Creative & Courageous Russian: Ethan Nikelsky

We are so glad to have the chance to interview Ethan Nikelsky and bring you Ethan's story.

Ethan Nikelsky was before Itan Nikelskii in his Russian documents. Asked about his name, he explained us:


"I wanted something simple, but not very common. "Ethan" works perfectly; moreover, it is a nonexistent name in Russia, which symbolized my sense of resistance in some way. I knew I would move to another country eventually, so my new name was also a symbol of moving forward."


15-16 years old Ethan, pre-transitioning

Weirdo Excellent Student

I was a weirdo. I still am, but it's much harder to be a weirdo as a kid, because other children rarely appreciate nonconformity and strangeness. I was an excellent student and a mess at the same time. I wish I had enough knowledge back then to understand what was going on with me. No sexual education whatsoever (hello Russia!), no real psychologists, nothing. I didn't even know the term "gender".


Ethan's childhood photos

School itself was bearable, but I didn't have any friends. I don't really feel like school was a big part of my life, even though I spent 11 years there. I even skipped almost the whole final year because of the depression and gender dysphoria.


Cosplaying

I started to work when I was 15. Me and my ex-partner, we opened an online-store, and it turned out to be a success (eventually I paid for my hormone therapy and the surgery without asking my parents for financial help).

At the same time, I discovered cosplay, which became my escape: I could easily "be a man" under the guise of an artistic/theatrical hobby. I know that many people perceive cosplay as something... childish? However, it wasn't a game at all. Cosplay helped me to realize who I am, make friends, and gain an insane amount of on-set experience.



Coming Out in Russia

If we are talking about coming out to myself, it was tough. I had some sort of inner transphobia and couldn't even think of being "one of them". It's interesting to see my past from the point of my current experience, because I used male pronouns, wanted to change my documents, and dreamed about a male voice and the top surgery, but I avoided the word "transgender", because I was simply frightened.

The truth was revealed during an argument with a friend, who called me a "trans man" for the first time. It was shocking but true, I couldn't deny it anymore. The rest of the day I spent crying. I was 17, in my final school year. It was the beginning of the most important life turn.


Transsexuality in Russia

There's not that much info about transsexuality in the Russian language, and I didn't speak English back then, so I spent a couple of months gathering information and searching for medical help. However, I was rejected by a psychiatrist, because I was only 17. It is absolutely horrible that transgender youth in Russia has almost nowhere to go for medical assistance and professional psychological help.

Nevertheless, I realized that I could not live like that anymore, and I bought over-the-counter testosterone and took my first injection on March 25, 2015. I had my top surgery later that year. It was three years ago, and I can't believe how drastically my life has changed.


Ethan's bestfriend, Tina

Supportive Family & Friends: I Was Insanely Lucky!

As for the family and friends, they supported me. Now, I think it is very important to highlight that I was just insanely lucky. It is not how it usually happens in Russia, and I would like to express my condolences to all LGBT+ people who were abandoned by their friends or kicked out by their families.

I was very cautious with my coming out and had a serious talk with just a few people. My best friend was terrified and started to cry, because she thought that I would die shortly from surgeries and hormones (again, Russians are pretty clueless and don't have enough information about it). My other friend was so shocked and scared that she suddenly changed the topic in the middle of our conversation, and my heart sank. However, I explained the process to both of them later, and they supported me.


During 3 months of Hormone Replacement Therapy

My father... I feared coming out to him the most. I knew that he could have a heart attack because of the fear for my life and health, but I couldn't tolerate being called by my dead name any longer. I was still 17 but already on testosterone.

I was ready to leave my home forever after the conversation, so I packed a backpack and prepared my documents and money. I sincerely thought it would be the last time I saw my house. The conversation was dark and bone-chilling. My dad didn't say anything and he needed a couple of weeks to start talking to me again, and a couple of months to accept everything. Eventually, it was alright.



Pushback?

My pushback... Yes, there were people who tried to make my life harder in terms of acceptance, but my biggest enemy was myself. Dysphoria had led to envy, and I compared myself to others constantly. Please, never ever do it. Envy is never an ally.

Best Things About Transitioning

Oh, man. Everything? Every single thing in my life is so mych better now. I'm alive, to say the least. I feel like I've been reborn, like I didn't exist before and just started to live. It can be difficult sometimes, because usually people process information about life little by little, year by year, but I have to do it all over again, and quickly. However, it's a small price to pay for freedom and happiness.



Self Help Books Helped Me A Lot

It may sound cheesy, but books on self-improvement helped me A LOT. It's great to have supportive people around, but I struggled to communicate, so motivational books became my close friends, and their authors became my mentors. "The Key" by Joe Vitale literally saved my life when I was about to end it all. The hardest part is to start reading, but once you've started, you get a portable quadrilateral therapist at your disposal.

