A Day of Visibility: Luna Merbruja Loves Her Self Love

This Thursday, March 31, is Trans Day of Visibility, a day that was created to celebrate the trans people who populate our families, our communities, our lives and our world. Autostraddle is a website for and about queer women, and that will always, always, include queer trans women. In order to highlight just a few of the trans women we love, respect and admire here at Autostraddle, we asked several to take pictures of a day or two in their lives and answer a few questions and we’ll also be featuring several essays related to trans visibility by trans women this week.


Luna Merbruja is absolutely one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. She’s pure magic. She’s pure inspiration. She’s pure beauty. I’ve known her on tumblr for a long, long time, and I was blessed to be able to interview her after reading her incredibly powerful memoir, Trauma Queen. She’s written for us before and also writes for Everyday Feminism as well as performing and speaking across the country. Luna’s pretty much unfairly talented.

She’s, in my honest opinion, one of the five most beautiful women in the world (I’ve thought about this a lot) and I want her to achieve and accomplish and get every wonderful thing she hopes for in life. She’s a non-binary powerhouse who fills the world with the joy and wisdom and love that radiates out of her every time she smiles or writes or speaks. She’s one of the reasons I know that magic and brujeria are real because I can see the magic and power that she emanates.

Luna’s able to write about difficult things in a way that makes you feel better about the difficult things you’ve gone through. Her writing is like an arm around your shoulder that makes you feel less alone when you’re feeling low and lonely. When she’s writing about happiness, you can actually feel the joy that she’s put into the words. I know I’ve already said she’s magic, but she really, really is and her writing is proof of that. I love her writing and I love her.

Still from a Snapchat video at my first surgeon consultation. I was trying on different implant sizes.

Still from a Snapchat video at my first surgeon consultation. I was trying on different implant sizes.

1. What’s your favorite thing about yourself right now? Your second favorite?

My self love is my favorite thing about myself right now. Seeing my sometimes dry, sometimes crusty-eyed face first thing in the morning and automatically thinking, “Damn, you’re beautiful” is a joy I never thought I would experience.

My second favorite thing is my resiliency. I’ve recently come up against life changing struggles that would have utterly crumbled an earlier self. These days, I have the strength to cry and ask for support without falling apart as hard.

I got to see my beloved friends Jani and Joti, who gifted me matcha pocky and taught me to eat chicken and rice with my right hand.

I got to see my beloved friends Jani and Joti, who gifted me matcha pocky and taught me to eat chicken and rice with my right hand.

After my consultation, I made a list of things to prepare for my surgery. Fortunately, mostly everything is covered!

After my consultation, I made a list of things to prepare for my surgery. Fortunately, mostly everything is covered!

2. What songs would be on a 3-5 song playlist describing how you feel today and why?

  1. Warm Blood” by Carly Rae Jepsen because I want to record a vampire music video where I’m stripping on a pole and dancing in the blood of all my most difficult johns.
  2. “Bling Bling” by Junglepussy because “it’s a full-time job fucking loving yourself” and who doesn’t want to be with a bunch of hot girls dancing around and bouncing their titties? (Bonus: getting someone to practice 103 ways to suck on a clit on me.)
  3. Lined Lips and Spiked Bats” by G.L.O.S.S. because “They told us to die! We chose to live!” is by far one of my favorite lines to scream-sing when I’m feeling down.
  4. Bless The Telephone” by Kelis because I’ve had so many wonderful phone calls with beloved family today who aren’t always physically present in my life.
 I went to Taylor Dantanavantanawong's portfolio show and fell in love with his work enough to hire him to design my book covers! The same day, I received my new passport in the mail with my sad girl foto and updated name & gender.

I went to Taylor Dantanavantanawong’s portfolio show and fell in love with his work enough to hire him to design my book covers! The same day, I received my new passport in the mail with my sad girl foto and updated name & gender.

Today was an errand day, where I went with my friend to get some pants hemmed, dropped off a few rolls of film to be developed, picked up surgery meds, and went grocery shopping.

Today was an errand day, where I went with my friend to get some pants hemmed, dropped off a few rolls of film to be developed, picked up surgery meds, and went grocery shopping.

3. What are you unsure about?

I’m unsure about how much I want to share about my physical transition journey. It’s an intensely intimate process that very few people within my friend circle have been a part of, but social media acts as this sort of unveiling in itself.

What I mean is that it’s hard to keep things private, especially surrounding a body because it’s visible, and social media has this pressure to share your face/body to show you’re an actual person doing actual person things.

