On my Facebook page and Pinterest I and came across a lady called Alana Sholar from the USA who is a transgender woman and has just written a transgender book. We got chatting and she started to tell me all about herself, what an interesting lady she is. I thought that an interview with her over the internet would be an ideal topic for my cross dressing service, Dress Me Up and as you will read a lot of questions were answered on the subject of transgenderism, gender dysmorphia and cross-genderism.
Q. Would you kindly explain what exactly a transgender woman is?
A. I believe the word transgender can have a different meaning for different individuals. From my perspective, a transgender person is one who looks into a mirror and the reflection seen does not fit what the brain says you should see. Someone whose body reflects one gender, but who identifies in the mind as the opposite gender, I identify myself as a transgender woman.
Miss Alana Sholar - Author of the Transgender Book
Q. How did you know that you were transsexual?
A. I don't view the words transsexual, transgender, cross-dresser, or other words describing the transgender community as all having the same meaning or definition to me, the words are not interchangeable. A transvestite is different from a she-male, I believe a word, transgender for example, may be understood one way by one person, and can mean something different to another person.
Personally, I consider myself a transgender individual, a transgender woman per my understanding of transgender. I do not see myself as a transsexual, because my understanding of transsexual coincides with the word she-male. However, I do know others who are comfortable with using the words transsexual and transgender interchangeably.
As described in the first chapter of my book it was when I put on my mother's clothes at age 8 that I knew I was different. Dressing as a girl just felt right. When I looked into the mirror, what I saw was how I believed I should always look. Even though that experience made me feel I should have been born a girl, I had no knowledge of the word transgender, so therefore had no understanding of why I felt that way.
Alana Sholar talks about her Transgender Book
Q. When did you first know you were transgender?
A. From the experience of dressing in my mother's clothes when I was 8 years old I knew I was different, but technically, I didn't learn I was transgender until I became an adult. At 8, the only term I was aware of was gay and knew that was apparently a bad thing to be at least that's what I learned from the adults around me, so I just knew I didn't want to be gay and I didn't feel gay or even let anyone know I thought it possible I could be gay.
Q. What psychological factors have been involved in your life to date?
A. I felt I could never let anyone know my secret, the secret that I believed I should have been born as a woman. I kept my thoughts of being a woman hidden deep inside me from everyone. I couldn't face the idea of being something I was afraid others would see as a freak. Keeping my secret hidden within myself for so long affected my health and my mental processes. I developed a sex addiction, got involved with drugs, and even had suicidal tendencies.
Once I faced my demons, first by admitting to myself I was transgender, then by coming out to my family and friends, and finally by writing my book, 'Hung in the Middle - A Journey of Gender Discovery' my entire life changed. My physical health is greatly improved and I no longer battle addiction. My mental health has improved by changing my thinking from fear and negativity to acceptance of myself and thinking positively.
Transgender Book by Alana Sholar
Q. I believe you are married?
A. Yes, I'm in my second marriage. My first wife, Mary, and I have a son together, and in February of this year, my son and his wife gave me my first grandchild, a little girl. Also as explained in my book, my first wife and I were married about 13 years before I was able to talk to her about my transgender issues. She wanted to be supportive and we worked hard trying to save our marriage. Unfortunately, in the end there were many factors that caused us to decide it best to get a divorce after 22 years of marriage. However, we still remain friends.
My current wife, Bobbie and I were married in December 2008, which in itself is a miracle. We have known one another for nearly 30 years and I remember being attracted to her when I first saw her I was only 15 years old at the time. When she saw me as Alana a transgender woman for the first time in 2006 it freaked her out and she didn't want to have anything to do with me. My transgender book relays the 30 year unfolding of our relationship and how we came to be married.
Transgender Book - Baby, Child and Adult
Q. Now that you've given me some insight on how you knew you are transgender
and when you found out, how did you handle what you discovered?
A. I believe my greatest fear was my fear of the unknown, not knowing what was wrong with me and wondering if anyone else ever felt like me. Once I discovered there were others who felt like me, others who believed they had also been born in the wrong body, then I started doing research on the internet, most of my research was done on the computer.
