Wednesday 6 March 2024

Interview with Lilith Primavera

Monika: Lilith Primavera is an Italian actress, singer and LGBTQI+ activist, one of the beloved faces of the TV series “Le fate ignoranti”, directed by Ferzan Özpetek. She was born in Rome and has worked in various professions such as a radio host, author, poet, and performer. She has also appeared in several films including “Mamma + Mamma” and “Anima bella”. As a singer, she has released several electropop singles such as “Vanilla”, Polvere e Pelle”, “Molto”, “Taboo”, “Goodbye My Lover”, “Vieni a Prendermi”, “Nuda”, “Quattro Parole”, and “AMAMI”. She has also given speeches at events such as Carla 2020, where she spoke about the importance of LGBTQ+ rights. Thank you so much for finding some time to chat with me.
Lilith: Thank you Monika and thank you for your precious research work.
Monika: Lilith is such a nice name. When I checked it up, I realized that it comes from Mesopotamian and Jewish mythology, and it is a female figure, theorized to be the first wife of Adam and supposedly the primordial she-demon. Lilith is cited as having been banished from the Garden of Eden for not obeying Adam. Does the name match your character well? 
Lilith: As I tell in the podcast “MALAFEMMINA” (the first Italian podcast to talk about transition in the first person, created in 2020) on Storytel, directed by Chloè Barreau, this name is the legacy that my mother left me when I met her after many years of separation, right at the beginning of my life as a woman. I was 19 and we hadn't seen each other for over ten years: my parents divorced in the early 80s and I was entrusted to my father. I never saw my mother again who was a drug addict and my father's family kept me away from her. 

Monday 4 March 2024

Interview with Alicia Jane Ryder

Monika: Alicia Jane Ryder, an American trans activist and former US Government official, is my lovely guest today. Hello Alicia! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Alicia: Hello Monika! Thank you for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Alicia: I am a 71-year-old transgender woman, completely transitioned through surgeries, 7 sessions, 57 hours total. Retired from Government service after 51 years total, 26 for the feds and the balance for the state of Oregon.
Monika: What inspired you to be an LGBT advocate?
Alicia: I and my wife are both transgender. Together for 25 years married one day after it became legal.
Monika: How did you meet your wife? Was it love at first sight?
Alicia: We were both working on social issues and got a committee assignment together.

Sunday 3 March 2024

Interview with Lea Amanda Svensson

Monika: Lea Amanda Svensson is my lovely guest today. She is a Swedish physician, biker girl, high heels lover, hobby photographer, and proud transgender woman who chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Lea! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Lea: Thank you for your invitation, Monika! I apologize for the lack of my availability but I was extremely busy during the last month. Being a doctor and a single parent is not really easy. Time and energy meet each other rather seldom in my case.
Monika: No problem! Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lea: I am a 46-year-old trans woman coming from Russia, Saint-Petersburg. I moved to Sweden 6 years ago to work as a doctor in a little village in the southwest part of this beautiful country. I moved here to go through my transition also because Russia has never been a friendly place for trans people. It took extremely much time and energy to take me here, but I never had a single regret about it. I am finishing my education and soon I will be a specialist in general practice.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Interview with Gabriella Karlton

Monika: Today I have invited Gabriella Karlton. She is a Belgian model and proud transgender woman who shares her life moments on social media. Hello Gabriella! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Gabriella: Hello, nice to be with you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Gabriella: Of course. As said previously, I am Belgian, I was born and have lived all my life in this small, somewhat complex country. I love cooking, exercising, and shopping. I'm also keen on art history and architecture... In the end, I think I'm a pretty ordinary woman.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Gabriella: Initially my Instagram didn't look at all like the one you discovered. I signed up because a few friends told me it was funnier than Facebook and Snapchat where I posted very little. In fact, my family is on Facebook and was quite uncomfortable with the idea of showing so much of me.
After a few weeks, I took it for a game and it helped me externalize certain facets of myself. It is sometimes easier to have a screen between yourself and others.

Saturday 24 February 2024

Interview with Bernadette Wagenblast

Monika: Bernadette Wagenblast, also known as The Voice of the Subway, is an American transportation journalist, radio personality, and voice-over artist. She is the founder and editor of the Transportation Communications Newsletter and the voice of various transportation facilities in New York City, such as the AirTrain and the Subway. She was active in her college’s radio station, WSOU, where she served as the news director and station manager. She also appeared on several New York City radio stations over five years, including WINS and WABC. She later joined the New York City Department of Transportation, where she helped to establish the city’s first transportation communications center. Hello Bernadette! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Bernadette: Thank you for the invitation, Monika!
Monika: Your voice is known to all the New Yorkers using the Subway. Is it easy to live with the voice that is so ubiquitous in New York?
Bernadette: I’m thankful for that voice. I’ve done more with it than I ever imagined and because of it I now have a platform to share my story. I hope by sharing my narrative more people will have a greater understanding of those of us who are trans. I’m putting a face to being trans for something that is part of many New Yorker’s daily lives.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Interview with Addie Danielle

