Friday, 8 January 2021

Interview with Cereza Corazón B


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Cereza Corazón B, a transgender woman from Mexico that documents her transition on social media. Hello Corazón!
Corazón: Hi Monika, thank you for setting up this interview! Hello folk of the Internet, onlookers and regulars of Monika’s. 
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Corazón: My name is Cereza Corazón B. I’m of Mexican nationality and really mixed heritage. It is my desire to be free that drives me forward and leads me to try new things. It is that same desire that guides me to accept and embrace who I am.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Corazón: I’ll be honest, it originally started because I had a really hard time believing that I could be seen as a woman. Although my beginning in Reddit was less than glamorous it did help me gain the confidence necessary to break away from my shell and believe I could actually do it.
Looking for outside validation is usually frowned upon, but I’ve found that it is a necessary ingredient for growth. However, I soon realized I didn’t want the kind of attention I was getting from my original posts, and that outside validation was no longer necessary so I stopped.
I now share my transition on social media as a sort of public journal, and hopefully an example of what a person can achieve by living true to itself. I wish to show that tags are just for cataloging purposes, tags don’t define character, and certainly don’t define an individual’s path.
If I can sum it up, my goal is to show that as humans we have a choice, we can allow our environment to mold who we are or we can choose to make and walk our own path. I think that is powerful and certainly part of a mentality that needs to have a bigger presence in everyone’s life.
"I wish to show that tags are just for cataloging
purposes, tags don’t define character, and
certainly don’t define an individual’s path."
Monika: Do you get many questions from your Reddit readers? What do they ask for? 
Corazón: I used to get a lot when I first started posting, but since the nature of my posts changed that mostly stopped. Nowadays the question I’ve gotten the most is if I’m single?, which is weird because the titles on my recent pictures mention my girlfriend hahaha.
I wish more people were asking important questions with deeper meaning. The experience of being transgender (depending on the person and situation) can be very fun. Personally I like the challenges that come from being honest in a society that still holds dear the status quo no matter how damming. It has helped me grow and foster better relationships. I realize not everyone’s experience is the same, but I love the feeling of ownership and self worth I’ve derived from my process of transition.
Monika: What was the strangest question that you answered? :)
Corazón: Mmm I don’t have any that are outstandingly weird, although once a man offered to have me travel to his home and stay there for 3 days, of course I said no, not knowing if I’d ever leave.
Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, we lose our families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Corazón: I didn’t, I’ve actually gained, thinking about it, I actually was paying a higher price when I was in the proverbial closet, always angry, with a short fuse getting shorter, driving everyone away.
I like to think that the way I’ve handled my transition process is a key part of the overwhelming acceptance I’ve gotten, but I know that the world is also very different from what it used to be even 10 years ago. Back then it was still acceptable to make fun of gay people, and transgender folks were still seen as extreme transvestites. I remember there were people that wanted to fight me because I wore dark clothes, like cartoons and video-games and had my hair a bit long. The world, at least in the part I experience, has become much more accepting.
For the 2 years and months since I started my transition I haven’t faced any heavy retaliation if any at all. Yes, some people seem to be uneasy about my pronouns, but I don’t hold it against them, as the process of unlearning is lengthy.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Corazón: Mostly yes!, but I wish they worked faster and changed my voice too, beggars can’t be choosers though and I’m really glad and thankful HRT even exists and has become more easily obtainable. I know I’d be miserable and maybe even dead if the option to transition didn’t exist or wasn’t available to me.
Monika: We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Corazón: Being objective and methodical with how the transition process is handled, passing is a great aid to gain acceptance or at least to not ruffle as many feathers, that is the current truth.
As far as how to cope with it, strengthen your mind, focus on your priorities, develop a well balanced personality. Everyone likes a likable person regardless of gender or presentation. If you’re a blast to be around, people won’t care. Disregard tags they are there to give a sense of order to the world but no tag will ever contain all that you are. Being part of a group doesn’t mean that you have to be solely shaped by the definition of such a group. Also words, some people will try to use words against you, be prepared to not care.
