We had the chance to catch up with our friend Kai Proschan (she/they) about the release of a new project she is spearheading called The Girls Book. Keep reading for our exclusive interview with Kai about this important community-based resource and media space dedicated to trans and non-binary femmes, featuring interviews with the girls, personal essays, and stories that uplift and help build our beautiful community.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and what The Girls Book is.
My name is Kai Proschan and I'm the creator of The Girls Book, a digital-first magazine by and for the transgender and nonbinary femme community. Since starting my medical transition a little over a year ago, I noticed a lack of a central place where the girls could connect, share tips and advice, and learn from others in the community. Sure, there is Reddit and YouTube and all the social media channels, but those have evolved to be a twisted popularity pay-to-play games. My dream for The Girls Book is to showcase as many nuanced representations of the girls as possible. Growing up, I had no possibility models for what a trans woman could look like. The only narratives that existed focused on tragedy and violence, which is still a reality in our community, and none told the positive stories of the girls. If I had something like The Girls Book growing up, it would've changed how I lived my life. I probably would've transitioned sooner. But that also means that I may not be here now. I tell my friends that my life has been a series of cosmic events since starting my transition and the birth of The Girls Book is no exception.
What prompted you to pursue this project?
I have to mention Original Plumbing as an inspiration in starting The Girls Book. I met Rocco, one of the founders of OP, a few years ago through a job interview. Shortly after, we became coworkers and friends as we chatted almost daily over Zoom. When he told me about Original Plumbing I was gagged. A magazine by and for trans men!? I wasn't aware of the OP prior to meeting Rocco - to be honest, I wasn't aware of a lot of trans things! - and seeing how he had built ten years of culture through this magazine gave me the motivation to do the same for the trans femme community. I like to say that OP laid out the blueprint and The Girls Book is the pinkprint. As I started to talk about the idea of The Girls Book more and more to friends and acquaintances, their responses gave me further proof that this type of storytelling platform needed to exist. And now, we're here.
What has been the most fulfilling or exciting part of creating The Girls Book so far?
Meeting so many beautiful souls has been the best part of building The Girls Book. Each girl has their personality and story to tell, and it's a privilege for me to be the medium in which I can help amplify their unique journey. Starting the magazine has also opened up so many doors outside of just the magazine. We're just at the tip of the project and there's so much more to come. I'm excited to see how we can evolve the brand to be bigger than all of us. I can see The Girls Book outliving me and being a constant for our community.
What can we expect from The Girls Book in the future?
The Girls Book magazine will be city-based. Our first issue is LOS ANGELES, the city where I gave birth to my trans self. Next, we're looking at NYC, the SF Bay Area, Honolulu, and Rio de Janeiro as future issues. Trans culture is nuanced across country borders and I'm excited to help amplify the stories of the girls from around the world. We're also looking at merch and product collaborations - stay tuned!
Anything else you'd like to share?
I want to give a special shoutout to our issue one photographer Texas Isaiah. We met at a work photoshoot a year ago and he was the first person to photograph me in a T4T way, and this was before I had fully come into my transness. Texas Isaiah's photography beautifully images intimacy and sensitivity in a way that feels like you've met the person in real life. When thinking about the concept for The Girls Book, it was important for me to produce the first issue as T4T: trans photographer and trans models. There's a special way where a trans person can fully see another trans person. The photos speak for themselves.
How can we support this initiative?
A lot of people talk about supporting trans rights and lives. The Girls Book is the perfect medium for these allies to uplift our community that goes beyond a simple social share. The more representation we have of trans women in society, the more we can change the mainstream culture's perspective and attitude towards us. My job is done if someone out there questioning their gender and identity finally feels seen because of who they encounter through The Girls Book. I also want the girls to get booked! There's a word play with The Girls Book that can be designed in a way where it looks like it says "Book The Girls". Get the girls their checks because they deserve it. At the end of the day, this is more than a magazine or visual content consumption platform; The Girls Book is how we can collectively change the culture.