This Thursday, March 31, is Trans Day of Visibility, a day that was created to celebrate the trans people who are alive and making themselves known in the 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 their day-to-day lives and answer a few questions. We’ll also be featuring several essays related to trans visibility by trans women this week.
The first time I ever wrote for Autostraddle and the first time I was published on Autostraddle were actually two different times. Back in the beginning of 2013, I was a fan and avid reader of Autostraddle, one of the very, very few queer women’s websites that made me feel like I was welcome. Then, I saw them put out a call for pieces written by queer trans women, a call they titled TransScribe. I had submitted an essay, but before I heard back about it, I got an email asking if I wanted to write a companion piece to an essay by a cis woman who had been called trnny. I assumed that the editors liked me, they just didn’t like my essay. Then a few days later, I got another email saying that my essay, about being fat and trans, was also accepted and going to be published. Ever since then, Autostraddle has been my home.
I’ve met some of my best and closest friends through working for Autostraddle. I’ve found a community. I’m able to let my voice be heard and my face be seen. Before I came out I was scared to be myself, to speak out loud, to be seen and noticed. Now, I’m more visible than ever, and that’s in large part thanks to the support, help, guidance and love I get from my Autostraddle family.
All pictures are by me and I had the other trans women contributing to Autostraddle this week each ask me a question.
Luna Merbruja: If you could take a literary character on a date, who would it be and what would you do?
Oooh, this is a tough question, but I think I’ve been able to come up with an answer I’m happy with. Okay, so I love Shakespeare. Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and for the purposes of this question, especially As You Like It. As You Like It‘s heroine Rosalind is clever, witty, romantic, brave and she has a sharp tongue. Plus she comes with the bonus of being able to pull off a super hot soft butch aesthetic. As for what we’d do, I’d like to take advantage of her skills at picking out a sweet wardrobe. First we’d go shopping, and we’d pick out really killer outfits, trying on different looks for each other and making jokes and coming up with really good compliments. Then, she’d take me to a Carly Rae Jepsen concert, where we’d wear the new outfits we bought, of course, and we’d dance and smile and sing and fill up on energy and joy before heading back to her place.
Devan Diaz: When the day is finished and you’re in bed, what are the thoughts that comfort you? Where do you allow your mind to go in the final moments before falling asleep?
Really, there are three things that comfort me when I’m lying in bed at night, especially after days that are harder than usual. First, I think of my friends. I think of Heather and Stef and Richell and Shan and so many others who make my life better in innumerable ways. I also think of how many dreams I’m accomplishing. For as tough and scary and lonely my life is, I’m also doing things I used to only dream of. I’m a writer, I’m working in comics, I’ve got friends who love me for who I am, I get to actually live as the woman that I am. It’s pretty amazing. I also think about music that I love, specifically music by Rebecca Sugar, her songs, and the shows they come from comfort me and calm me so much and just put my heart at ease. Specifically the song “Everything Stays” from Adventure Time. That song comforts me unlike anything else in the world.
Gabrielle Bellot: Is there something you particularly fear today, something you keep thinking about? Is there something always on your mind when you go out, a thought that always follows you?
I’m afraid that I’ll never move beyond the level of writer that I am today. I already said that the things I’ve accomplished and where my life is now bring me comfort, but lately I’ve been stressing out about it. I’m working on several projects right now, but I’ve run into problems with a few of them and it’s really discouraging me. It’s making me feel like this is the high point of my career and that I won’t ever be able to do better than this. Like, I’m definitely very proud of where I am today with my writing and my career, but also I feel like I could do better. And I’m afraid that I might be holding myself back, that the only reason I’m not further along or better at writing or just in a place I’d feel more comfortable is that I’m simply not good enough to do better and to be better. I really hope all of this isn’t true, but it’s been something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and its something that’s been keeping me from feeling confident in any of my work.
Jen Richards: What are some of the special, positive experiences or moments you have that wouldn’t have happened were you not trans?
I think about this all the time. I think all the time about how lucky I am to be able to call trans women my sisters and elders and family and community. I love that I’ve been able to meet trans women both online and in person who have shaped me into the person I am today. Like, honestly, trans women are the absolute best. I love that I’ve been able to meet and befriend many trans women, whether those are close friendships, professional relationships or even just being able to meet and interview actual true life heroes and legends. Like, I got to interview Miss Major! That’s amazing! And I’ve been able to meet all the trans women who asked me questions here! I feel like every single trans woman of color I know is gorgeous and beautiful and so knowing that I’m one of them, that I’m a part of that community makes me feel infinitely more beautiful than I’ve ever felt in my life. I think about how I feel about myself a lot, and I have no idea how I’d feel about myself if I were cis, but because I’m trans and because I’ve learned from and with other trans women, I have a very special and specific kind of love for myself. If these amazing trans women are together with me, if I’m a part of them, how can I not be incredible?