to supporting the transgender community. She has spoken at conferences and for NGOs, including UNICEF, universities, and corporations, and appeared in major media outlets such as MTV, USA Today, and DW. Ashley is the author of Trans Kung Fu: Awakening of Self Acceptance (2021). Hello Ashley!
Ashley: Hello Monika!
Monika: You seem to be a woman of many talents. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ashley: Thank youuuuu! I'm glad you see that. I actually have no talents haha! I am just good at teaching myself whatever I need to do and that makes me appear like I have many talents but honestly, I'm just decent at a lot of things. Uhm, I dunno I guess the most important thing in my life's mission is to help thousands of people questioning and/or trans figure out who they are and then follow their path or life's purpose.

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