Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Monica P Mulholland, a writer and transgender activist living in New Zealand. She is president elect of Queenstown Rotary Club, the co-author of the book titled “ME!: The gift of being Transgender” (2016), available only on Amazon as a Kindle book. Hello Monika!
|The book available via Amazon.|
Personally, I think our gift is that of knowing who we truly are, that is the goal of so many spiritual and psychological practices. We are well along the road already!
To me if the software is good it can run on any hardware: the same is not true about hardware. That is to say, that if you walk, talk and look like a duck, you are a duck, what is between your legs is immaterial. The only person who sees what is between your legs is you intimate lover or your doctor! For me, good software is voice, deportment, dress and the feminine spirit i.e. having a feminine operating system instead of a male one.
|At The Art of Feminine Presence in Japan.|
Many women, who do well in business, lose touch with their feminine (this does not mean frilly dresses and being coy and deferential!) essence. This can lead to all kinds of problems for these women as their hardware is designed to run on a different kind of software and they are trying to force an alien software onto their hardware.
Monika: Did you manage to put the Art into practice and everyday reality?
Monica: Yes, I did, very much so... and it helped me greatly. Basically it means rather than operating from the head, with its monkey mind of distractions and fears; the better place to operate from is the womb space. This helps keep me centered and not triggered in any situation. Before this I was always scanning the crowd when presenting as a woman for people’s reaction and assuming any reaction was a negative one.
Now, as I am centred and “home” whenever I see somebody looking at me I assume that they are being supportive and positive. So, now, rather than cowering I give them a big smile. For a better life, I have found, that the thing to do is to design out the stress! :) People react to how you see yourself, confidence is a huge part of passing, if that is what you want to do.
|Before and after image…..taken by Don Hajicek.|
Nobody takes photos of women like Don.
|At the Rotary Christmas Party with her wife in|
the background and the current President of my right.
I guess we all have to look at ourselves, our situation and our abilities and ask if we want to perpetuate the existing situation or try and change it. If we come down on the side of change the present situation because it is unjust or whatever; then we have to ask ourselves if change is best achieved through revolution or evolution. I think it is a huge step to expect society to go where it is now to accepting a “guy in a dress”. Whatever the wrongs or rights of the situation; society is still pretty binary as regards gender. I do not think that we have to pass as women to be accepted. I think we have to fall within the range of women to be accepted. At least, that has been my experience. People who try and try honestly to conform to the norm seem to be accepted.
I agree that I look acceptable within the range. I do not hide the fact that I am TG. I am quite open about it. It helps people accept me as a woman that I fit within the wide acceptable boundaries. I think society is ready for this and the more of us that go that way the more the envelope will be pushed. I have no doubt that there will come a time when a lumberjack in a dress is accepted as woman; but it will not be in my lifetime. I am prepared to sit at the boundary and help evolve society’s thinking in that way.
If you saw pictures of me from 10 years ago with a full beard and wild eyes, you would not think I was blessed. The truth is that I have worked hard at getting myself within the accepted boundaries. I have had laser and electrolysis on my beard, I have been taking care of my skin for years before I came out. I have had fillers and Botox on my face to get me within the comfort zone of what society will accept. Yes, there is a threshold and you have to get over that threshold to be accepted as a woman, TG woman whatever. That threshold will move as we start to fill this space. Society changes but it changes slowly and only changes from the combined push of us all at the edge.
I love dresses, so much so that I recently set myself the challenge of wearing a dress every day for a month (not the same one, I hasten to add, lol!). It is just so easy to reach out for the leisure wear or the jeans. I like to dress things up with different jewellery and scarves. I really enjoy the creativity of putting an outfit together. My other mantra is “go hard or go home” and so I go out or my way to be as feminine as I can be (that is not “frilly feminine”, but rather reflecting the femininity I see in the women around me on a daily basis, but with my own creative twists). I see Monica as my work of art I suppose.
|Another before and after photo by Don Hajicek.|
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
She has stood by me through thick and thin and she has an amazing ability that when life gives her lemons, not only does she make lemonade, she goes further and makes gin and tonic! She lights me up!
My revelations were: we are not genetic women we are transgender women, comparing ourselves to genetic woman is a recipe for depression and negative self worth. I accept the fact that I am a transgender woman and I strive to be the best transgender woman that I can be. This has taken a huge weight off my shoulders and set me on a positive path instead of a negative one. Brenee Brown, in her TED talks on vulnerability and shame, helped me greatly in this respect.
|At the Art of Feminine Presence in Austin.|