Interview with Alison M.
Alison M. is from France but she has been living for several years in Canada where she started her transition. Since her journey begun, Alison has gradually found more and more happiness but, now, she finally feels herself. “Be the best version of yourself” - says Alison. Having spent the last three years focusing on her transition, Alison is ready to achieve her biggest dream, becoming an actress!
UNSA Vienna: What does being transgender mean? What does it mean for you?
Alison M.: Transgender means that the gender you feel comfortable with does not feet the your birth gender. For me transgender means free myself from the heteronormativity of the society. Nowadays, I can say that being transgender means being an activist. I feel an activist because of the way I am and the way I present myself to the people. Finally, transgender means to me being free from all the conservative thoughts of people.
UNSA Vienna: How and when did you realise that you were transgender?
Alison M.: I always felt a trans girl. When I was younger I did not have the words to describe my status because I had no representation on media or TV. Back then, it was not mainstream at all. When I was a child, I had no idea of what transgender meant. I was eighteen, pretty late, when, for the first time, I got closer to concept of transgender. I always felt different. When I was a teenager, I only felt like I was a gay man. With time, I understood to listen to myself. I always felt like a girl. I had a feeling inside I was not comfortable with presenting myself to people as a guy. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt like this person was not me. When I herd about transgender and its meaning, I really started to understand me better. Then, I finally found on youtube some representations and I felt like it was me. The fist time I had an idea of what transgender meant was when I watched Gigi Gorgeous on Youtube. She is a famous transgender Youtuber.
UNSA Vienna: Is there any other program on transgender you would suggest?
Alison M.: There are many. Pose for example, an American TV show, which talks about the transgender community in New York in the 90ies. The five most important characters are transgender. It is the best TV show I can recommend. There is also a very good documentary on Netflix, Disclosure, which is about the history of transgender representation on TV and cinema. On youtube, there are also many transgender people that share their experiences.
UNSA Vienna: Can you explain us what gender transition mean and how did your gender transition work?
Alison M.: The transition is really subjective, we all have different experiences. Some people, like me, would take hormonal treatment to physically change their body. We can also do surgery. It is a mix of a medical treatment and a psychological transformation. I am really learning to know myself and I feel like I am freeing myself more and more every year. There also people who do not want to do any medical treatment.
UNSA Vienna: How many years have you been transgender?
Alison M.: I started my treatment on January 2018. Almost three years ago. The shape of your body is changing. You will get a more feminine shape, the texture of your skin will also change. There are also many psychosocial effects because of the hormones. The first year you feel almost like having menstruation. Psychologically it can be very challenging, you can experience lots of ups and downs.
UNSA Vienna: What did motivate you the most to change your gender?
Alison M.: Being happy, feeling myself. I just wanted to be myself. UNSA Vienna: Did the gender transition bring positive changes to your life? Alison M.: Yes definitely. Now that I feel myself, I can focus on my dreams and on my projects and not on how bad I feel inside. Now, I am happy to live my life because I am myself more than ever.
UNSA Vienna: Which is your biggest dream?
Alison M.: I want to become an actress, I am also interested in becoming a film director.
UNSA Vienna: Did you feel supported by your family and friends?
Alison M.: I definitely felt supported by my friends. My parents were really concerned about me and they would not understand me at the beginning. They did not really know what was going on and, in their heads, they just had the representation that the media gave them. A person who has never met or spoken to transgender people, the idea he or she has about transgender is just what the TV or the cinema shows, which can be very distorted. Now, my parents accepted it and everything is good with them. When I went to see the psychologist, my mom and my sister came with me once. They finally understood that it is serious and it is not craziness. Now, my parents understand me. They are still learning from me because I was away from home for a long time and they did not live the transition with me.
UNSA Vienna: Did you find support from any organisations or institutions?
Alison M.: I don’t really go to meetings organised by organisations or institutions. The transgender community is very strong and we help each other very much, there is a sense of family within our community. In every big city you can find a transgender group.
UNSA Vienna: Do you think transgender is more accepted by the society and media? Did you experience any change and do you feel more supported by them?
Alison M.: I think it is getting much better. Cinema and TV shows talk about transgender more and more. Now, you can find transgender girls playing transgender roles. But it is still complicated as there are still examples of movies where cisgender people play transgender roles. But, overall, it is getting better. Nowadays, even in politics you can find transgender people.
UNSA Vienna: Which are the biggest challenges you met? How did you overcome them?
Alison M.: I did not face very big challenges. Probably my family was the biggest obstacle. Also, now I am aware that I have to stop thinking about my transition and start focusing on my dreams and projects. In the past three years, I focused so much on my body and my transition that now I want to focus on something else. I want to stop judging myself too hard and be happy with what I achieved. Probably, I can say that dating is also a very big challenge.
UNSA Vienna: Have you ever felt discriminated or have you ever been victim of violence based on gender?
Alison M.: I did not experienced a real episode of discrimination. Maybe some people would laugh at me… but nothing serious. I am lucky because there are many cases of people being killed because of their gender. Also, with jobs, I never felt discriminated.
UNSA Vienna: Would you like to share a message with all the other people who are going through a similar journey?
Alison M.: You can have a very regular and good life when you are trans. Be true to yourself, listen to your instincts. Try to look for representations on the media, be positive, inform yourself and try to focus on what you really feel inside. Be the best version of yourself!