Monika: Today I have invited Addie Danielle, a Canadian woman from Nova Scotia, who chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Addie! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Addie: Thank you so much for the invitation! I’m honored to be able to share a bit of my journey with you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Addie: I’m a 33-year-old Trans woman from Atlantic Canada. I’m the General Manager of a boutique corporate audio-visual company that specializes in press conferences, live streams, internal meetings, etc. I’ve been working in the event production industry in some capacity for 12 years. I live alone in a quiet neighborhood outside the city with two crazy dogs and I spend my free time hiking, paddling, and restaurant/cafe hopping.

Friday 16 February 2024

Interview with Alessandra Alferes

Monika: My lovely guest today is Alessandra Alferes, a transactivist, content creator, pianist, and mother of two children from São Paulo, Brazil. She is a screenwriter, producer, director, and editor of the TransSaber channel and presenter of the VídeoCast “Café Trans”. Hello Ale! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Ale: Hello, Monika! Thank you for the opportunity!
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Ale: I am a musician, conductor at UNESP, and professor of Music, Languages, Public Speaking and Performance. I have a specialization in Teaching and another in Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations. I give lectures on the LGBTQIAPN+ agenda at universities and schools and participate in podcasts as a guest, in addition to producing my own podcast through the TransSaber Channel. I am also the "mama" of a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl.

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Interview with Lucy Sante

Monika: Lucy Sante is a well-known Belgian-born American writer, critic, and artist. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and the author of several books, including “Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York” (1991) and “The Other Paris” (2015). Until her retirement in 2023, she was also a professor of writing and the history of photography at Bard College. In 2024, she published her transition memoir “I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition”. Hello Lucy! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Lucy: Thanks for inviting me! I’ve dipped into your blog many times over the past five or ten years, and it has helped me see the great variety of transgender experiences.
Monika: Thank you so much! I am always happy to help my sisters. You are a very prolific writer. What makes someone a good writer?
Lucy: Close attention to language and its nuances; a sense of adventure and exploration about writing itself, quite apart from the subject matter.

Monday 12 February 2024

Interview with Hazel Krebs

Monika: Hazel Krebs, a proud American transgender woman and a mother of two incredible kids, is my lovely guest today. Hazel is a writer, speaker, and transadvocate. She is the author of “Enthusiastically Me“ (2024), a book about her journey towards womanhood. Hello Hazel! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Hazel: Thank you, Monika! I am ecstatic for this opportunity!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hazel: Sure! My name is Hazel, and I am unapologetically me! Recently, I published a book that discusses the hardships I faced after growing up in a world that didn’t know the real me.
In the beginning, I was assigned male at birth in Omaha, Nebraska. I grew up in what I consider a fairly typical midwestern situation, characterized by traditional expectations, which influenced me into adulthood. I went to college, found someone I eventually married, then had two kids. I adore my kids and co-parent, from whom I have since separated. These are the three most important people in my life.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Interview with Michelle Karas

Monika: Today my guest is Michelle Karas, a Ukrainian transactivist and social media influencer. Hello Michelle! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Michelle: Hello! I was very pleased to receive an invitation for an interview. I hope I will be able to answer all the questions thoroughly and well. Thank you for the invitation!
Monika: All the eyes of the free world are set on the war raging in Ukraine. Are you safe now?
Michelle: While there is a war in Ukraine, and every day there are air raid alarms and explosions in one or another region, I cannot say that I or other Ukrainians are safe. Now we are choosing the right to freedom, we are fighting for the existence of our country. Of course, no one in Ukraine will be safe until we win the war. People die every day, and this is a horror that has become a reality in the center of Europe in the 21st century.
On behalf of all Ukrainians, I want to sincerely thank the democratic countries for their great support, without you we would not have survived, your help is very much needed even now. Together we will defeat the autocracy.

Friday 2 February 2024

Interview with Vanessa Joy

Monika: Today I have invited Vanessa Joy, an American podcast hostess, transactivist, and politician. Vanessa is known for participating in Transcending Humanity, a podcast group of Transgender/Nonbinary/Gender friends, and her Vanesstradiol YouTube channel where she chronicles her transition. A couple of weeks ago, she ran as a Democratic candidate for the Ohio House District 50, but was disqualified from the ballot for omitting her previous name. Joy was one of four transgender candidates running for state office in Ohio, largely in response to proposed restrictions of the rights of LGBTQ+ people. She is also the stepdaughter of GOP state Representative Bill Roemer. Hello Vanessa! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Vanessa: Thank you for reaching out!
Monika: It has been a couple of weeks since you were disqualified from the ballot. It must have been a bitter experience. 
Vanessa: It was very disappointing, yes. I was caught completely off guard; I figured that if I was going to be disqualified it would have been because I did have enough valid signatures. I did have enough, this obscure law was a complete surprise. It was too many people, really, which is why it became such big news for four weeks!