Pansexuality

In fact, I identify myself as pansexual, but I do prefer men in most cases, so usually I just say that I'm gay. So, as gay, I mostly came out to myself. My dad doesn't really care about my sexual orientation (nothing can scare him more than my coming out as transgender); my friends are educated people, so there wasn't any reason to officially come out to them.

Again, the challenge was to accept it myself. I was absolutely devastated, because I thought that there is no way for me to find a boyfriend and that I would always be neglected and unlovable. Turned out I was really, really wrong about that, haha. Many transgender mlm are terrified of their future in terms of love life, but I just want to say that there are so many amazing and open-minded people... Everybody deserves a chance to be loved, and being trans and/or gay isn't a hindrance here. There is always the right person for everyone, just keep looking.



Ethan's Hobbies & Interests

I'm madly curious, and there's no way I can list all the things I'm interested in. But if I were to shrink it down and name just, let's say, three, it would be filmmaking (writing&directing), learning in general, and finding beauty. In fact, my favorite hobby is to think, which may sound weird.

I'm always in my head, generating ideas like a crazy machine and analyzing what I learn every day. I'm very calm and peaceful, but what's going on in my head is insane. So, yeah, my main hobbies are learning, asking questions, and staring at people, objects and landscapes. I feel like I have the best hobby in the world: it never gets boring and I don't need anything except my head.


Studies, Current Life, & Filmmaking Passion

I quit university in Switzerland, where I studied the French language and culture; then I was accepted to several colleges in NYC and was about to study psychology there, but I changed my mind and decided to finally do what my heart dictates - filmmaking. I'm about to shoot my first short movie and I'm very excited! I don't have any safeguards, I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but I do what I love, and it's everything that matters.

A few years ago, I discovered this famous Jack Kerouac's quote:

"[...]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"

I thought to myself, "This is beautiful. I wonder if these people really exist". I didn't notice me becoming one of them.

Professionally I look up to David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino. Generally... I don't think I have anyone in particular. I know what I want to be, and it's my main role model. I've got so much work to do.



My Hopes For People

We live in a very interesting era. People change, but I wish they did it faster. It's 2018, and we still have absolutely ridiculous things and concepts about the world. However, it's slowly getting better.

My main hopes are, first of all, safety and freedom for all LGBTQ+ people, serious breakthroughs in science (especially in medicine and cosmology) without political or economical interruption, and established birth regulations.

About the last one: I believe it is not acceptable that people are allowed to have as many children as they want without special education and background check. Birth rates are such a mess in our modern world, but again, it's getting better. I'm so happy to hear young people's saying that they want to adopt a child one day. This is beautiful.


Ethan's Personal Quotes:

"I don't know in what world you live, guys, but it's time to return to the beautiful reality where all people are different. Quit your black-and-white world, life doesn't work this way. It's time to accept the diversity of this universe."

"Discuss what you want, discuss what type of care you expect, because people still can't read your mind (ridiculous!), so you have to move your mouth, but it's better than nothing."

"You have no right to barrier your children from the truth. And you have no right to barrier your children from love."

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French leftist La France Insoumise (LFI) party member of Parliament Mathilde Panot speaks during a debate on the French government's plan to exit from the lockdown situation at the French National Assembly in Paris on April 28, 2020, on the 43rd day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. - France on April 28 unveils how it intends to progressively lift a six-week lockdown credited with checking the coronavirus outbreak. The French prime minister's address will be followed by a debate and a vote, with just 75 of the 577 lawmakers allowed into the National Assembly in line with social distancing measures. The rest will vote by proxy (Photo by David NIVIERE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DAVID NIVIERE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Covid Sweeps the Globe

So here's my intro

Peru's Prison's Erupt in Rioting

Video grab of relatives of inmates holding signs pleading for authorities to release injured prisoners after a prison riot took place over fears of the new coronavirus at the Castro Castro prison in Lima on April 28, 2020. - Nine inmates were killed and dozens of guards wounded when rioting broke out at a prison in Lima after two inmates died from COVID-19, authorities in Peru said Tuesday. (Photo by Jesus OLARTE / AFPTV / AFP) (Photo by JESUS OLARTE/AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)

US-politics-health-VIRUS-TRUMP

US President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 28, 2020. - Trump spoke about supporting small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic through the Paycheck Protection Program. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

PERU-HEALTH-VIRUS-PRISON-RIOT

View of smoke arising from the Castro Castro prison during a riot in Lima on April 27, 2020. - Nine inmates were killed and dozens of guards wounded when rioting broke out at a prison in Lima after two inmates died from COVID-19, authorities in Peru said Tuesday. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

