Friday, 28 March 2014

Interview with Cadence Matthews

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Cadence W. Matthews, a young transgender woman from Canada. Hello Cadence!
Cadence: Hi Monika; thank you for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Cadence: Well, I am 27, I work in the hair extension industry, as well as doing some acting, singing, and other artistic pursuits. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details in the media?
Cadence: I think it's important to share my journey as a way of giving back to the community. Trans visibility has only recently increased in a positive way , and I want to be a part of that.

With her fiancé.

Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Cadence: I will always be wanting something else done. Right now I'm taking time to focus on the internal.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Cadence: Yes, absolutely. My shape is much more feminine and I feel more "right" emotionally, if a little unbalanced at times.
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Cadence: I expressed those feelings at age three and spent many years clashing with my father about what was "appropriate". I always liked "girly" things. I always spoke and moved more like a girl than a boy. My transition was more of a slow progression from age 3 onward than it was a conscious decision.
Monika: For most of transgender girls, the most traumatic time is the time spent at school, college or university when they had to face lots of discrimination. Was it the same in your case?
Cadence: I was bullied pretty badly in elementary and high school. From 13 onwards I wore makeup and a purse to school every day. It wasn't easy, but that's who I was. I've always been true to my own desires and feelings.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Cadence: Candis Cayne. I think she is monumentally talented, eloquent, and classy. She's a proper lady, and I respect that.
With black hair.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Cadence: I suffer from anxiety, and going "full time" resulted in some very severe panic attacks over a period of several years. I still experience them, but not as often or as severely.
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Cadence: Canada is a good place to be. We have a long way to go, like everywhere, but I imagine it is better than many places in America or, say, Russia- obviously!
Monika: We are witnessing more and more transgender ladies coming out. Unlike in the previous years some of them have status of celebrities or are really well-known, just to mention Lana Wachowski in film-directing, Jenna Talackova in modelling, Kate Bornstein in academic life, Laura Jane Grace in music or Candis Cayne in acting. Do you witness the same trend in Canada or Jenna Talackova is the only woman with a status of celebrity?
Cadence: we have some local-celebrity status spread through the community here, but Jenna certainly grabbed the spotlight with her fight to compete for Miss Universe. I know Jenna a bit, and she is very deserving of the attention. She is sweet as pie and absolutely stunning. It's wonderful to see all the positive attention she's received.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Cadence: I, personally, am not. But many women here in Vancouver are involved in politics and that is fantastic. I'd like to believe that anyone can make a difference if they want to badly enough.

Another face of Cadence.

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Cadence: I love fashion. I love extremes. One day I'm a biker chick in a leather jacket and engineer boots, the next I'm in pearls and a blazer.
I wear a lot of black right now ; I feel that it looks very polished. I think it's all about the bag. I wear my Louis Vuitton Speedy 40 pretty much everywhere. She's my baby.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Cadence: I think it's great! What fun! As long as you're not taking the potential criticism to a place of damaging your self-esteem, why not?
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Cadence: Very! I try to work with trans youth and their families as much as I can. The future of our community is in their hands, after all!
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Cadence: everyone has their own life. They are busy living theirs. You have got to do the same. No one else knows what is right for you and no one else can take control of your destiny. You owe it to yourself to live your truth proudly. It isn't easy, but that's how you know it's worth it!
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Cadence: I'm going back to school for PR and would like to have further FFS in the future, among other procedures. I am engaged at the moment so in 5-7 years, I'd like to be married and thinking about kids!

Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Cadence: Absolutely. I have my bad days, but I have never regretted transition. Being myself is one thing that is a constant source of pride in my life. It is my greatest achievement!
Monika: Cadence, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!

All the photos: courtesy of Cadence Matthews.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

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