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Interview with Kira Maevska

Monika: Today I am chatting with Kira Maevska, a Belarusian lawyer and proud transgender woman who chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Kira! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Kira: Hello Monika. My pleasure, thank you for inviting me. 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Kira: Well, I’m 34 years old. I run my own small legal practice and specialize in web3 and fintech spheres. Currently, I live in Georgia and enjoy a nice sea view each day. Mmm, what else… I prefer to spend my free time with long walks and nice people.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Kira: Here are two major reasons for that. First of all, my social media is my own way of better exploring myself as well as discovering my femininity and sexuality. Another point is that it is a kind of chronicle of my transition that could be useful for me, for example, being an anchor in overcoming gender dysphoria as well as serving as motivation for other trans people. I’m trying to divide what can go public and what should stay private.

Monday 29 January 2024

Interview with Veronica Zerrer

Monika: Today I am very happy to present to you the story of a charismatic woman and soldier. Veronica Zerrer grew up on a farm in Kansas and retired from the US Army in 1998 having served nearly twenty three years. She relocated to California after gender transition in 2000. She worked in Intelligence, was a Cavalry Scout, and commanded a company in an Armor Battalion. She held numerous staff jobs at the battalion, brigade, and division levels with the Army’s 1st and 35th Infantry Divisions. She is the author of “Memoirs of a Cold Warrior: A Novel” (2022). Hello Veronica!
Veronica: Hello Monika!
Monika: Did you always want to be a soldier?
Veronica: Oh yes. My earliest memories were of playing soldier, either alone or with my friends. I was fascinated by everything military. I read histories of the World Wars, the American Civil War. I used to listen to and enjoy my father’s stories of his service during the Korean war.
Monika: You must have served in many exotic countries.
Veronica: The most interesting country I served in was Türkiye. The most enjoyable was being stationed on Guam. The coldest. Winter in Japan. The best coffee I ever have had in my life was in Germany. I’ve traveled to the Philippines, The Republic of China - Taiwan, Italy, Greece, and France.

Saturday 27 January 2024

Interview with Erica Taylor

Monika: Today I have invited Erica Taylor, also known as Erica Cherry, an American adult movie actress, artist, performer, and a proud transgender woman. Hello Erica! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Erica: You are very welcome! I'm happy to be interviewed alongside so many of the other inspirations and icons you have interviewed so far.
Monika: You seem to be a woman of many talents. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Erica: I suppose I really enjoy learning how to do things! Learning is sort of an addiction for me and so I've picked up a bunch of skills that sometimes help in my life and other times are just fun. I especially have a life-long habit and interest in composing music, I definitely love to develop myself in that way.
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?
Erica: The hardest thing was absolutely the reaction of my family to my transition, I would say that I lost everything, but it also set me free in a sort of way.

Sunday 21 January 2024

Interview with Teegan Toftely

Monika: Today I am chatting with Teegan Toftely, an American woman who chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Teegan! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Teegan: It’s my pleasure!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Teegan: Of course, Monika! My name is Teegan Toftely. I’m a 54-year-old trans woman living in the United States in the Midwest State of Minnesota. I live in the Twin Cities area. It's been my home for a very long time.
I work in the tech industry and have done so for over 20 years. Before that, I was an attorney. After working in a law firm for a few years, I came to find that I just didn't have the passion or the temperament for the work. After quitting the firm, I sent myself adrift for a while. During that time, I discovered that I had a knack for tech, so I took it upon myself to get the skills I needed. In a fairly short amount of time, I was able to earn about the same amount as I was in the law, but I was no longer conflicted.

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Interview with Hayley Rose

Monika: Today I am chatting with Hayley Rose, an American woman who chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Hayley! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Hayley: Hello Monika and all the readers!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hayley: Hello I am Hayley Rose, I am an American Transgender woman. I am from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Hayley: I share my story so any trans person can hear my story or in fact, any person cisgender, nonbinary or trans, as a strength to be our authentic selves, and hopefully it will inspire anyone to be their true self. It is never too late. I am approaching middle age and started the transition 7-8 months ago.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Interview with Tilly Bridges