This uncertainty was my main compromise in sharing that I’m fundraising for chichis. In an ideal world, I could have health insurance that covered this instead of having to pull upon social capital to help me embody myself.

 I'm terribly afraid of what I'll say when I come out of surgery and groggy from anesthesia, so I made a list of topics to distract me with and a list of unacceptable things for me to talk about. I'm sharing this list with my friends as a guideline for my post-op care.

I’m terribly afraid of what I’ll say when I come out of surgery and groggy from anesthesia, so I made a list of topics to distract me with and a list of unacceptable things for me to talk about. I’m sharing this list with my friends as a guideline for my post-op care.

 I developed some fotos I took from January-February 2016 on those point-and-shoot cameras you can buy at drug stores. The top left is a shot of the snow from the back of a train on my way to Ottawa from Toronto. The bottom right foto is a wonky shot of my bedroom wall. The top right is me lying down on a red scarf and an inch or so of snow in Ottawa. The middle right foto is me with Nia King at her anti-Valentine's Day party where we watched Medicine for Melancholy with Lexi Adsit. The bottom right foto is me making my first snow angel in Ottawa.

I developed some fotos I took from January-February 2016 on those point-and-shoot cameras you can buy at drug stores. The top left is a shot of the snow from the back of a train on my way to Ottawa from Toronto. The bottom left foto is a wonky shot of my bedroom wall. The top right is me lying down on a red scarf and an inch or so of snow in Ottawa. The middle right foto is me with Nia King at her anti-Valentine’s Day party where we watched Medicine for Melancholy with Lexi Adsit. The bottom right foto is me making my first snow angel in Ottawa.

4. What and who is inspiring you right now?

Lately I’ve been inspired by Kai Cheng Thom to pursue sharing harsher truths, Katherine Cross to turn a piece of my narrative into a Twine game, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha to finish editing my memoir Trauma Queen before the end of this year.

I'm currently editing a post-op playlist of songs that I love to sing and/or are about chichis. Unfortunately, not many songs are dedicated to boobs in a non-gross way BUT I'm dedicated to singing during recovery regardless.

I’m currently editing a post-op playlist of songs that I love to sing and/or are about chichis. Unfortunately, not many songs are dedicated to boobs in a non-gross way BUT I’m dedicated to singing during recovery regardless.


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Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 575 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I’m really loving these interviews with wonderful trans women writers, Mey. Thank you for this highlight on Luna and a peek into her life; I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s!

    Wishing you luck on your surgery, Luna; I hope it goes well and that your recovery is speedy. The To Write/ Do Not Write about list is genius! I wish i’d done something similar. They tell you not to make any big or important decisions or have any of those discussions in the days following anesthesia, but I took it lightly. It’s one of those things where I didn’t realize how much it had affected me until I was out of that period.

    Thanks to Luna, I’m now obsessed with reading all of Kai Cheng Thom’s writing as well. This one in particular, (http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/social-justice-less-elitist/) really spoke to me.

    Also… eating chicken and rice with your right hand? What does this mean?! Teach me please!!

  2. I LOVELOVELOVE that you put together guidelines for post-op care! I’ve had lots of surgeries over the last couple of years and getting home and settled afterward is SO much better when caretakers and I aren’t talking about stuff that makes you go blahhhhhhh noooo not now!

  3. Luna! I know I already complimented you a lot in the intro to this, but also I love your answers and pictures so much!!! I love your list of things to talk about! Naruto, Pokemon, Eels, it’s so great!

  4. I love your playlist choices, Luna! Also, and I mean this in the most respectful way, I agree with Mey that you’re one of the five most beautiful women in the world. I’m having femme envy feelings about how perfect your eyebrows are in every pic.

    Thanks for all the work you do, the personal and the political and the place where those worlds meld and meet. I loved your AS piece “So You Can Fuck Us.”

    Thanks for this awesome interview series, Mey!

  5. Luna, your winged eyeliner skills are mad impressive, as is basically everything else about you. Singing about chichis sounds like just about the best way I can imagine recovering from ANYTHING.

  6. I was super stoked to see this today! I bought one of Luna’s preview chapbooks for Heal Your Love and I’m so twitterpated with it.

    Thank you Luna, for sharing. I can also see the magic and power that Mey said you emanate. <333

  7. i love this so much — thank you endlessly, Luna and Mey! seeing other people’s lists/notebook pages is one of my favorite things; it’s so intimate and specific. thank you for allowing us to see these parts of your life, Luna; it means so much.

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