Q: Introduce yourself: Your name, preferred pronouns, how you identify in the LGBTQ+ community. Feel free to include or exclude whatever information you would like.
Juniper: I’m a trans girl who is bi but going
through a straight phase.
Q: Talk about your fashion. Does it relate to a certain way you identify? Has it changed over the course of your transition?
Right now, I would describe myself as a goth technomancer. I’ve always been attracted to the possibilities biotechnology offers my trans as hell body, and I use some aspects of my style to express those sci-fi android feelings. I’ve always gravitated to wearing black for a few reasons: I can’t shake those goth kid roots, and for a while during my early transition, it helped me feel like I was deflecting from the hypervisibility of being trans because I wanted to feel invisible. As I’ve had years on hormones to redevelop my sense of self and style, I’ve continued to choose black clothing for the freedom it gives me to experiment with form, structure, silhouette, and material. As a result, a lot of my looks involve mesh, leather, chains, buckles, zippers, cloaks, ribbons, bandages, and anything else I can get my hands on. I think my most recognizable piece is the pair of stacked platform combat boots - they’re so useful for visually balancing the form of a look between upper and lower body. That and I love to stomp around in them.
Q: Social media and digital presence have become such a large facet of millennial lifestyle, can you discuss how it has impacted you positively and/or negatively as a trans-identifying individual. How does internet culture/clout relate within the trans-community?
Millennials, especially those in queer circles, would not be the same without the presence of trans women of color on social media. It’s not an accident that from memes to fashion, trans girls are experiencing more visibility than ever before. This has both positive and negative effects: while many of the girls can get their clout and get their tens, it is easier to become objectified by cis people’s desire to consume our aesthetics and culture. I think how we choose to interact with social media is an individual decision. I’ve never been to into gaining a social media following simply because I’m a private person, but that could easily change depending on where life takes me.
Q: To someone who isn’t familiar with the spectrum of the Queer Community, can you talk about what ‘passing’ means ? How do you feel presenting/identifying as a certain gender shapes you and what other people view as ‘transgender’ ?
Passing refers to the idea that trans people are trying to look like either a man or a woman; to pass successfully is to avoid being clocked as trans. Sometimes, cis people assume that a trans person choosing to embrace certain elements of masculinity or femininity means that that person is trying to look like a man or a woman. This assumption is so harmful - not only does it punish trans people who cannot or choose not to pass or align with the visual markers of vanilla genders, (sorry cis ppl! lmao) it reinforces the idea that there are valid and invalid ways to be trans. With that being said, passing isn’t inherently bad - sometimes, passing can prevent violence, make life easier, and even be life saving. Even though i’m definitely THAT tranny, the fact that I pass now and have legal documentation to match means I no longer experience a lot of the violence that is directed at people who are visibly trans. I think it is up to trans people to define their own relationship to passing, and for cis people to listen.