A Day of Visibility: Mey Rude Feels Lucky to Call Trans Women Her Community

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.

Here's the receipt from my latest therapy session. I've been going once a week since January, and it's been incredibly helpful and really honestly life altering. I'm so, so glad that I finally made the decision to find a therapist.

Here’s the receipt from my latest therapy session. I’ve been going once a week since January, and it’s been incredibly helpful and really honestly life altering. I’m so, so glad that I finally made the decision to find a therapist.

I love my cat Sawyer. She's wonderful and selfish and fat and she's never done anything wrong in her entire cat life.

I love my cat Sawyer. She’s wonderful and selfish and fat and she’s never done anything wrong in her entire cat life.

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. MacbethRomeo and JulietTwelfth NightA Midsummer Night’s Dream and for the purposes of this question, especially As You Like ItAs 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.

IMG_2211

This is the outside of my house, yeah, I’ve still got Christmas lights up. I’ve been volunteering for the Hillary for Idaho campaign a lot lately, making phone calls and canvassing door to door, asking people to come to the caucus and vote for her. I was quiet about my support for Hillary for a long time, but after Bernie joked in a debate about the Republican Debates being proof that we need better mental health care in the US, I started speaking up.

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.

I took this picture of two llamas lying down when I was out knocking on doors asking Democrats to come caucus for Hillary. There are a lot of farms in lots of parts of the town where I live and sometimes you luck out and run into a llama farm like this one.

I took this picture of two llamas lying down when I was out knocking on doors asking Democrats to come caucus for Hillary. There are a lot of farms in lots of parts of the town where I live and sometimes you luck out and run into a llama farm like this one.

This is from when I first got to the caucus. We got there around 4pm and got home after 11 that night. It was an incredibly fun, but tiring day.

This is from when I first got to the caucus. We got there around 4pm and got home after 11 that night. It was an incredibly fun, but tiring day.

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.

I wanted to get all cute for the caucus, so I wore my favorite blue dress, my red boots and this cute blazer. But as soon as the room got packed with 1,500 excited Idaho Democrats it got hot, so I took the blazer off.

I wanted to get all cute for the caucus, so I wore my favorite blue dress, my red boots and this cute blazer. But as soon as the room got packed with 1,500 excited Idaho Democrats it got hot, so I took the blazer off.

Just to give everyone an idea of how packed the caucus was. It was loud and fun and electric and it was great to see this many Democrats be passionately involved in such a Red State.

Just to give everyone an idea of how packed the caucus was. It was loud and fun and electric and it was great to see this many Democrats be passionately involved in such a Red State.

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?

Here's me wearing my sticker and nametag at the caucus. I spent almost the entire day at the caucus and canvassing for Hillary on this day.

Here’s me wearing my sticker and nametag at the caucus. I spent almost the entire day at the caucus and canvassing for Hillary on this day.

When I volunteered at the Idaho Caucus for Hillary I got this cool sticker and name tag. It was honestly one of the best nights of my life and I'm going to cherish that memory for a long, long time.

When I volunteered at the Idaho Caucus for Hillary I got this cool sticker and name tag. It was honestly one of the best nights of my life and I’m going to cherish that memory for a long, long time.

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 574 articles for us.

27 Comments

  1. 1. KITTTYYYY

    2. Is it terrible that your open support of Clinton made me immediately nervous for you and the comments section? That’s not because of Autostraddle! I’ve just had a fear response conditioned in me by my Facebook feed. It’s filled to the brim with Sanders supporters who will not hesitate to attack any Clinton supporters they see. Not all Sanders supporters, obviously–there wouldn’t be so many in my feed if a lot of them weren’t lovely people–but enough that Clinton’s logos are starting to become synonymous in my mind with the bat-signal for assholes.

    3. I’m so glad you’re here at Autostraddle, Mey! This site wouldn’t be the same without you.

    • 2. Funny, that is exactly what I’ve experienced with Clinton supporters. They seem to come out of the woodwork to police my “tone” whenever I mention the need to support Sanders, end the oligarchs’ ownership of the political class, or even solve basic and desperate working class realities. They also seem to like invoking Clinton’s womanhood as a reason I “must” vote for her, as if I would vote based on such superficialities instead of actual policy priorities and political history. I never understood that line.

      If Autostraddle are going to come out in support of HRC, that is fine. But they should be prepared to face rigorous challenge to that stand, and for very good reasons. Whatever the candidate, casting political support as just another “you do you” aesthetic flavour, all while pitching that candidate, is either dishonest or naive. Especially given the imminent crises the world faces now, people will and should debate without cries of martyrdom and “attack”, should they be called on it.

    • It’s entirely possible that this level of antagonism between members of one party during a primary season is NORMAL and I’m just clueless and 24

      (guyz i was not paying attention to Real News in 2007/2008. Not At All)

      But I find it so WORRISOME because I’m afraid the disgruntled from both sides of the Democratic Camp will be TOO DISGRUNTLED TO VOTE EN MASS come general election time

      I’ve seen so many “I’d never vote for Hillary” type posts and like??

      So you’d rather TACITLY VOTE FOR PROBABLY TED CRUZ??

