Friday 18 February 2022

Interview with Julia Martins

Monika: Today we are going to Brazil, a fascinating country where my inspirational guest comes from. Julia Martins is a model, beauty queen, and game video creator. Hello Julia! 
Julia: Hello Monika! Nice to meet you! It's a pleasure for me to talk to you and your audience. 
Monika: Could you say a few words yourself?
Julia: I'm Julia, a Libra transgender girl, a lover of life and pets, a gamer from my childhood, and now an alternative Ascencion model at and Onlyfans.  
Monika: How did you start your gaming career?
Julia: Since I was a child, I've always loved playing video games. When I was 5 years old, I already knew that I was "a boy who didn't want to be a boy", and I never realized until I was 13 years old, that I could undergo a gender transition. So I grew up being a sad child. And when I was playing video games, those were the moments when I had happiness during my childhood. So when I grew up, I thought "Why can't I continue to do this?" and that's how I started my life playing video games.
Monika: You work for a very male-dominated industry. Do you have a chance to co-operate with other female game developers?
Julia: Yes, the gaming industry is very male-dominated, and sometimes it's very hard for us girls to grow in the space. When I started my broadcasts at Twitch TV, I became a member of some streamers' groups, when I had contacts with other girls doing the same thing as me. So we've created a network where we help each other, and it's very nice.
"I grew up being a sad child."
Monika: I guess the gaming industry is quite unique as it can boast a relatively high number of transgender women. Is it a coincidence?
Julia: I think that it's not a coincidence, I think that just like it happened to me, other transgender girls feel good about playing videogames from the very start, because when we are children, we realize that we aren't who we should be, and it can be very difficult and painful. So video games are a great discharge valve, and a way out to avoid depression and sadness.
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?
Julia: Coming out sometimes brings the highest price to pay because of the society we live in. I know that I'm a privileged one, because I didn't lose my family when I came out, and there are a lot of trans people who lose them. But after coming out I suffered from some losses. I remember as if it's yesterday, the day I lost my job. And it happened in a year when I had no money, and I was looking for a job because I really needed money to survive. So I talked to the recruiter of the store and she loved my personality and my appearance, and she told me that the job would be mine. When I showed them my documents (at that time I didn't change my civil name yet), she looked at my old name, and she said "we don't hire transgender people". That was a difficult time, and it was the first time I saw that I was going to lose things for being a transgender girl.
In addition, I was working for another company and the management got changed, and the new manager was transphobic, so I had been working there for 4 years and everybody used to like my work, but when the new director arrived, he started to harass me, and then I lost my job and the 4 years of dedication I offered there.
My mother has always stood by my side, but I've lost friends and other people from family too, people who I always thought would be forever by my side. And sometimes it can be very difficult, but now I can see that this type of things can fortify ourselves.
Monika: Was your family surprised by your transition? Did they accept it easily?
Julia: In the first moment, when I told my mother that I was a transgender girl, she tried to suppress my transition. I was 13 years old, and I could not stand being a man in society anymore. So she told me that when I get a job and could pay for my things for myself, I could transition. She thought that I would wait until I am 18 years old to start my transition. But "being a man" was so painful to me that I started looking for a job at the age of 13. And I did, I get a flyer delivery job in my city. Every day I would leave school and go to work, walking by the streets under the sunlight, a lot of times I couldn't even have lunch, and this way I got anemia.
"Being a man was so painful to
me that I started looking for
a job at the age of 13."
However, I got my money to start my transition. When my mother saw me sick because of anemia, she understood that I couldn't continue with that and started to accept me and support me. So I collected money and paid for my hairdressing course, and I started to work as a hairdresser. Those were difficult times, but I'm very proud of them now, and I think I did what I needed to do to be myself.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Julia: Yes, I mean, I have already undergone the reassignment surgery, so I don't need to use a lot of hormones, just a low dose to maintain my organism working good. But before the surgery, I didn't enjoy hormone therapy because the hormones always brought some emotional changes, and I used to cry a lot (haha) and even suffered from depression because of these changes. So I decided to stop taking hormones because of that.
We all know that a lot of transgender girls use hormones and have their desired effects, but in my case, I've always had the side effects much more than expected effects. But nowadays it's very easy for me to take hormones, and I'm really happy with the effects.
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?
Julia: I remember when I was a child, and whenever I watched TV, read newspapers, or watched movies in the cinema, I used to see only cisgender people, so I grew up with the idea that a woman needs to be like those cisgender girls. And as in my case, a lot of transgender girls grew up in accordance with this scenario. But I believe that as long as we talk about transgender people, and give space to transgender people in the media, we can deconstruct this scene where we need to be like this or like that.
