Thursday, 18 September 2014

Interview with Denise Brogan-Kator


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Denise Brogan-Kator, a lawyer, transgender activist, Senior Legislative Counsel for the Family Equality Council, a national LGBT rights organization, the former Executive Director of Equality Michigan, co-founder of the Rainbow Law Center, recipient of the 2009 Pride Banquet Committee’s Choice Award, businesswoman, U.S. Navy Submarine Force veteran. Hello Denise!
Denise: Hello, Monika! Thank you for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Denise: Well, the thing that is most present for me, these days, is the birth of my first grand-daughter. So, despite all my accomplishments and activities, being a grandmother is currently my most important and most exciting job. And, family is – and has always been – at the root of my passions. It is such a natural fit for me to work for the Family Equality Council.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Interview with Felicia Flames


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Felicia Flames, a transgender pioneer, diva, icon and Screaming Queen, 27 years survivor of AIDS and a Vietnam Veteran - one of the participants of the 1966 Compton's Cafeteria Riot, which was one of the first documented instances of transgender resistance to authority in the USA. Hello Felicia!
Felicia: Hello Monika and thank you for interviewing me, it is an honor for me.
Monika: I must say you can boast one of the most impressive LGBT legends. The Compton's Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966, so it preceded the more infamous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. However, it is not so well-known …
Felicia: You have to remember it was in the 1960’s, and to a lot of people thought we were sick, mental, trash and nobody cared whether we lived or died. Our own families abandoned us, and we had nowhere to go. And we were tired of the police harassing us because of who we were meant to be.
We were murdered, killed, thrown in jail, raped and thrown out like trash by our families and friends. And in those days, I hear that the mafia had control of the TL, and all documents to this day were lost and no record of that day except for an unknown newsletter that documented that day. And nothing else.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Interview with Allison Woolbert


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Allison Woolbert, a transgender activist from the USA, Air Force veteran, founder of The Transgender Violence Tracking Portal - a database to track crimes targeting transgender people, and the Executive Director of the Transgender Human Rights Institute. Hello Allison!
Allison: Hi Monika- First, thank you so much for selecting me for being a heroine. It is truly an honor to be able to do an interview with you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Allison: Well, I grew up in Silver Bell, Arizona, a remote copper mining community (now a ghost town) where I never quite fit in. I ended up in the Air Force where I absolutely didn’t fit in, and in 2008, I began the process of transition. I finally feel whole as a person, and feel that I truly fit into myself. I’m the CEO of Phoenix Consultants Group, a software development company. I’m also the Founder of the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal and the new Executive Director of the Transgender Human Rights Institute.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Interview with Gia Versace


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Gia Versace, an American entertainer and beauty pageant queen. Hello Gia!
Gia: Aloha Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Gia: Sure, I was born and raised on the windward side of Oahu in a city called Kaneohe, Hawaii.
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be a stage artist?
Gia: My fascination with the stage began when I took drama class in high school and it became real clear that I wanted to be a showgirl when I saw my first drag show in a night club called Venus.
Monika: Could you name some of the venues and shows in which you participated?
Gia: I have done shows and many fundraisers and night clubs such as Venus, which is now called Bar 7, and I am currently a showgirl at Fusions Waikiki (home of the two longest running female impersonation shows in Hawaii).

National Showgirl Goddess 2013.

Monika: Have you ever thought about acting?
Gia: Yes, I have a few times.
Monika: You also take part in transgender beauty pageants. Could you say a few words about your pageants and trophies?
Gia: I currently hold the title of National Showgirl Goddess 2013, which is a pageant held on the beautiful island of Maui. I am also a former Queen of Queens 2012 which is a pageant held here on Oahu.
Monika: Being beautiful always produces a lot of girl power and empowerment. Do you often use it?
Gia: Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and I believe that beauty on the inside is what counts most. I use that expression every day and everywhere I go.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Gia: I definitely looked up to older generations such as my Aunties in the community who have paved our way so we can be who we are today.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Gia: The hardest thing about my coming would have to be being accepted by my Father. 
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the American society?
Gia: I feel that transgendered women have made a huge impact in society in general. I also feel that it is being accepted more nowadays but there is no end we still have a long ways to go.
Monika: We are witnessing more and more transgender ladies coming out. Unlike in the previous years some of them have status of celebrities or are really well-known, just to mention Lana Wachowski in film-directing, Jenna Talackova in modelling, Kate Bornstein in academic life, Laura Jane Grace in music or Candis Cayne in acting. Do you witness the same trend?
Gia: Definitely.

Lovely as usual!

Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
Gia: I feel that it’s a huge step towards it.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Gia: I try to keep up especially with issues that face or involve our community and I feel strongly that trans women and men can definitely make a difference in politics.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Gia: Love is important to me not only relationship wise but love from your friends and family as well. Love is what we all need.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors or trends?
Gia: I Love fashion!! As far as what I wear, I like to be versatile in fashion as well as creative. Versace and Dior are a few of my favorite designers.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Gia: Honestly I haven’t thought about writing a book but I love to share my stories and experiences especially to help with the younger generation yet to come. 
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Gia: My next step in life is to achieve my life long goal which is to go back to school for aviation. I want to be a pilot. I have always been fascinated with air planes.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, thinking about the entertainment career?
Gia: My advice would be to always remember that if entertaining is what makes you happy and is your passion then don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of your passion, and you can do anything you put your mind to. Also don’t look at it as a job, entertaining is a hobby or passion and know your worth.
Monika: Gia, thank you for the interview!
Gia: Thank you Monika for this opportunity I am really honored to be a part of your interview!!!

All the photos: courtesy of Gia Versace.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska
 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Interview with Lora G


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Lora G, a Hollywood, California - based composer, guitarist and keyboardist, co-founder of Lunden Reign. Hello Lora G!
Lora G: Hi Monika, thank you for reaching out to me.
Monika: When did you decide that music would be your way of life?
Lora G: I started performing at the age of 13 in Orange County, California. By 16 I started performing on the Sunset Strip scene in Hollywood. The amazing Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver, Guns N’ Roses, The Cult) was my drummer in high school. By 18, I had the luck to be involved in finding guitar sounds for Stevie Wonder’s album “Secret Life of Plants.”
However, at 19 I left music to go to college. I didn’t return to music until after an amazing Emmy winning career in television and radio including working for Disney over 14 years. I returned to music about 7 years ago after realizing how much I missed it.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Interview with Helen Belcher


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Helen Belcher, a British trans rights campaigner, member of the UK Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity, one of the founders of Trans Media Watch, software developer and businesswoman. Hello Helen!
Helen: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Helen: It depends what you want to know. I’ve just turned 50, I’m happily married with two fantastic children who are in their teens, I’ve been a computer geek since my teens, and have run my own company for the past 10 years selling software that I’ve written.
I sing in a good local choir, I’m a school governor, and I campaign on trans rights. It could all sound incredibly glamorous, but there is a lot of hard work and, generally, I think I’m incredibly boring! It’s just that I’ve had the good fortune to be in some of the right places at some of the right times.

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