Sunday 17 April 2022

Interview with Atarah Morales

Monika: Today let me present Atarah Morales, a Mexican philosopher, biologist, music producer, and transgender woman that documents her transition on social media. Hello Atarah!
Atarah: Hi Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Atarah: Yeah! I am a very curious woman, which led me to question everything in my life. But above all, creative, loving, strong, and free-spirited. I have a degree in philosophy, and I am currently studying biology.
I have been dedicated to music production for the last 10 years. I was a DJ in Mexico City for 5 years, which was wonderful. Thanks to this I met many interesting places, people, and media. Since I started my gender transition, my life has become calmer. Ha!! And I’m 37 years old.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments on social media?
Atarah: I document a part of my transition on Instagram but only very specific moments. I don’t share all my intimacy on social media. For example, I don’t share when I feel very sad or alone because I don’t like to be regarded as weak. So that inspired me to see other strong trans women, happy with attitude and strength to face life. And that helped me a lot to take the most important step in my life, which is my gender transition and accepting myself. And that is what I want to convey to other women that it is possible to live fully as trans women.
Monika: Why did you choose Atarah for your name?
Atarah: Because it means to be crowned. That’s what I want for my new life. Being blessed in all aspects of my life. And why aren’t there many people with that name, hahaha?

"I document a part of my transition on
Instagram but only very specific moments."

Monika: Do you get many questions from your social media followers? What do they ask for?
Atarah: They have come to write to me. To tell me that I look very good or that they would like to be my friends. At what time is it best to take the treatment? How I told my family and friends about being trans.
I have met very interesting and nice women. There is also a very recurring question if I have had problems with getting a job. It is something that is worrisome as many of them have difficulty getting a job. This saddens me a lot.
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?
Atarah: Fortunately, I didn’t really lose much. I’ve always been a person with leadership skills. That helped me a lot to tell my parents. They are very open. Especially my mother, she took me to the doctor when I was 10 years old and my breasts began to grow. And she looked at me and wondered why they grow up???
I was born with chromosomal mosaicism XXY Klinefelter syndrome. Thanks to that, it was very easy with my parents. I lost all my friends and when I came out to everyone I lost everyone. To tell my friends, it was very simple, I posted a photo of myself on Facebook when I was already under hormone therapy for two years. I didn’t care about anything, I just published it and there was only one thought in my mind: who leaves and who stays? That was it, they moved away from me but it didn’t really hurt. I had already become aware that this would be the final result.
Monika: So your parents were not surprised by your transition, were they?
Atarah: Not at all! In fact, they were just waiting for me to take the first step. My mother told me: it took you a long time, don’t you think? Hahaha, I was surprised by the reaction of all of them. I received the support of my whole family.
"Even though people perceive me to
be very feminine within me, I still
suffer from dysphoria.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Atarah: Completely satisfied. Hormones made a really radical change in me. And not only in my appearance but also in my mood and how I relate to myself now. There are some changes that will come only with surgeries but at the moment the hormonal changes have been the most beautiful thing for me.
Monika: You look very feminine, so this question may not be relevant to you. 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?
Atarah: Thank you very much, even though people perceive me to be very feminine within me, I still suffer from dysphoria, which pushes me to keep looking for passing constantly. My Adam’s apple, my hands, my shoulders. They become factors that make you fall into that passing narrative.
There is a very big struggle that still needs to be done so that the rest of society can respect and accept trans people who do not have passing privileges or do not take hormones. And it’s not that society respects those who can pass, they just don’t realize it. So there is still a lot to do. Unfortunately, in order to survive the passing is still imperative in my view.
Maybe they hated me for this, they once asked me: do I need to take hormones and change my legal identity? To which I replied to the girl: well, to be you, it is not necessary. But if you want to be visible out there and survive unfortunately yes. Without identity documents they will discriminate against you a lot, especially in this country. And it’s hard to find a job. And if you don’t take hormones, well, the possible aggressions against you, probably even physical, are doubled.
Monika: Do you remember the first time you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Atarah: The first one must have been Angela Ponce and later Teddy Quinlivan. They are the women I admire very much. Especially Teddy Quinlivan.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Atarah: In my country, there has been a lot of progress in terms of laws. In Mexico, it is possible to change all your identity documents, school, tax, banking, etc. No need for hormones or surgeries. We also have equal marriage. Despite all these laws, society still discriminates against us. Getting a job is still very difficult. Hormone therapy is provided by the state but only in some states.
The trans theme is increasingly present in Mexico. Although it is a Latin country, it has given way to great changes in favor of the transgender community, now the only struggle that still exists is cultural and social. To eradicate misinformation about transgender people because despite all these advances in the medical area, there is still discrimination and that is unacceptable.

"I love fashion! I usually wear a lot of miniskirts
and dresses."

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Atarah: I love fashion! I usually wear a lot of miniskirts and dresses. I hate jeans, hahaha but I can make a nice outfit with some jeans. Normally I am dressed in black all the time. Red is my second favorite color. And as for trends, I don’t follow them much, I prefer to mark my own that fits me and my lifestyle.
Monika: Do you often experiment with your makeup?
Atarah: When I usually experiment, a total disaster usually happens, hahaha, so I have to improve. But practice makes perfect, so I’ll keep trying.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Atarah: Yes, of course! Who doesn’t like a compliment from time to time? Obviously, I am no exception. It really makes me feel very good.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Atarah: I haven’t had job interviews. But there are some similar situations. As a music producer, I was contacted by customers who wanted me to produce some tracks and when the appointment took place and they arrived to see me in person, I panicked and a thousand things were going through my mind. Things like: if they realize that I’m trans and cancel everything? And if I can see myself in such a way and go through such endless things, I suffer from an extreme social panic. But nothing happened and what I imagined was just my unfounded fear.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Atarah: Let them be very sure of themselves. If possible, make the legal change in documents. So that they don’t have to give explanations to anyone, and in a situation of discrimination, they can always go to the institutions to report such acts. Only in this way could we eradicate it. Despite the circumstances, they can always seek to learn something new, so that they can dedicate themselves to business or sex work as their last resort.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Atarah: Not as I would like. Since I’m focusing my time on my transition and working. But I try to do it in forums and in some events organized by some trans clinics.
"Life is a risk and whoever does not
risk does not win!"
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Atarah: My family’s love is very important, as is the love of neighbor. And self-esteem of course. But the love of a couple is unnecessary for me. I can live without it. I love this without a partner.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Atarah: I would like to write a philosophy book. But unfortunately, I don’t have much time now.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Atarah: My next step in the medium term is to reach my goal for my gender confirmation surgery. In 5/7 years... I don’t know. Jean-Paul Sartre said: “Being is ejected into nothingness and nothingness is the future.” The future is nothing unless the being chooses in the present. Being in choosing chooses himself and builds his present. And so I can fill that nothing. So I try to make the best decisions in the present. And at this moment, in the present enjoying the life of my family and the new experiences that my transition gives me.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Atarah: Life is a risk and whoever does not risk does not win! There will be always something to lose whether or not you are in transition. If you transition, you may lose friends but if you don’t, you will lose yourself. And you need to be patient and do it when your environment makes you feel comfortable for that moment.
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 transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Atarah: Of course, I agree with that. We are talented, creative, and above all, capable of surpassing ourselves. I am currently studying biology and Italian. And I pretend to be a better woman in my work. Our lives do not end or must stagnate just because we are trans women.
Monika: Atarah, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Atarah: Thanks to you for inviting me to participate in your project. ❤️❤️

All the photos: courtesy of Atarah Morales.
© 2022 - Monika Kowalska

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