The transgender beauty is real, it's possible, and we can be beautiful in our ways. I just got 2 surgeries in my life: breast augmentation and reassignment surgery. And I always say to my audience that what guided me to do these surgeries, was the desire to overcome dysphoria. It was always for myself, never because of "what people would think about it?" you know?
I think that surgeries can be our ally, but always with the focus on ourselves to feel good about it. But I really believe that one day we will deconstruct the idea of "ideal woman" enough, so transgender girls could grow up without this toxic thought that we need a lot of surgeries to be beautiful. Beauty lives in a happy body, it doesn't matter how beautiful it is.
Monika: Do you remember the first time you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Julia: Yes, the first time I saw a transgender girl was at my 13 years old when I went to my mother's hairdresser. Her name was "Gabriella", and she was a transgender girl. Like I said before when I was 5 years old, I already knew that I wasn't a boy, but I was stuck in a boy's body. And until that moment I never realized that I could go through a gender transition. So when I saw Gabriella, I finally saw this possibility as real and I knew at the same time that it would be my way.
"The transgender beauty is real,
it's possible, and we can be
beautiful in our ways."
That's why I think it's so important for us to talk about transgender people and transgender children, as we are not born at 18, we have our childhood, and when we see other transgender people, we have the opportunity to understand who we are, and that makes life much better.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Julia: Yes, Ariella Moura, she was the Miss Trans Beauty 2019 and 2nd runner up at Miss International Queen 2020. I really admire her. Here in Brazil, we also have Linn de Quebrada, who's participating in Big Brother Brasil this year, and she is a transgender girl and also a well-known singer in Brazil. I really love her.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Julia: Since our current president took command of Brazil, things have turned really bad for the LGBT community here. Our current president hates transgender people, he denies the pandemic, denies vaccination, and tries to deprive us of the rights that we have already gained. From the moment he won the elections in Brazil, I and a lot of girls have suffered from transphobic attacks. But this year is a voting year and I really believe that things will be better when the former President Lula will come back. And even though we experienced hard years, I'm really proud of us, our LGBT community, because even in a difficult situation, we always resisted. We made noise every time they were trying to deny our rights, and we did a great job. So I'm very hopeful that great times are coming for us.
Monika: You participate in beauty pageants. Do you enjoy them?
Julia: Yeah, in fact, I participated in a pageant in 2020. Everything started in 2019 when I was in my bed, recovering from reassignment surgery, and I discovered a pageant for transgender girls through a post on Instagram. And I thought "OMG, I've always wanted to be a Miss, and now I know that there's a pageant for trans girls, I want to participate".
So in 2020, I made my registration, but I didn't think that I would be selected. But it happened. The pageant was a time of many first things for me: the first time I traveled on a flight alone, the first time I went to São Paulo (a big city in Brazil), the first time I participated in a pageant. I grew a lot during the pageant, it was a stepping stone for me. It was a good experience, even knowing that I didn't reach the Top 15.
Monika: How did you prepare yourself for a pageant? Who helped you to prepare your dresses, makeup, and hair?
Julia: I did all alone, all my preparation was done by me. I live in a small city in the interior of the south, so it was very difficult to find people who could support me. For my dress, I found an atelier that believed in me and lent me the dress. For the makeup I contracted a professional from Rio de Janeiro that met me at the pageant. And at the catwalk, I used my knowledge and observation of famous models to learn how to walk on the catwalk.
"I've always wanted to be a Miss."
Monika: Have you ever thought about participating in Miss International Queen in Thailand, probably the most prestigious pageant for transgender girls?
Julia: Yeah, when I saw the pageant here in Brazil and I knew that the winner would go to Miss International Queen, I got really happy and hopeful that I could do that. Travels to other places around the world have always been my dream and doing this to represent my country would be even better. Because here in Brazil, transgender girls still do not have too much space in the fashion industry. And I have always wanted to accomplish this dream. 
When I was 13 years old, I had a contract with an agency here in Brazil, but when I started my gender transition, they told me there was no place for transgender people in the public, so I left this dream behind. And so when I saw the pageant, and the possibility of going to the Miss International Queen pageant, I saw the possibility of rescuing this dream that I was forced to let behind.
Unfortunately, I didn't win the pageant, but now I'm still trying to conquer my space being a model. And for this, I have by my side Bruna and Mari, two photographers from Pontoraw studio. They both are amazing people, with a great and beautiful work portfolio, and they support me these days to do photoshoots that I publish on my Instagram, OnlyFans and soon I will publish at SuicideGirls too. I'm very hopeful that I can win my space this way.


All the photos: courtesy of Julia Martins.
© 2022 - Monika Kowalska

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