Tuesday 14 March 2017

Interview with Cecilia (buttercupcece)

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Cecilia, a woman of trans experience that documents her life on Reddit.com as buttercupcece and on Instagram as cc.skates. Hello Cecilia (cc)!
cc: Hi!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
cc: Well, I’m a college kid, 20 years old, right now with a plan to transfer universities from Northern Michigan in Marquette Michigan to Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids Michigan.
I’m gonna be studying Diagnostic Medical Sonography, whatever that means. Skateboarding is my absolute biggest passion, but I also love to trail run, surf the great lakes, ice & rock climb, cook, eat, get tattoos, and just generalized punk shit.

Skateboarding Marquette Plaza.

Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on Reddit?
cc: Well I’m really happy with how far I have come and I can remember looking at all these wonderful people before I started HRT and finding hope. So I figured why not give back to the community and help out those who were once scared or excited or confused or lost like I was.
Monika: I am sure you get many questions from your Reddit fans. What do they ask for? 
cc: HA! No not many people ask for much except for maybe my Instagram? Or they say they want to date/sleep with me… A couple people say they like my style and stuff, which is always awesome. I don’t actually use Reddit too much.
Monika: What was the strangest question that you answered?
cc: Ever? Some guy asked me once if he could be my Barbie Doll and I get to dress him up and name him. I’m pretty sure I answered with a “no”, but maybe I should rethink that…
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
cc: Pretty much a year on hormones, I came out publicly in September of 2017. Soon to get SRS and FFS this summer (2017). But I try not and think about transition as having stages—I will just keep doing what makes me comfortable yet I will always be valid.

This mirror makes me look so

Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
cc: Yeah dawg, they made my face and ass fat. Muscles could go down a bit more and my tits could grow some, but I’m generally happy with what they’ve done. I cry a lot a lot, a lot, a lot.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
cc: Hm there’s this one trans skateboarder named Hillary Thompson and she once liked my selfies on Facebook and replied to my Insta DM, so she is pretty cool. I’m thankful for any trans person who puts themselves out there on any platform as an activist—representation is much needed.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
cc: Probably losing my girlfriend at the time. We were together for 3 years, I came out to her like 2 years into our relationship. We really did try and try but at the end of the day, nobody could make her a lesbian (I tried). Everything kinda crashed and burned when we broke up, then soon thereafter I came out publicly which is a whirlwind of its own. All this was on top of moving out of my ex’s place, living in a pretty rural and uneducated community, and dealing with family.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
cc: Trump is a shithead that just rescinded one of the only acts that protects trans students in school. I have had transphobic slurs yelled at me and have been forced out of parties. I hear about murders and suicides too frequently. I find that I am constantly having to tell people what it means to be trans, but god, sometimes I just don’t want to play the role of a trans educator, but I grit my teeth for the sake of trans people everywhere and do my best to inform. I think we have it better than most, but we are still very behind with acceptance, medical care, and education.
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
cc: It’s fine if it’s told by an actual trans person, like Laverne Cox in Orange Is the New Black. I saw The Danish Girl. That was okay, I’d change a few things if I could. F*** Caitlyn Jenner. F*** all those jokes that are still around about how some character sleeps with a prostitute and it turns out they were so drunk they didn’t know she was trans—that’s old. There’s a good representation and there’s bad representation, then there’s just representation where they tried but didn’t do their research.

Valentine's Day look!

Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
cc: I go to rallies when they rise up, I vote whenever there is an important election, I generally try my best to be a part of the US Government. And obviously haha. I do think it’s harder for people to listen to trans people because of a general unacceptance, but I think there are some really powerful voices out there.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBTQ community?
cc: I guess so, not super involved, but I try and support and advocate for queer groups as much as I can. I kinda just fell into the community by dating girls—every lesbian seems to know and/or has dated every other lesbian in your city and bam you’re in the queer community.
Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBTQ communities. Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBTQ group?
cc: I always felt it to be sort of out of place in the light of “why are we clumping gender in with sexualities” but I mean, where else are we gonna go? The trans community is relatively small, so it’s nice to have some sort of identity that is largely willing to help fight for my rights. There is still a lot of transphobia in the queer community itself, but it’s quickly getting better.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
cc: My number one compliment I get is people telling me I have “style”. I think I tend to reject a lot of feminine ideals, I have too many tattoos, and this metal bar shoved in between my eyes. I wear a lot of black lipstick and bold makeup sometimes, sometimes no makeup. I think people like the confidence in my alternative look.
I wear a lot of boys' t-shirts, a lot of black, dresses, skirts, jeans, leggings—I wear it all. But I’m generally not doing a lot of what other girls do and I think people like that about me or just don’t understand.
A lot of people have a hard time wrapping their heads around a translesbian let alone a non-feminine trans girl, they think “what’s the point if you’re going to just not try and be pretty” but fuck their beauty standards.

Oh yeesh. I hope I don't scare people.

Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
cc: I don’t? haha Never heard of them. I guess it could be a cool thing if you’re into that, or trans people could just join a beauty pageant that isn’t trans-specific if you’re trying to just be the best at being conventionally pretty.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
cc: Well, it’s pretty much one of the only things I’m after. Screw college, screw a career, it’s all meaningless without love. I love my friends, I love my family, one day I will love my partner and my kids. Do whatever it takes for love.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
cc: I write bullshit poetry sometimes, but that’s just for myself. I don’t think I’d find myself interesting enough to even start writing a book in the first place. I’d rather just tell someone face to face or do some cool art.
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of transition, discrimination, and hatred?
cc: First things first, you gotta come out to yourself. Nobody will tell you that you are trans, no matter how many people you ask (and believe me, I asked A LOT of people). Once you come out to yourself, then you gotta decide, is it worth all the bullshit? And it probably is. For me the decision was easy, deal with assholes but be myself, or just flat out commit suicide. Think of your options and do whatever will keep you alive and happiest the longest.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
cc: My next step is to going to be off this couch to go out to dinner! But transition wise I have my SRS consultation soon, so that’s cool. And 5-7 years? Hopefully graduated, skateboarding every day, with a beautiful partner, and drinking high-quality gin.
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?
cc: Hm, I guess I think that we should not be limited by how we were born because that’s stupid. My gender is valid no matter how I was born. However, I don’t think that dreams should begin on an operating table, that’s kinda stupid. My dreams began as soon as I started dreaming. I don’t think surgery has anything to do with gender validity. Maybe I’m reading it all wrong though, I’m not very good at understanding things.
Monika: Cecilia, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
cc: Thank you! I’ve always daydreamed about being interviewed.

All the photos: courtesy of Cecilia.
© 2017 - Monika Kowalska

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