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.
A: Hi my name is Valentine, she/her/hers, you know, trans woman, a little bit bisexy ;) I study gender studies, planning on double concentrating with Visual Studies. I from Long beach California, I dance, I’m known to model a little now , you know. That’s not it… but thats most of it.
Q: Can you talk about your thoughts on the 'coming out' process, whether that be coming out to yourself or to the people around you. Do you agree/disagree this should be something Queer-identifying people should engage in? Is this something you did yourself?
A: "See, I definitely did, in a very - it was melodramatic for me. I was sitting in my hotel room in Providence, visited campus, came back, it was like 9 o'clock at night. I typed up my little sh*t, got my little post together on Instagram, deleted all my pictures, and then I was just like…. Uuuuuuuuuhhhh -POST! And then I literally turned off my notifications for Instagram. And I told my friend, I was like, ‘okay I posted it it, make sure no one comments anything mean’ and I put my phone down. And I was so shook and I was so scared and [my friend] was going out that night but she was literally crying because she was just like ‘I'm so proud of you and everyone is commenting so many nice things’ and yeah I literally just got….support. I feel so happy, all my friends here really just love me. Like ‘aaww’ like ‘stop’ but like ‘don’t stop’. [...] In general, I feel like not everyone, you know, has the aptitude to come out. Like, put yourself out there, But it's definitely on an individual basis. As a concept? No. like f*ck that. Like honestly I'm so tired, -cis-normativity, heteronormativity, hate it - wish it didn’t exist. [...] but coming out allowed me to do everything that I wanted to do, with no explanation"
Q: Talk about your fashion. Does it relate to a certain way you identify? Has it changed over the course of your transition?
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?
A: "I feel like my look is still definitely a crop top and bottoms. I cut this one pair of shorts for a club party and I was like “b*tch I’m gonna have my ass out, why not??” It grew a little, I’m looking good, hairs long. I know at first I wanted to wear crop tops because I knew I would look good in it. I knew that I liked the look of crop tops and that I would feel good in it, because I have a body that is thin and traditionally considered feminine and acceptable in society, so I was like “werk, that’s what I’m gonna do” - be a skinny legend.
I guess my sense of fashion is very streetwear-esque. It's like, when you’re from LA, you can wear things just like stomach out because it’s hot as f*ck. When I’m home it's eighty degrees, in December -love it. I’m definitely influenced by where I’m from, but I also get a lot of my clothes online, from Instagram boutiques ect."
A: "Ugh, tea. One of my firends from tumblr, named I.V. Fischer, I love her. She's this beautiful, gorgeous trans-woman, like a year older than me, she's doing the Instagram thing in Atlanta, you know, getting clout -getting her stacks up. And I definitely notice now that I’m taking more photos and doing the same thing and getting more followers but the whole Instagram and media-clout thing definitely reinforces standards of femininity that trans women have to subscribe themselves to in order to make it in the modeling world and get big. I feel like all queer artists too - like there are queer artists who have a specific look and then they are popular because of it, but then people will say, that’s enough. Like we love it, but one’s enough, no more. I see myself becoming successful as a trans woman because of the way I do present but it is still the stuff that I like. [...] I was looking back at an older picture, like the way that my face has been changing, I took my California State ID picture and like, that bitch? I don’t know her. That’s from May, my face looks so different. [...] But when we do base all of our clout in cis-normativity then it does make it harder for people who don’t want to follow that structure to be famous if they want to or exist if they want to because people will always be questioning them, they will be like, 'oh well this tranwoman that I know … like are you really a transwoman because all the transwomen I know are like face beat down, they’re gorgeous, etc so you need to step it up, honey' "
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’ ?
A: "Passing is like the closer you are to a cisgender look and presentation, like if someone sees you on the street and is like 'oh that's x, y, z-gender you’re presenting' -then your passing. Passing is also very interesting because it’s like, if you’re out, and you’re passing, people will still try to make up x, y, z and be like that “b*tch looks like a man!” knowing damn well-
Tinder, like they’ll match with you, hit you up but then they find out whatever and are like so you actually look like duhduhdah, like, mood. [...] I feel like the way I present is creative, it's like, you know, women's clothing, woman.
It depends on the person. I’m like, 'I don’t give a f*ck if you think I’m passing or not' like, I’m living my life. Just a lot of cis-thoughts surrounding trans people are just like, they just wont let is live like they don't want us to live if we’re being honest and that’s why there's this policing of our bodies and presentation, where we can go, what we can do. etc."
Q: Can you discuss the intersectionality within your own trans narrative?
A: A: "Yeah, being black and trans definitely not talked about enough, if at all, except for the fact that we get murdered, and that's even like, maybe we’ll get mentioned. But I feel like in order of trans narratives, with black trans women at least, we are in the foreground for equal rights for trans people, so much about black trans culture has become ingrained in all of LGBTQ culture now. Also, not being heterosexual, because when you come out as a trans woman, you’re definitely expected to be attracted to men, solely. It's like, 'you’re a woman, so you like men' like there’s still that compulsory heterosexuality. For trans women who come out, they are pigeonholed into liking men. Trans people's sexualities are so scrutinized. [...] An intersection I want to mention is definitely going to an Ivy League school, like that's something not a lot of people, trans people, do. There was a Black appreciation dinner, I think I was the only trans woman. I didn’t feel uncomfortable, per say, there, like, no one made me feel uncomfortable. But when I am uncomfortable in Black spaces it's because of men, black men. That impending violence because [trans women] are murdered from within the black community and it's just like… ugh! But when I’m back home it's a different environment. It's no longer academia, people aren't educated necessarily about pronouns, etc. We need to learn a lot about these different identities from elementary- first and second grade- because people live like this. When you’re ingrained with ignorance and bigotry growing up and they don't learn anything otherwise, they can become dangerous and violent to people with other identities different then theirs.
The [cis] people that look the f*cking worst stay coming for people that look different! Like, I look different but I look better. It’s like work on your own look before dragging someone else’s. Transphobic cis people are very uncomfortable in their own skin and their own identity and what they’re doing, that, they’re really just fixated on you and I’m just like, 'do you own a mirror? Because I do.' I LOVE what’s going on here. I’ve cultivated it, I’ve sat with myself and talked. Like, I can tell some people do not sit with themselves, someone who’s truly comfortable with themself is not worried about what I’m doing."