Lastly, being flexible and understanding instead of preaching and reactive is best. A lot of people will say things that are hurtful, they may misgender you or make transphobic or homophobic remarks, but take it all in stride.
"The first time I ever saw transgender women being referred to as
such and with passing bodies was in a Mexican comedy/late
night talk show called Otro Rollo."
Source: Otro Rollo Galavisión via YouTube.
Context is very important, as some people may not be trying to be hurtful, they may just be out of their comfort zone, so it is important to not react negatively every time someone makes a mistake in how they approach you and rather read the whole situation. You’ll make less enemies and may even change a few viewpoints with this approach.
All trans folk are trans ambassadors, let them say what they wish and eventually they’ll come around, the ones that don’t pay any attention to.
And remember, people are gained over more often by actions and results than solely by words. Being trans will make you a strong person depending on how you handle it and I think that is the best part of it.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Corazón: I don’t think so, I’ve always been an outsider even in the trans community.
Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Corazón: Yes I do! it still baffles me how little I knew about transgender people growing up. Most I ever heard about transgender folks in my social circle was usually jokes at the expense of trans individuals, or dismissive comments. Back then, it was very accepted to joke about people’s sexual orientation and gender identity, and such concepts weren’t really popular knowledge, but getting back to the question, the first time I ever saw transgender women being referred to as such and with passing bodies was in a Mexican comedy/late night talk show called Otro Rollo.
I remember being entranced by it, seeing them looking like women made me feel a special type of way. Before that I never knew or even thought someone born male could ever look so good as a woman. That was around 2004 and still 13 years away from the start of my process.
My take away from that was that it would take a lot of money and surgeries to successfully transition and so I consciously/unconsciously thought it was unattainable for me, which is so incredible looking back now, the doublethink is so extreme. It is incredible how I could be so blind to the things in front of me. I was thinking I wanted to look like them, and I wished to be able to change like that. I even had fantasies of being a bride as early as 9 years old, but in all that time it never occurred to me that I actually wanted to be considered a woman hahaha.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Corazón: It has gotten better, waaaay better, we aren’t in paradise yet, but wow, from when I was a child to now, it is a whole different world. I do realize I have an easier time because I’m androgynous and my 6’2” frame is imposing but that didn’t deter people from attacking me for other reasons before and I don’t get rude comments either.
I know for a fact that the younger generation is better prepared and generally more accepting, and although the people from two or three generations prior aren’t as accommodating they are more flexible and open now than they were before. Certainly media representation has been a major component of this shift.
"The experience of a transgender woman is
different than a cisgender woman,
different challenges and experiences
give us different goals and sensibilities."
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Corazón: I love fashion! I’m unsure where I fit but I still like the things I like. Funny thing, back when the Matrix was released (1999) I was immediately taken in by the style! I did not understand the movie’s philosophical essence but I loved the dark clothes and fitted look. I loved Trinity’s tight shiny look the most and then. It turns out the creative minds behind the matrix are also trans women!
Nowadays I’m really happy wearing short shorts and crop tops, or in cute dresses. I still love wearing all black tight clothing too, but my color scheme has grown, blue, green, lilac, even a little red here and there. Maybe I follow a trend? I can’t name whose fashion it is though, but the pictures in my social media profiles better tell that story then I can.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Corazón: Beauty pageants for women are heavily looked down upon almost for the same reasons they are popular with some trans women, at least to my eyes they are a validating experience, maybe something little girls in boys’ bodies looked at as an unattainable peak. The experience of a transgender woman is different than a cisgender woman, different challenges and experiences give us different goals and sensibilities. For example, I don’t mind being catcalled, for me, that’s a win, is validating. It means I’m being perceived as a woman and that is what I want.