US-politics-health-VIRUS-TRUMP

US President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 28, 2020. - Trump spoke about supporting small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic through the Paycheck Protection Program. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America

PICO RIVERA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 28: An aerial view of cars lined up to receive food distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the city, as basketball courts stand empty at the shuttered Ruben Salazar High School, amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 28, 2020 in Pico Rivera, California. Around 3,000 families facing food or economic insecurity due to the spread of COVID-19 were expected to benefit from the distribution. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PERU-HEALTH-VIRUS-PRISON-RIOT

View of smoke arising from the Castro Castro prison during a riot in Lima on April 27, 2020. - Nine inmates were killed and dozens of guards wounded when rioting broke out at a prison in Lima after two inmates died from COVID-19, authorities in Peru said Tuesday. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

LIVE : Fauci Addresses the Nation

My intro

Britain Applauds Key Workers After A Month In Lockdown

Britain Applauds Key Workers After A Month In Lockdown LONDON,ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Members of the Emergency Services and members of the public gather on the South Bank to join in on with the applause on Westminster Bridge on April 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following the success of the "Clap for Our Carers" campaign, members of the public are being encouraged to applaud NHS staff and other key workers from their homes at 8pm every Thursday. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has infected over 2.5 million people across the world, claiming at least 18,738 lives in the U.K. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Britain Applauds Key Workers After A Month In Lockdown FINALLY

LONDON,ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Members of the Emergency Services and members of the public gather on the South Bank to join in on with the applause on Westminster Bridge on April 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following the success of the "Clap for Our Carers" campaign, members of the public are being encouraged to applaud NHS staff and other key workers from their homes at 8pm every Thursday. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has infected over 2.5 million people across the world, claiming at least 18,738 lives in the U.K. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

TURKEY-VIRUS-HEALTH-CHILDREN

The Turkish Grand National Assembly building is illuminated with national flags as part of the National Sovereignty and Children's Day, 100th anniversary of foundation of Turkish parliament, on April 23, 2020 in Ankara,Turkey, during the national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 disease, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

TURKEY-VIRUS-HEALTH-CHILDREN

Fireworks are seen over Turkish Grand National Assembly building as part of the National Sovereignty and Children's Day, 100th anniversary of foundation of Turkish parliament, on April 23, 2020 in Ankara,Turkey, during the national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 disease, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Meet the Fabulous Daria Jane

We spoke to Daria Jane, a 19-year old student in Romania, on thriving and being herself.


How amazing is Daria?

Daria Ioana Bulzan, known as Daria Jane from YouTube is 19 and studies Marketing at Bucharest's Business University. She grew up in Botosani, a small town in Romania, and, at just 11, she moved to the capital, Bucharest, to join a ballet school. At 14, Daria decided to join the acting high school where she graduated from.


"I Fought For Myself, But Was Surrounded by Good People"

How beautiful of Daria's mom?

Who helped you the most to become who you are today?

"Believe it or not, I am the person who helped me the most to become myself, because I find it hard nowadays to rely on others... even though my mother is more than a best friend and we have a special relationship. She helped me a lot as well, morally and even financially at the beginning of my transition. I can mention my friends too, they were very supportive as well. I may say I was surrounded by good people.

I only grew up with my mother, and as I said, she helped me a lot and loves me unconditionally. I'm her only child at the end of the day. My relatives were ok too. I can't remember any awful moments, my family didn't really make it that big of a deal."

"I'm more sure of who I am now than ever"

How cute is this couple?

When asked if she had to fight for who she is, Daria doesn't sugar-coat the process but also sees the beauty and power in her achievement:

Tricky and tough question. I will say yes though, because in my case, we're talking about transitioning. There is a journey, more-like a"hell of a ride." I have been through cringey and embarrassing moments (a lot of those), surgeries, debates, insults, bullying... and yet here I am, just being me. I think it's a mental "transition" as well, because it made me the strong person I am today. I don't regret anything though, because I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot of lessons throughout my journey. Having said that, I'm more sure of who I am than ever.

"I want to show the world that trans people can be rational/sane"

How charming is this look?

Regarding her fans on social media, Daria is very level-headed and has a crystal clear mind as to what she wants to accomplish through her platform and how:

"I don't see them as fans, since I'm not a popular person. I'm just expressing my views in general. that may be highly controversial or not, and I don't aspire to get "more fans", but to get more real (if that makes any sense). I want to show the world that trans people can be rational/sane. And yes, I'm down to speak at events although there aren't many. About community hmm... I'm not very connected to the people of the trans community, or LGBT in general. I'm surrounded by straight non-trans people all the time and I love it. Believe it or not, I feel like I can forget about this aspect of my life, I try to do what I would've done if I'd been a biologically born woman and focus on my career and my goals. I really don't like to emphasize the fact that I'm trans (it's no secret, but it's no pride either), and this way helped me live normally in a society where these things are often seen as horrible and very controversial."

