Gaya's reflection on VOF Module 1 (apologies for the extremely delayed entry)
I was not nervous before my interview but I felt like I was not prepared enough. I had wanted to interview an activist who worked on issues relating to refugees or trafficking in persons, the issues of transwomen was my 3rd choice. As the initial 2 ideas did not work out, I was really glad that Nisha said yes and made time for me on a weekend within short notice. Because this topic was plan C, I did not want it to appear any less important than what my priority issues would have been to me. I felt a huge responsibility of making sure that the discrimination and issues faced by the transwomen community were not diluted. or misrepresented.
Because I knew the issues facing the LGBT... community quite well, I was sure of what I wanted to know from Nisha. Nonetheless, I was afraid that I would have not asked her enough or got sufficient information from her to cover all angles of the story on the transwomen community in Malaysia. But she was very accessible after the interview where she was happy to answer my messages over the phone while I was writing my article.
Another unrelated fear that I had was how some members from our World Pulse community might view my intentions of writing such an article and how they would respond to the fact that transwomen are women. Does everyone share the same viewpoint as me or are there sisters in our community whom I would have to influence or convince further that transwomen are women, just like us in many ways? I am glad that I have gotten positive feedback so far but I wonder if there is anyone within us who thinks otherwise....if so, I would be keen to engage in a constructive conversation with the respective members in order to understand their viewpoint.
I think I made Nisha feel very comfortable at the interview that she shared very personal information about her past with me. I think I had a non-judgmental conversation with Nisha that allowed her to express freely the issues of the transwomen community. I managed to keep it concise (within an hour) yet comprehensive. Although I had a set of questions, I did not follow the order I had as I adapted it to fit the flow of the conversation which had a positive impact on the interview process.
When I started the interview, I was very clear with Nisha that I was there to speak to her specifically about transwomen as Nisha works with transmen as well. She was happy to remain within that context and did so really well but would draw upon differences/similarities where relevant.
I would like to have allocated more prep time (better time management) for my interview and done further research on the issue I wanted to speak on using different sources. I would have also liked to have gone through the list of Qs with my editorial mentor, Courtney who has been absolutely amazing! But due to time constraints that was not possible. However, Courtney gave me interview tips to keep in mind which helped me along...and of course her editing suggestions on my article made a significant difference to the story that was being told. Thank you Courtney! :)
As I was speaking about an activist and their work and experience, it would have been nice to have briefly spoken to one of the transwomen at the centre to gain her view on Nisha's contribution, validation of the issues mentioned by Nisha and some info on the work that is being done for transwomen.
I think this was a fantastic experience. I was so glad to have been given the opportunity to create greater awareness on an issue that is very negatively viewed in my society and around the world. And all in all, it was an empowering experience.