      (I will however say that if the sky turns green and upside down and Kasich somehow comes in from behind and gets the nomination I will be just too tickled by the insanity of it all to even care anymore)

        • it was really intense, yeah, the clinton/obama primary. however facebook was VERY young at the time. I think I’d just joined it the year before and maybe checked it once a week, if that. it wasn’t what it is now, which is very much a place for people to share articles and talk about them. facebook has amped up the debate big time and also made it very public, we’re not having these fights in emails or at dinner, but out in front of everybody.

          also just a reminder, re:brighid’s comment, that any given writer’s endorsement of any candidate represents only their views, not the Official View of Autostraddle. b/c there is no official view of autostraddle. <3

          • Oh man, 2008 was before my parents joined

            But only just

            And it was all downhill from there

            Changing my name was the best excuse to delete my profile and start over anew, sans most of my adult family members

      • I’m hopeful, because I don’t get the impression that Bernie loathes Hillary the way many of his supporters do. He doesn’t want to see Donald Trump become president anymore than I do, and will likely encouarge his supporters to vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination (while continuing to put political pressure on her to adopt more progressive policies).

        I’m voting for Bernie in the primaries because his views are substantially more similar to mine, but I will enthusiastically cast my vote for Hillary in the general election if she’s nominiated. I don’t know why any Democrat and/or socialist would want to help Trump or Cruz get elected by staying home.

        Also – thank you for this amazing peice Mey! Your work is consistently wonderful and moving.

  2. 1. This is wonderful! You are wonderful!

    2. A $10 copayment makes me wonder what insurance you have which has led to me to wonder how many Autostraddle writers get insurance from other jobs, from partner’s jobs, or from the Obamacare exchanges. (Do any of you use the exchanges?) (Are any of you uninsured?) (These are maybe weirdly personal questions that I don’t expect answers to!) (Also yay therapy!)

    3. The way open support of Hillary on the queer/progressive internet tends to draw angry trolls also makes me nervous but I have faith in Autostraddle. I’m glad volunteering for her campaign was such a good experience for you!

    (Side note: This reminds me about the piece that I would to see some site do- a piece that entirely consists of Bernie and Hillary supporters saying nice things about the other candidate. I think the internet needs it! Especially since it’s getting to be time to focus on the general.)

    • I love your side note idea! I’m staunchly pro-Clinton and yet I respect those who are voting for Sanders. I’ve been seeing so much Hillarysplainin’ and Sandersplainin’—like if you just THOUGHT about it, you’d support their preferred candidate—and it’s so gross. I don’t think people are voting for Sanders because they’re bros or too young to understand why Sanders can’t be elected or whatever dismissive thing those voting for him are told, just like I’m not voting for Hillary because she’s a woman, I can’t even with that shit.

      I don’t remember this kind of toxicity at all in the ’08 election, but I’m sure I was less aware eight years ago.

      All that being said, Mey, I have so much respect for you and love your writing so I’m pretty psyched to hear you support Clinton 🙂

  3. Mey! I’d totally date Viola from twelfth night – so I totally feel the Rosalind thing. I’m just more into Shakespearian women who are like “I left no ring with her, what means this lady?” clueless of how hot they are all soft butched up.

  4. Mey, your cat’s nose looks just like a heart ^..^<

    I still have my inside Christmas lights up. Even though the days are getting longer I still like to turn them on when it gets dark. It brightens up my spirit!

    I didn't know you lived in Idaho! In 2009 when I drove up to Alaska (where I live now) it was my first time ever in Idaho. It was the only state I was passing through that I had never heard anything about. I was blown away by it's beauty. I couldn't believe it! I figure if everyone knew how beautiful it was then we would all be living there.

    And don't feel like you need to be in the closet about being a Clinton supporter. You should be loud and proud about all the reasons why you support whoever you are supporting. The important thing is that you care enough to get involved in the political process and not just stand on the sidelines and criticize. Way to go!

  5. Thanks so much for being here, Mey! You were the first person from AS I interacted with online, and I’m grateful that you’re here, doing the important work–and never forget how important it is–that you do. You’re an amazing person and writer, and please don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. The world needs more people like you! 🙂

  6. Mey, I hardly ever write comments, but I feel compelled to respond to your sincere expression of your inner fears as a writer. Oh my goodness, I don’t think you recognize how powerful a force you are as a writer and person! As I tell the young children I work with: “Practice makes better”. If you choose to keep writing I am 100% certain you will continue to grow and succeed. Congratulations on living your dreams in this moment. There will be new dreams. And new passions. Take care of your spirit, dream big and please keep writing. Thank you for all your hard work and for making a difference. Namaste.

  7. Hi, Mey. This post reminded me of something I wanted to write. You mentioned your first submitted piece about being fat and trans. As a fellow fat trans woman, I started reading your Tumblr posts dating to back when you were just starting to come out to friends. I had always hated my body enormously, and felt like there was this huge conflict between being fat and being trans, like it just wasn’t ok for me to transition if I didn’t look like all the thinner trans women I was more used to seeing in the media. Your writing was the first I had encountered by a fat trans woman, and it was a big part of helping me come to terms with being me and be able to start developing a more positive relationship with my body.

    So I just wanted to say thanks. It’s meant the world to me to have positive role models, and you’ve definitely been one of mine, especially back then when I really needed one the most.

    • Oh wow! This is so kind and wonderful! I’m so glad that I could help you! This honestly means so, so, so much to me! Wow, like, this is really truly wonderful and I’m so happy for you!

  8. First of all, Mey your cat is adorable. Also, I love the questions that everyone chose to ask you! Such interesting, meaningful questions. Wow.

    I’m at a point in my career–starting a new one–that makes me have alot of the same feelings you are having about being a writer. If you don’t let those feelings hold you back, neither will I!

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