Monika: Tilly Bridges is an American writer of teleplays, comics, screenplays, and a pioneer of audio dramas. Along with her wife and creative partner, Susan Bridges, they are a married trans woman/cis woman writing team in Hollywood and their works include head writing for the 2021 Hugo Awards, 2023 Nebula Awards, writing for the new Monster High animated series, more than half a dozen comic anthologies, their unscripted podcast Tilly’s Trans Tuesdays and the Star Trek Adventures and Fallout role-playing games. She is the author of “Begin Transmission: The Trans Allegories of the Matrix” (2023). Hello Tilly! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Tilly: Thank you so much for asking! I’m delighted to be chatting with you.
Monika: Before we talk about the trans allegories of Matrix, I want to ask you about your teenage years and the start of your professional career. Did you always know that writing would be your vocation?
Tilly: No, not at all. In the time and place where I grew up, being a screenwriter wasn’t something anybody had ever heard of or knew how to do. I would write a few stories on my own, and would love getting to write fiction for assignments in English class in school, but that was the extent of it. I wanted to know so badly how to write for movies and television, but that wasn’t an avenue that was open to me. I initially went to college studying for a dual major in chemistry and physics, but I grew disillusioned with it pretty quickly. That’s when the writing bug really bit me and there was no turning back.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Interview with with Rylie

Monika: Today I am chatting with Rylie, an American woman who chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Rylie! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Rylie: Of course, thank you for the invitation.
Monika: Could you please introduce yourself and your background? 
Rylie: I am not sure where to begin, but I will try to keep it brief. I am a 25-year-old wife and mother. I was a lifelong member of the Mormon church and even voluntarily worked for them full-time for two years across Southern Japan in my early adulthood. However, from as young as I can remember, I have had gender dysphoria. This caused internal hatred, pain, and confusion because Mormons aren’t allowed to transition and are told that God doesn’t make mistakes with gender. I felt completely alone and broken. As an adult, after much study of the religion’s historical inaccuracies, I was able to deconstruct my belief in the Mormon church. Once I left the religion, I realized transition was now an option, but felt like it was too late since my wife was expecting and I was worried that transition would cause a divorce and complicate my son’s life. After my son was born, the dysphoria-induced depression reached its peak.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Interview with Christina Vegas

Monika: Christina Vegas is my lovely guest today. Christina is an American singer and multi-vocal impersonator and has traveled the globe performing her variety show. She’s been a featured headliner on international cruise ships, casino showrooms, corporate events and USO tours of Bosnia and Kosovo, where she performed her one-person show for both the US and UN Peace Keeping Forces. She is the author of "Transformative Surgeries: What to Expect at Each Surgical Stage of your Transgender Journey" (2023). Hello Christina! 
Christina: Hi Monika! Thank you for reaching out.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Christina: I’m a middle-aged trans woman currently living in Canada. I’m a writer, performer, and producer, and I have two amazing daughters.
Monika: When did you decide to become a professional singer?
Christina: I’ve always loved singing. I was in a band when I was 16 and went on to study musical theatre in college. I’ve been a professional singer since then but I also write and produce film and theatre projects.

Sunday 7 January 2024

Interview with Revnika

Monika: Today I am chatting with Revnika, a Filipino lady living in the USA who chronicles her transition on social media. Hello Revnika! Thank you for accepting my invitation. 
Revnika: It’s an honor, Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Revnika: I’m from Pangasinan Philippines, and have traveled around since my father was in the Navy. I have lived in some countries and the US. Currently living in Oregon, and finally working on my goals to be the better person I was meant to be, my true self.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Revnika: I didn’t realize there were people like me who felt out of place so young, trying to find answers, and continuously finding my true self. Somehow just browsing the web and watching videos I came across stories and timelines that I relate with. My depression was getting worse, that it got out of hand, and I needed to find help. 39 years of my life I was not happy, and I needed to do something about it. I’m 42 now, and I wanted to be as inspiring as others who have helped me through the hardest times in my life, no one should ever feel lost, or alone. 

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Liz Hodgkinson on Bodyshock: The Truth about Changing Sex

Monika: Today I have the sheer pleasure of talking to Liz Hodgkinson, a British prominent author and journalist who has written more than 50 books that have been translated into over 20 languages. She has also written articles for most of the major British national newspapers in London, and for magazines for women. And she is the author of “Bodyshock: The Truth about Changing Sex” (1987), one of the best journalism books on transsexuality, a book that is very dear to me too. Hello Liz! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Liz: That’s OK. Happy to talk to you.
Monika: We have just entered into a brand new year. Do you have any special commitments for 2024?
Liz: Just to get my new books published!
Monika: Are you working on a new book now?
Liz: I have just finished a new book, titled: "A Mink Coat in St Neots: My Mother’s Flower Shop and the mystery of a Wealthy Russian Princess." It is an extraordinary true story, never before told, and will be published this Autumn by Mount Orleans Press.

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