Interview with Hannah Herr - Part 2

Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Hannah: I did not have job interviews as myself. I can't work because of my disabilities. Being forced to quit the workforce at such a young age gave me severe depression and a sense of being a huge failure. I was at my lowest and came out because it couldn't get worse.
Monika: What would you advise to all trans women looking for employment?
Hannah: My partner has had several (successful) interviews so far, so from that experience we are kind of between a rock and a hard place. If we don't disclose that we are transgender we could end up in a horribly toxic and even dangerous work environment. If we are upfront about it, only LGBTQ friendly employers will invite us to a job interview. This inherently limits our choices and in an economy like today's it can be crippling.
I would always be upfront about being trans, if I have the time to find a new job and am not under pressure. An accepting employer is much more important for our mental health than the slightly better paying one!

"I think I'm discovering real Love
for the first time right now."

Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Hannah: We are not involved unfortunately. Because of mutual dislike to the leader of the group, we decided not to participate any longer. It's something I'd rather not get into too much, but let's just say the information given and sentiment of the group do not fit what we believe.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Hannah: I found my partner shortly after starting HRT and she really improved every aspect of my life. We live together and we have celebrated our third anniversary recently. I think I'm discovering real Love for the first time right now. I had girlfriends before transitioning, but it always felt more like I wanted to be them, rather to be with them. It never felt right, so I kind of lost interest in romantic relationships altogether and was single for over eight years. I don't know if I am aromantic, but I really suspect it, I can "create" romance, but I don't ever remember having a particular feeling that goes with it. I love my partner though, that is for sure, even if I ruin romantic moments like clockwork.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Hannah: I never really thought about that, but I don't know if it would be very interesting. I come from a stable background that always accepted LGBTQ members of society into the family. The biggest question of the book would probably be why I didn't come out earlier, despite that openly accepting environment. To which I have no answer, by the way. 
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Hannah: My next step is to finish my name change and start applying for GRS. I also hope to join a German wide LGBTQ group that goes into classrooms everywhere to educate young people and let them ask questions.
My girlfriend and I also plan to open a tattoo studio (she is an artist) and move to a bigger flat. I really hope that my health will not decline any further. My main goal for the future is to stay healthy and get as much out of life as is left in me, haha.
"My main goal for the future is
to stay healthy and get as much
out of life as is left in me."
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Hannah: Don't be afraid to lose "Family" and "friends". I believe family is much more than just blood. If someone only accepts you into their family, under the condition that you suffer, they're not doing you a favour. That's not something worth giving up a life of happiness for. People, who only love you under certain conditions, don't really love you at all; they just found you convenient to be around. It's a hard and painful truth, but one that doesn't change whether you expose and confront it or not.
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Hannah: Yes of course! Everybody should be able to get the medical attention they need and deem necessary. You don’t have to go for GRS or any other medical procedures to be transgender. For me it feels like a lot in my life is on pause because I don't have GRS yet. So for me it will probably feel like a new beginning and not the end of something. We as humans grow and learn all our life and I will continue to grow as a woman as well, surgery or not. 
Monika: Hannah, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Hannah: No, I have to thank you! It was very interesting. I was never interviewed before, so this was entirely new to me. I hope it was at least somewhat interesting =). I think you're doing awesome work, listening to people in the community and giving them a voice! Take care!

All the photos: courtesy of Hannah Herr.

© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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