Interview with Rebecca Finn - Part 2

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Rebecca: I like design in general, but I follow my own tastes. I'd rather wear something that I like how it may suit me than follow trends. I like floral prints, big and small. My favorite colors are red, white and black, but I try to add some variety. As for outfits, I'm mostly practical. I buy pieces that can be mixed/matched with others I have already.
Monika: Do you often experiment with your makeup?
Rebecca: I learned makeup from Kevyn Aucoin's iconic book Making Faces from 1997 (a gift from a friend when I told him about myself many years ago). This taught me enough to even do makeup tutorial streams in Spanish and English (at the same time) on Instagram, which perhaps is what a quarter of my social media followers know me for.
My mom always says to never leave home without at least eye liner and lip gloss. By my photos on Instagram you can see that most days I do more than that. What I enjoy the most is to play with eyeshadow and liner color combinations. I tend to use reds, browns and purples for lipstick. 
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Rebecca: I do, unless they aren't respectful or come "charged" with concepts I can't agree with.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Rebecca: After trying to transition on a job prior to it (and being fired just a week later I announced it, strangely enough) the company I was working at the moment, this was maybe four or five years ago, was "downsizing". I decided to move up my schedule and transition at that job place so I wouldn't have to keep waiting anymore. Since it was very much clear that, at one point or another, I may be declared or made redundant, I started interviews everywhere I could.

"My mom always says to never leave home
without at least eye liner and lip gloss."

The first was with a recruitment and selection agency just some blocks away from where I worked. They were looking for someone with my professional profile and booked me for two weeks from the day we spoke... And I somehow ended up writing it a week from the call instead. I showed up and had a great time. I went through the next 20 interview processes, until one of them looked interesting enough and I made a good impression on them.
Some months later, after many colleagues had quit, I started looking for another job place and landed it quickly! The interview was fantastic and I really felt I was talking to someone mindful, respectful and amazing. I'm currently still working there.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Rebecca: Nothing I wouldn't advise any cisgender person looking for employment:
- Get the company to tell you how much they offer.
- Be natural. It's ok to feel nervous and a good hiring manager, recruiter or HR person will make sure you feel at ease so you can perform your best.
- Feel free to ask questions, you interview them just as much as they interview you.
- Beware of unnecessary or unwanted questions about you and/or your life. You have a right to privacy.
- If you don't feel comfortable with anything during the interview (like a red flag question or remark), feel free to end the interview.
- If the interview process is on the field or requires you to solve work for them, feel free to ask if there will be monetary compensation for the time it takes.
- Stay positive. Even if they reject your candidacy for a job. Ask them for feedback so you can highlight or get those skills you might be missing for the position.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Rebecca: Online mostly. The local LGBTQIA groups I know of have membership fees. I do show up for a March or demonstration. I had joined a professional community to help mentor LGBTQIA professionals with less experience, but I left as soon as I saw Warner Brothers posting jobs for "the Wizarding World''... I found it to be in poor taste that they chose to compromise their product by accepting their money.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Rebecca: An interesting question. Are we talking about our own love? Very much important. Or familial/friendly love? It's healthy to develop a support network of people who care for us. Or partnering/spousal? If you have found a close connection with a person, I think it has to have a special place of importance in your life. Never above your own self, mind you. Feeling loved and loving back someone is very important. Be it closeness to family, a special friend, or a partner.
Above all, feeling love for oneself is important too, as one cannot hope to give others that which hasn't already given themselves. With all this in mind, going out of one's way to find spousal/partnering love is not for me. I don't think this kind of love is an absolute necessity. Going out of one's way to avoid it isn't healthy either though. If the question is about sex, I'm asexual.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Rebecca: Yes, but being transgender may be but a small aspect of the whole story. No spoilers! (wink wink).

"Transition has no mandatory path for anyone
to feel happy and be their true self."

Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Rebecca: Getting vaccinated! I miss meeting with friends in person. In 5 to 7 years? Not sure to be honest. Maybe same as now but with more going out and seeing my family. Wait, healthier too! Yeah!
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Rebecca: That there's no right time, no time table, and no specific or maximum age to transition. What should prevail is that they can do so safely. There's no obligation either to dress, talk, or behave a certain way, no obligatory HRT or operations either. If you love yourself, then live your truth.
Transition has no mandatory path for anyone to feel happy and be their true self. If you really want to go through it, get informed! Talk to your closest planned parenthood, NHS office, or LGBTQIA support group and know all there is to know. Information dispels fears and doubts for many of us. But please never forget: you're doing it for yourself.
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?
Rebecca: We have unlimited potential, indeed, but where we are born can and will limit what we can achieve. More so when society seems increasingly inclined in making things more difficult for all of us outside the white cis-hetero Christian patriarchal normative. While it is important recognizing the importance of your dreams and to fight for them, those of us with even a modicum of privilege should ensure we do what we can so we can achieve change for those who are having a harder struggle than us can also achieve theirs. What good will it be that I reach my dreams if I didn't help others to do so too? Then there's the other part of it: I don't think that the operation table is everyone's goal.
Some of us have medical conditions; some of us don't want to go through an operation. Same goes with HRT. And that's OK. None of that makes anyone any less valid, or any less of what they identify as. There's no "proper way" to be transgender. Also, some of us live in poverty, and/or in countries without social security. Some of us live in places without access to proper lifesaving transgender health care. Some live in areas controlled by bigotry, political or religious conservatism. This is NOT OK. And here is where we could make the most impact. I would like to say instead that our dreams should include helping others achieve theirs and live their truths how they choose.
Monika: Rebecca, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Rebecca: Monika, thank you very much for the opportunity. The pleasure was mine.

All the photos: courtesy of Rebecca Finn.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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