Beauty pageants for transgender women, I think, share the same underlying principle, to be recognized as being beautiful and feminine enough to partake in such a contest is an achievement for a woman that has been struggling with being seen as feminine her whole life. Beauty pageants are alright as long as all involved are willing participants of it and doing so in a positive manner, that’s my opinion right now.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Corazón: Yes!, I usually don’t mind it, although I still feel unsure if the compliment is honest or not.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Corazón: Yes, it wasn’t much different then my other interviews though. Although the lady offered me money to leave my then current job before my two weeks were up, I didn’t accept and it later turned out she had a vicious hate for the pastry chef I worked for and the only reason she wanted to hire me and even give me a cash incentive to start right away was to spite him. I’m glad I didn’t accept.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Corazón: Be professional, be confident in yourself, employers usually don’t mind personal preferences as long as you’re a good employee. Actions speak louder than words.
For example, I worked in a kitchen full of men and most of them were very chauvinistic and in the beginning they didn’t take me seriously because of my soft nature, but over time they came to appreciate me and respect me when they saw I did my job outstandingly well regardless of my presentation.
A lot of them eventually opened up to me and I was able to win them over and accept me for who I am, not by preaching but by being. I sincerely believe that honesty and truthfulness is something that comes through when dealing with people, the essence of it is felt.
And remember, be polite, respectful and professional and you’ll receive the same in kind, respect commands respect.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Corazón: Not at the moment. I’ve only recently moved back to Mexico and because of the pandemic I haven’t been able to socialize outside of my direct family and friend circle. 
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Corazón: Love is the key! And it really starts with self love! Before transitioning I was in a really bad place and no amount of external love was ever enough. After accepting who I am and getting on my own path I’ve been able to accept and give love more easily.
Now life feels like a movie sometimes and I’m pleasantly surprised at how much love is around me. It is all about love and to anyone struggling with self hate, be yourself! Nothing else will matter when you find and embrace your path and then everything will fall into place.
"Never surrender your unique self to
a group or an outside definition."
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Corazón: Yes! I am writing a book but it is not autobiographical. It does incorporate my experience of being an outcast, the feeling of something great within, the struggle to bring forward the light within into a world of darkness, the importance of following one’s intuition, and the wisdom that comes from facing the challenges inherent to the goal of being true despite de odds and the obstacles. It is all within a sci-fi/spiritual context.
I think writing in a way that is entertaining is best when tackling subjects that deal with complex topics, and I find it easier to convey the type of message I want to share this way because it is also entertaining to me. Besides, I’m not a scholar and I don’t wish to write like one hahaha. I sort of have a disdain/respect relationship with academia.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Corazón: To keep working on myself, there is still a lot of internal work to be done, I’m also strengthening the relationships important to me. In 5-7 years I see myself married to my Girlfriend, living sustainable, managing my business remotely and looking like a fully fledged woman!
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Corazón: The more you put it off, the heavier the burden, the deeper the burn, and the negativity will consume you, I knew what I wanted since I was a teenager, I didn’t have a tag for it, but I knew I wanted to be a woman, I knew when I was 20 and supremely depressed. I used to always think about others' opinions then, don’t, is your life, you get to live it! Do you without stepping on anyone’s head and you’ll be alright.
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transsexuals and transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Corazón: Wholeheartedly, being transgender is only an aspect of myself, the transition just meant I was finally at the correct starting line, but being transgender doesn’t define me. I’m still an outcast, I still look to do things my way, I still remain fiercely individualistic, loyal to my heart and with my head safely in the clouds. At the end, I am me! And nothing else, the tags, the names, those are technical in nature they are not me. Never surrender your unique self to a group or an outside definition, you can never contain the soul of a person in a word. 
Monika: Corazón, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Corazón: It has been a great experience talking to you Monika! What you are doing is great now but it will be even greater in the future. Much Love, Corazón!

All the photos: courtesy of Cereza Corazón B.
Done on 8 January 2021.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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