Interview with Vanessa Lopez - Part 2

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Vanessa: So many hard things, being as young as I was. Being open transgender is being exposed to so much. I went stealth as soon as I got surgery, even before. As a transsexual going stealth like I did during a time of my life, means coming out many times in different situations.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the Swedish society?
Vanessa: Since 2013 we have had freedom to change our legal gender independently to our physical sex. We are still struggling with attitudes. In Sweden transgender people are not seen in media as much as in southern Europe where you have been able to see transgender women on TV since the 70s. So they are more familiar to transgender people whereas in Sweden it’s pretty new! But in Sweden I find it hard to find meaningful serious relationships because of my TG status. But in Spain and Italy for example, guys never cared when I told them about my background.
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in Swedish films, newspapers or books so far?
Vanessa: Here we have a great movie titled “Something Must Break” that has won many international prices but in Sweden it’s been overlooked. It’s such a shame! It’s an amazing movie with a TG person as the main role, played by talented Saga Becker, an TG-person herself. I recommend!

Courtesy of Vanessa Lopez. Photo by Peter Elofsson.

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?
Vanessa: Of course there is a hierarchy in the Swedish LGBTQI community. The T letter is overlooked in many ways. Easiest to see this is in the LGBTQI platform QX, on the cover of the QX magazine there has only been one transgender and it was a female to male person. No transgender except him has ever been on the cover, not even me or other sisters and brothers that have been great candidates. Instead they choose straight people on their covers that never ever did anything for the LGBTQI community. That is a reflection on the community’s own transphobia and their own big need to conform to the hetero norms.
I believe that we should come together since we are more strong together, but we have a lot to work in this respect. In the LGBTQI community in Sweden we need to show more solidarity towards the smaller groups within the group.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Vanessa: Yes of course! We have another actress Aleksa Lundberg, who is active in the newly formed political party Feministisk initiativ! I myself do politics in my own way but not lobbying in campaigns. But who knows!:)

Courtesy of Vanessa Lopez.
Photo by Bo Brinkenfalk.

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Vanessa: Since I became a vegan I have changed my consumption of leather, fur, silk, wool and anything coming from animals. I haven’t had any time to get to know any designers that fit my vegan standpoint, but I love Prada and YSL! But I won’t ever again buy anything that comes from animals.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Vanessa: We are planning to translate my autobiography book "I Changed My Mind" into English. Hopefully it will be available before the summer! It will be sold digitally as well! So keep your eyes open!
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls dreaming about such a career as yours?
Vanessa: Dreams or goals in life come true through patience and processes of making mistakes, learning from them and trying again. I believe that luck is about being well prepared for the opportunity that will take you one step closer to your goal/dream. In other words never giving up means to await for the right opportunity! It will come! Never stop looking!
Monika: Vanessa, thank you for the interview! 

Main photo by Bo Brinkenfalk.
All the photos: courtesy of Vanessa Lopez.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

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