With that video I really wanted to challenge the narrative that there was one crystallizing moment that I *knew* that I was trans, and instead I wanted to articulate how it was a gradual discovery and a gradual deconstruction of this imposed narrative of who I was supposed to be and this imposed dialogue that I had to use to describe myself and limit who I could be at any of the stages mentioned.
As for when I first felt it, it’s kind of like I said in my video - I never felt I was a boy or that I should be one. There was a period in college when I got super depressed and felt like I had to act like one, and I tried to “accept" that I was a man, but I wasn’t, and I couldn’t be, and it was overcompensation and awkwardness all around and it just left me feeling like I hated myself.
I had a genderqueer phase, and I’m not saying that it’s a phase for every genderqueer person, but for me it was a safe way of telling my parents that I never felt male, even if I didn’t quite know how to articulate that I was a woman at that stage in the game.
|Courtesy of Kat Haché.|
I just remember from the onset of puberty until I transitioned, I was someone else entirely. I felt out of control of my life and my identity, and it sucked. I had to unlearn all the abuse and degradation of my peers to build my self esteem. It’s much better now, but it hasn’t been an easy road.
Samantha Allen is a sister to me and she is so incredibly smart and articulate and insightful and I love her dearly. She’s my family, and even my parents welcome her as a part of my family.
Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! is also an inspiration to me because she’s badass and I love that I can call her a friend of mine. I have so many awesome friends who are role models, like Zinnia Jones and Mattie Brice and Lydia Neon...
And of course people like Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera, who I haven’t met and made my friends... yet.
I was just afraid of going all the way and letting myself fully be who I wanted to be. My parents and friends and coworkers and colleagues have all been super accepting. I know I’m lucky, even though everyone deserves that, but yeah, the hardest part was getting over my own fear and conquering myself so that I could become myself.
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in your country?
I am an optimistic person by nature. I have to be. It’s what drives me. I honestly believe and trust that things are getting better, and fast. I wouldn’t have anticipated when I was still a repressed undergraduate that I would have ever felt comfortable being who I am on a college campus, let alone a mere 5 or so years after I started to really admit that I was not a guy.
That said, a lot needs work. Trans representation is terrible. There aren’t many positive representations of trans people on television or in film. People in Hollywood and in the entertainment industry in general don’t think that there are trans actors and actresses capable of representing themselves. Transphobic slurs are still totally acceptable and commonplace on primetime television.
|Courtesy of Kat Haché.|
I personally am not involved in lobbying and am not active in politics, though if I see an opportunity to become more active, it is one that I will take.
Then I have days where I look really femme. It all depends on the mood I’m in, but I like feeling badass and sexy and knowing that I look good.
There’s this negative marker with being trans in our society that tells us we are ugly, untouchable, and unlovable, and people don’t recognize that we are beautiful. There should be more celebration of trans beauty, which is partially why I am interested in modeling - I would like to tell the world that despite what it has told me about myself that I am beautiful and I can wow people.
I don’t think that trans women should be relegated to separate beauty pageants, necessarily, if that’s what you mean, because like cis women we are women and that diversity should be represented in the mainstream, not cordoned off so that people can safely ignore it.
I don’t want anyone to be scared, and if it is your life and you feel like it is the right thing for you - transition. It is the biggest step you can take in being authentic and happy and you deserve happiness and a sense of integrity, purpose, and peace. There’s a big community of trans people out there who will help you every step of the way. We’re brothers and sisters and we stick together.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
My writing is reaching new eyes every day, and new opportunities are opening up all over the place. I’m a big fan of Joseph Campbell though, and I really believe in his idea of “following your bliss". I try to do that and I view my life as an adventure. I think I kind of have to as well, because I don’t really know what I am doing. I have to trust in myself and my decisions and the possibility of succeeding at what I do. It’s gotten me this far, at least.