Interview with Deena Kaye Rose - Part 2

Monika: And?
Deena: For the last time, I went to the hotel where I had been staying, put on my makeup, slipped on my favorite pencil skirt and flowered top, and then, choosing a few pieces of my favorite jewelry, I checked out and headed north into a new life of exciting uncertainty. As I drove out of Nashville for the last time, I thought, I came here with everything I needed to be packed in my car and $800. I am leaving with everything I need to be packed in my car and $1000. So in 30 years, I have made $200!
Monika: At the time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed? Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
Deena: At some time or other I have seen great transladies that were inspirational and who I admired tremendously. Certainly, Christine Jorgensen had my great respect. April Ashley, Renee Richards, all of the ladies who transitioned without being intimidated by the “what-will-people-think” mindset. The footprints of their high heels are certainly ahead of me on the path that I travel.
Monika: Absolutely right!
Deena: Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” That is why I have so much respect for Caitlyn Jenner. Choosing to transition in the fishbowl that is her life is a serious commitment. Deciding to transition is not just an impulse, akin to walking through Petco and deciding to buy a goldfish. If transition dies, one cannot just flush it down the toilet.

Onstage at a college in Seattle, WA.

And Caitlyn often gets such a bad rap from our own community. How can we profess the principle of living an authentic life and then when Ms. Jenner does just that, we attack her for being rich, having white privilege, being unaware of perpetual trans attitudes, and knowing Kanye West? Come on, it has been less than a year since she took the “Pink Plunge” into the Transgender world. Give the lady a break. She has not set herself up as the spokeswoman for us all; the media has been mostly responsible for promoting that. She is trying to learn what a 65-year-old cis woman has spent a lifetime learning. She is learning what most of us have had secret nights and dozens of years to absorb and in just a few months.
Her public metamorphosis has certainly raised the level of the discussion of Gender Variance. Now we all can say we have known someone who was male-born before she came out as transgender. So if there is a transgender woman who does not want to stand by Caitlyn, move out of the way so that I CAN! She is my sister.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Deena: Probably the actual, definite decision to DO IT!
I am rather hesitant to say that it has been okay, not easy, but certainly, a progressive process that, once begun, is just a matter of connecting the gender dots to make the final picture.

Backstage in Nashville before Transition.

Now there are very few persons to whom I have reached out and given them the information about my changes who have chosen NOT to respond to me. In fact, to date, there are only two people who knew me before and have not returned an answer to my letters. I suppose that says more about them than it does about me.
Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBT communities. Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBT group?
Deena: At times it has been difficult to be near the last in billing. And, of the original four letters, LGBT, we are the people who are not defined by our sexual practices. But in the association of LGBT, we are the Glitter.
You don’t hear people say, “Let’s go to the bisexual bar!”.
Monika: What do you think in general about transgender news stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Deena: Well, I have heard so many TransPeople say that all Trans movie roles should be played by Transgender actors. As a person who has been in show Biz for many decades, I can tell you, one must hire the RIGHT actor, not just an actor who has lived a similar story. Using that reasoning, all of the murders portrayed in film should be played by artists who have actually KILLED someone.
So “Tangerine” is a wonderful work of art. “HerStory” is absolutely exquisite. “The Danish Girl” made me cry. “Sense8,” though very violent, featured a terrific trans actress, Jamie Clayton, in a trans role. This Netflix series was mostly written and directed by the Wachowski sisters, Lana and Lilly. Oh, and one of the cisgender nurses in “The Danish Girl” is played by the great transgender actress, Rebecca Root.
Monika: Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Deena: Gender Justice is a wonderful organization here in Nevada.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Deena: Long ago, I decided that I would rather be Classy than Sexy! And I try to dress that way, Class before Sass!
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Deena: I have the love of some wonderfully precious souls. ‘Nuff Said.
Deena in San Diego,
A Happy, full-time Lady.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Deena: Every Day. I have some musical creations I would like to offer in a collection very soon. These are songs I have written from a Trans Point of View. The creative energy I found since choosing transition is very freeing. Before I went full time, I had not written but one or two songs in the past two years. After living 24/7, I wrote about thirty new songs in the first few months.
Since my voice is higher now, I would like to take one of my old recordings from Nashville and do a boy/girl duet with myself! Does that sound Kinky?
John Denver had a huge hit with one of my songs called, “Some Days Are Diamonds.” I would like to record it again as my female self and do the original lyric which was a trans feeling.
The original verse is:

Now the male face I see in my mirror,
More and more is a stranger to me.
More and more I can see there’s a danger,
In becoming what I never thought I’d be.

Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Deena: First of all, I would caution anyone not to listen to people like me!
But seriously, Folks: find someone to talk to, a TransWoman, a shrink if you can afford it, search the internet for support groups, like, for instance, on Facebook, there is a group called Association of Transgender Professionals. There is a lot of good, serious help for TransPersons, now.
Monika: Deena, thank you for the interview!
Deena: It was indeed a great joy to be included in such an illustrious group of Trans Heroines. Thank you so very much, Monika.

All the photos: courtesy of Deena Kaye Rose.
© 2016 - Monika Kowalska

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