Posted on 14/06/2019 by kathrin
Berlin, Germany, September 2014
We are in Berlin now. Marie and I. The first interview, which my daughter would be are part of.
After three and a half hours of driving with many traffic jams we arrive. And are waiting for Xenia. Xenia didn’t want to be photographed in her apartment – because it is the personal sanctuary of her and her wife. That’s why we are meeting in front of her house. There she comes out the door, freshly made up with elegant black hair, short fringe.
‘By the way, don’t be alarmed – I cut my hair about a month and a half ago and have been wearing short hair ever since!!! 😉 *SHE GRINS* That could be a DEFINITIVE ADVANTAGE for YOU as a photographer; because my special facial features and very distinctive eyes come into their own,’ Xenia had written in one of her emails. I am thrilled. The way she looks at me from her dark beautiful eyes!
She is wearing leggings and a pink sweater that suits her perfectly. ‘I’ve loved leggings since I was seven. Even in elementary school, I used to wear them during gym class. When we sat on the bench, I always positioned myself between the boys and girls… I didn’t want to belong to the boys, I wasn’t allowed to belong to the girls… One of the girls always wore pink leggings, which I found extremely beautiful… Pink didn’t work for me at that time in the visual male role – which is why I used camouflage colours, you know, a pastel jungle pattern in the style of Scout schoolbags… I admit that this was certainly a bit conspicuous – but I didn’t care… These leggings managed to bring something out in me. Something, that simply did not fit in with my social role. That’s why I always loved them… From today’s point of view, I know that this way – by wearing my leggings – I could really show my innermost female soul for the very first time in my life!’
We drove a bit further down Xenia’s street. Between prefabricated buildings, a small green area with willows and spikes of crops appears. It smells of grain. ‘This is a wasteland from GDR times, nothing was ever changed. This really is the deepest east!’
Xenia has brought two things that are important to her: her hat, ‘hats just look awesome on me,’ and a small cuddly toy; a kangaroo that she always carries with her in her purse as a lucky charm. ‘At home, I have another one of these in a bigger size, but it doesn’t fit in my purse.’
We look in vain for a bench to sit on. So we get comfortable on the loading space of the car. ‘I never thought I’d live in a prefabricated building. And now I don’t want to leave anymore. We live in a central location, with good infrastructure, have a bit of anonymity, but not too much – and our neighbourhood is absolutely fine on our side of the railway line!’
How did it go on? Back during your school days? ‘Boys never interested me as playmates. That was just the way it was, I never thought about it…’
Even in her youth, Xenia liked to read fashion magazines. At some point, she realized that she was only leafing through the men’s pages – and only really looked at the women’s pages. Only the women’s fashion interested her, ‘I was very confused by this – and just couldn’t explain it…’
That was during her puberty. Now Xenia is 29.
She went through a lot until the day she realized what was going on with her.
She had to endure two severe depressions.
‘I wanted success in my job, to really be at the top of my game. But nobody wanted me. However, they all noticed that something was wrong with me. I wasn’t me, I was disguised, insecure… ‘
‘At that time I became the perfect target. As soon as I showed up somewhere, it started. They put me in dehumanized drawers.’
Xenia fell into a whirlpool that carried her away, ‘I thought everyone hated me. Or didn’t take me seriously!’ As a result, Xenia could no longer perceive her environment. There was only darkness left.
Diagnosed with severe depression and mental isolation Xenia was finally admitted to a psychosomatic clinic. After that she felt better, ‘but I still didn’t really know what was going on with me. I was still looking for the key to really understanding my own strange life!’
One morning in the spring of 2010 Xenia is in the bathroom in front of the mirror and decides to change something. The beard stubble had to go. ‘I was completely desperate; I took a pair of tweezers and pulled out every single hair. Just like that… That had slightly distorted my lower jaw in pain, but I didn’t care about this pain… It took me only two days…’
In her despair, Xenia searches the internet for methods of professional beard hair removal and accidentally comes across a page where transgender behaviour patterns are described in detail. This moment marks Xenia’s first encounter with her own truth, ‘it was as if someone snapped their fingers and suddenly the light came on… that took a huge load off my mind!’
We walk over to another green strip in the immediate vicinity to take a few more photos. These eyes! Yes, I told you, ‘I have really wicked eyes!’
Now that Xenia is finally also visually Xenia, she loves to make herself up with perfection. In the course of her transition, she taught herself everything about make-up. ‘I didn’t even attend a make-up course. In the beginning, I tried even crazier things. But after two years at the latest, I knew how to apply make-up in order to emphasize my beautiful features particularly well.’
‘In 2012 I once had a combination pack of eye shadow with four colours. One of them was neon green. I passionately liked to use it to make up my eyebrows. And it looked good on me! Green eyebrows – which made me look like the DJane Marusha, who had made my absolute favourite music Techno known in the East in the early 90s… what a match!’