I found transgender forums to join and was invited to a local transgender support group where I learned about ways to transition, to make the changes in my body that will allow me to be the individual I believe I was born to be. Now that I know that I'm not alone and I'm not a freak, I was simply born as a transgender person, a transgender woman and my whole outlook on life has changed. What I once felt was necessary to hide away from everyone including myself but now I talk about my thoughts, feelings and emotions freely.
Q. Have you had sexual reassignment surgery?
A. Not yet and I believe this is a decision my wife and I will need to make together.
Q. Have you had any cosmetic surgery?
A. No I have not but hope to begin with facial feminization and breast implants before long. Money has been the biggest issue for me and that's why I have not already had any cosmetic surgery. Hopefully my book will make cosmetic surgery possible soon. The book was only recently released, less than a month ago, but we're already getting some great reviews on Amazon.com
Q. Are you religious?
A. I was raised in a church going family. I believe some of the beliefs taught in the church lead me to have the battle with myself over how I felt I was and how others were telling me I should be. I do believe there is a God, the Universe a higher power, spirit, or what term you choose to use, and I believe it was that energy we call God that created me just as I am, a transgender woman.
Q. What does the future hold for you?
A. Happiness. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. You can read the whole story in my book, 'Hung in the Middle - A Journey to Gender Discovery' available at http://www.hunginthemiddle.com/
Author Alana Sholar on her Transgender Book
Q. Can you tell me what the difference is between a transgender and a
A. You could ask 10 different people that question and get 10 different answers. Based on my understanding of the word, I describe myself as transgender. To me, someone who is transgender is someone who has the feeling of being born into the wrong body a man who feels like they should have been born a woman, or a woman who feels they should have been born a man. From early childhood I have felt this way about myself, I'm a woman born in a man's body. It's a difficult experience and many like I did suffer for years before they are finally able to take steps to change to the correct gender they feel they should have been born into.
The way I understand the word Transsexual is 'Trans' means to 'cross' from one place or thing to another and I associate the word 'Sexual' with sex (a physical act). Although often used interchangeably, I do not understand 'sex' and 'gender' as meaning the same thing. When I hear the word 'Transsexual', I think of someone who is both 'trans' and 'bi-sexual'. We all have different ways of viewing things and I am not saying mine is the only correct definition of the words, I am merely stating how I understand the words differently.
Q. How are they different from transvestites and cross-dressers?
A. Again, solely from my understanding which could be different from the way others understand, in my thinking the words transvestite and cross dresser are the same. It's my understanding the term transvestite started out of Europe where I believe being 'trans' was talked about more openly. When it made its way to America, the term was not liked by many here, so it was changed to cross-dresser. My understanding of transvestite or cross-dresser is someone who 'occasionally' enjoys dressing up as the opposite gender but identifies as the gender in which they were born. I believe for some it's a sexual thing, while others just enjoy the experience for the pleasure they get out of the experience.
Q. How would you describe a T-girl?
A. Sexy and that is enough said. In all honesty, when I use the words T-girl or 'Tranny' I do so to draw the attention of men because these terms are often found in porn or dating sites. I understand them to convey, 'I am horny, I am easy and I like to sleep around.' A lot of trans-women take offence to the words T-girl or Tranny like a GG (Genetic Girl) would be offended with the words slut or whore. For many it's a bad thing, but for me T-girl is one of my favorite words.
Q. Would you say you are a she-male?
A. Yes, as the title of my book indicates, I'm 'Hung in the Middle.' Actually, I chose that title specifically hoping it would convey two aspects of me that my private parts are currently the same, and therefore, I live somewhere between both male and female.
At this point I have chosen not to pursue SRS (sexual reassignment surgery) because of the love I have for my spouse, Bobbie. We enjoy a very healthy sex life and that part helps me keep her satisfied. My greatest desire is for the world to see me as a female. However, what's under my skirt or in my jeans is no one's business.
It's my face and having small breast that bothers me the most. We're hoping book sales will generate enough income for me to have FFS (facial feminization surgery) and breast implants. Although I know on the inside I'm always female, to present female on the outside takes a padded bra and Bobbie's make-up magic.