Daria's Transition Timeline Video

Looking Elegant

Sexy, Sophisticated, Daria has the look

Future World Leader

This is your future boss

Fun, Real, Honest and Genuine

Showing the world by example

Changing the World by Being True

Life can be beautiful and fun

A City Girl

Street charm

Daria's Thoughts on the Struggles in the LGBT Community

LIVE with the MAYOR

here we go this is goingtob emaizing. starts at 11:30 est

This update would be working perfectly without refresh

Kids are bored at home

The hospitals are overwhelmed

Mayor says everyone is dying

A woman with a face protection mask passes by a mural reading "Not every hero wears a cape" as tribute to Polish medical professionals amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in Warsaw on April 16, 2020. - From April 16, 2020, wearing face protection masks in public spaces is mandatory in Poland. (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Covid Spreads Across the World

Palestine Hit Hard

Palestinian farmers wearing surgical masks as a precaution due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic harvest carnation flowers in a greenhouse as feed for farm animals, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 16, 2020. - Palestinian farmers had to salvage some of dispose of part of their flower crop due to a drop in sales as events and gatherings were banned due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP) (Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)

POLAND-HEALTH-VIRUS

An employee of a private medical firm takes a coronavirus test sample from a health care employee to help diagnose the spread of the virus, in Warsaw on April 16, 2020. (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

POLAND-HEALTH-VIRUS

An employee of a private medical firm takes a coronavirus test sample from a health care employee, to help diagnose the spread of the virus in Warsaw on April 16, 2020. (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

FRANCE-HEALTH-VIRUS

A woman walks past a closed restaurant in Paris on April 16, 2020 on the 31th day of a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

PAKISTAN-HEALTH-VIRUS

People wait in lines to collect cash from a bank under the governmental Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme for families in need during a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Karachi on April 16, 2020. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gives a press briefing after the surprise announcement the FED will cut interest rates on March 3, 2020 in Washington,DC. - The US Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut Tuesday, responding to the growing economic risk posed by the coronavirus epidemic and giving President Donald Trump the stimulus he has called for. In a unanimous decision, the Fed's policy-setting committee slashed its key interest rate by a half point to a range of 1.0-1.25. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Corona Virus Updates

The article

Grammy Winners

they were all great

Demi Lovato - Anyone (Live From The 62nd GRAMMYs ® / 2020)

Billie Eilish Wins Song Of The Year | 2020 GRAMMYs

Lizzo - Cuz I Love You / Truth Hurts (LIVE from the 62nd GRAMMYs ®)

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Camila Cabello - First Man (LIVE at the 62nd GRAMMYs)

The Best Bops

This is a little round up of the very best artists that are supporting non binary LGBT communities around the world.

Hayley Kiyoko - Girls like Girls

Billboard Women In Music 2019 Presented By YouTube Music

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Taylor Swift

77th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 05: Taylor Swift attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

Twice

2019 SBS Gayo Daejeon In Seoul

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Bad Bunny

Mega 96.3 FM Calibash 2020

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Vehicles covered in ash are parked in an evacuated residential area in Talisay town, Batangas province south of Manila on January 13, 2020. - Lava and broad columns of ash illuminated by lightning spewed from a volcano south of the Philippine capital on January 13, grounding hundreds of flights as authorities warned of a possible "explosive eruption". (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP) (Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

Taal Volcano Eruption

Taal volcano eruption in Philippines

BATANGAS, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 13: Security personnel are seen to assist the villagers at the town of Agoncillo in Batangas wherein covered in thick blankets of ash due to Taal volcano eruption in Batangas on January 13, 2020. (Photo by Dante Diosina Jr/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Taal volcano eruption in Philippines

BATANGAS, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 13: Villager are seen as they look at Taal volcano erupting in Batangas, Philippines on January 13, 2020. (Photo by Dante Diosina Jr/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Taal volcano eruption in Philippines

BATANGAS, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 13: A villager washes his horse while the Taal volcano erupts in Batangas, Philippines on January 13, 2020. (Photo by Dante Diosina Jr/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

PHILIPPINES-VOLCANO

Residents walk past wooden boats as Taal volcano erupts, in Tanauan town, Batangas province south of Manila on January 13, 2020. - Lava and broad columns of ash illuminated by lightning spewed from a volcano south of the Philippine capital on January 13, grounding hundreds of flights as authorities warned of a possible "explosive eruption". (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP) (Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)