The high quality, early techno that Xenia loves so much stands for her own inner awakening like nothing else. Not only does this new beginning play an extremely important role in her life, but also even made her a hobby techno producer and passionate raver herself.
Xenia trained as a music and sound designer at the Pop College in Fellbach near Stuttgart. Today, her passion for music is one of her greatest hobbies, ‘my goal is to use the project ‘Non-Drugger Techno – The Sound Of Berlin’ to get the music genre “Techno” out of its social imbalance. And to show people, that the original idea of techno had nothing to do with drugs. My great musical role models are from the 70s and 80s; especially Kraftwerk and Underground Resistance.’
Today, Xenia is committed as a member of her Techno form – as a ‘Non-Drugger’ – to a better world, ‘through good social behaviour, such as the social recognition of transgender people, each individual can provide more warmth within this society!’
Xenia has another passion: writing. She has been writing since her childhood and is now working on her first own book, a thriller.
‘In the past, I have always written shorter things for myself. This time, however, a simple thought, which I merely developed for the fun of it, actually became MY FIRST BOOK!!! 😀 This book was written by me from January to July 2014 – and so far includes, without final editing a full 306 PAGES!!! 😀 * Xenia wrote this to me in one of her emails before our meeting.
Xenia dreams of earning her own money as a writer. And to be taken really seriously as a music producer.
There are two very happy moments in Xenia’s life: the first is when she moves to Berlin at the beginning of December 2011. The second is when she meets her wife, with whom she wants to spend her life.
Xenia grew up in Backnang near Stuttgart. There she had her official coming out at the beginning of 2011. ‘Backnang is not a good place for that. I had to justify myself all the time. For everything, for me… The bright red lipstick and my short hair were just too much for the people on the street. I couldn’t stand it any longer!’
The desperation grows. Xenia urgently needs to get out of the confinement – to a place where she no longer has to hide. ‘Get me out of there,’ she posted on her Facebook account.
A Facebook friend who had never met Xenia in person offers for her to come to Berlin. Xenia packs her bags, borrows another trolley suitcase from her parents – and gets on the train two days later. ‘When I arrived in Berlin and got off, I knew I would stay here. This city was my real inner hometown…’
During her first year in Berlin, Xenia moves five times. She lives with friends, in a shared flat and alone. In addition, she has to stay in a homeless shelter for four months, ‘I had introduced myself to the social welfare office. And asked them to place me in an accommodation where I would have no problems whatsoever as a trans-woman… So I was accommodated in a 10 square metre room, a real luxury for me at that time… During this time I got to know really good people. My house wasn’t at all the way you normally imagine a homeless shelter…’
For Xenia, our meeting is a big challenge. A year has passed in which she has not exposed herself to any social contacts and has hardly left the apartment. After her gender reassignment surgery (GRS) and the associated dilation therapy, she no longer had any strength for the whole world out there, ‘in the past, since my arrival in Berlin, I was an absolutely social being. I needed people around me, I liked being in their company. I’d like to slowly get back there …It hurts me infinitely not to have found this inner strength again yet… I want to stand firmly in life again!’
They already exist, the hopeful, liberating moments. ‘A few months ago my family visited us. My wife and I went for a walk with my little sister in the section between Friedrichstraße and Unter den Linden… Suddenly I felt that something was unexpectedly opening up in me… How beautiful; finally many people again!’
Xenia got a lot of strength for her transition through her wife. ‘Sabrina and I met at a regulars’ table for transgender people.’ Sabrina had just moved from a village near Regensburg to Berlin. She, too, had fled from village conservative narrow-mindedness to the big city. The two fell in love – and have been a couple ever since. Since October last year, they have also been married, ‘we tricked the state a little. As a woman, I can’t marry a woman, so we did it quickly before Sabrina had her first name and gender status changed!’ Xenia and Sabrina dream of being able to go through life together, without prejudice and discrimination.
The next day Xenia and I meet again at ‘Transistor’ in Potsdam, a regulars’ table for people with a transgender background. She approaches me with a letter in her hand ‘I wrote this for you.’ Her words sum up everything that Xenia stands for, ‘all my life I was always looking for a key to finally understanding my own inner self. I had practically hit rock bottom and nobody could see it. As a result, I made a momentous decision, packed my bags – and boarded the train. Into a better world. Today I dream of a career as an author or music producer, lead a charmed life – and no longer hide. Because I can finally live what I always have been.’
Back in Hamburg, I get another e-mail from Xenia: ‘I would like to thank you again individually for being part of your great photo project. This develops a lot of pride in myself – and my own spiritual esteem, which I can really use after my long social time-out. :-)’
I thank YOU, dear Xenia, for your trust. And thank you all who are out there, reading and contributing! Thank you!