Q. Now you have changed your gender, would that make you a lesbian?
A. Well yes and no, I see myself as having the ability to be both lesbian and straight. I am all female in my heart, mind, and soul, therefore, when I have sex with my spouse, I think of myself as lesbian. However, because I still have one male part I believe that makes me straight. Also, as a woman, I enjoy sex with a man and in my mind sex between a man and a woman is straight sex.
Q. Have you ever wanted to change back to male?
A. NEVER! It has taken me years just to get this far and I guess you could say I'm technically just half way through my transitioning journey. I'm looking forward to having FFS and breasts then strutting my stuff as a woman.
Q. Do your male friends who knew you as male accept you now as female?
A. I've had many acquaintances, but only two friends that I grew up with that I'd call real friends. One had a hard time at first, but has stood by me all the way. The other will speak to me if we happen to meet on the street, but that's about it he makes no effort to contact me for any reason. So I feel like I have lost one friend but that's a small price to pay to live my life as I must and be happy.
Q. I believe you have been doing a lot of book signings and interviews? Who
has interviewed you to date and what's in store for the future as far as book
signings and interviews are concerned.
A. My first interview was my 'Interview with the Author' videoed by my publisher, EWH Press. That of course is the video that has undergone your re-remix magic and is now available on your website.
The book was just released in May 2012, so in June we held our first book
signing at the 2012 Lexington (Kentucky) Pride Fest it was quite successful.
Also in June we were interviewed by Samantha Weir, DJ at Rainbow Mix Radio an
International online radio station which is owned and operated by transgender
individuals. Both Bobbie and I were interviewed and according to Samantha, the
station has received rave reviews about the interview. Apparently we were the
first 'interview' for the station, which I believe has prompted them into doing
more interviews with other transgender authors, artists, etc.
We have an interview scheduled for Monday (July 9th) with the Mancow Muller Show. When they invited us to do the interview they explained that the show is nationally syndicated and is the 4th top radio talk show in the nation, and has over 10 MILLION daily listeners. We of course jumped at the chance for such great exposure for the book.
In August we have a book signing scheduled with a local bookstore called 'Half-Priced Books' and I've been asked to speak and hold a book signing for the 'Northsiders Event' (a local Pride event) to be held near Cincinnati, Ohio on the 18th.
I'm especially excited about getting to attend the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, GA the week of September 18-23. I not only have daily book signings schedule for the event, but both Bobbie and I are looking forward to attend as conference participants. I'm especially looking forward to 'Princess Day.'
We hope to participate in the Kentucky Book Fair held in our state's capital, Frankfort, in November. There is a limit to the number of authors who get invited to this event, but we have submitted 'Hung in the Middle' for consideration.
I've also had people mail me the book they've purchased just so I can sign it for them and mail it back, and, some local acquaintances have dropped by the house to buy a book and have me sign it for them. I've also met people for lunch just to be able to sign their book as well. I know a lot of authors may not go this far, but I feel that if someone is supporting me by buying a book and they want it signed, then the least I can do is what I can to sign it for them.
And as for what is coming up next, that's hard to say because things are moving so quickly around here and our schedules can change daily.
Q. If you could be interviewed on any media which would it be and why? Who
would you like to be interviewed by?
A. Right now I am not picky and am grateful for any interview that comes my way. I, of course would prefer the media that would give me the most exposure, but I'm not sure which that is. The radio talk shows are good but I'm not sure if the interview would be limited to the time/date of the radio show, or be available for rebroadcast or on that station's website for future listening.
I'd love to be interviewed on TV because I feel that would give me a lot of exposure. And of course, any videoed interview can become a YouTube video which I think is an excellent venue. As for who I would like to be interviewed by, it's my dream to be interviewed by Ellen Degeneres and of course appear on her show.
Q. Will you be coming to Europe and the UK?
A. Goodness I hope so although I have to earn enough income from book sales before I can schedule our trip. I'm sure Bobbie won't let me come alone and I'd want her to be with me. First and foremost I want to meet you. I'd also like to do some book signings while I'm there have you 'doll' me up for the signings.
'Who said, dreams can't come true?'