Our National TRUTH Council works to uplift the stories and truths of trans young people throughout the US. In this project, Southwest member Andres nterviewed Deion via Twitter. Meet Maritza!
Introduce yourself! What is your preferred name and pronouns? How old are you? What is the story behind your name?
Maritza (She/Her and They/Them). I am 19 years old.
It involved some research on behindthename.org and I wanted something that was similar to Maria because I wanted a very feminine name and then I stumbled on Maritza and it was based off of the name Maria and it has an interesting edge to it. It also appealed to me because I knew it was harder for people to say.
How do you describe your gender identity and/or expression?
Non-Binary Femme; it means I lean more feminine in terms of gender expression and identity, but I don’t feel like a woman
What is it like to be trans where you are from?
In my hometown, trans and gay people are not talked about. We’re allowed to be there it’s not hostile but no one is allowed to talk about.
What is the relationship between your Latinx identity and trans identity?
Growing up Latinx it was harder to come to terms with my transness because I was raised with very binary ideas of what gender was or what it could be. So coming to terms with my identity was hard because of the ideas I grew up with.
What other identities do you occupy that interact with you trans identity?
I’m bisexual, and I couldn’t come out as bisexual until I came out as trans. I had to learn about internal stuff before I could learn about who I love or date or whatever. Personally i felt that there was more pressure to have the right label for your sexuality than gender, with gender you can identify as whatever you want but with sexuality it’s more pressure to have the ‘right’ label and to know your sexuality than as opposed to knowing your gender.
What has your experience been with navigating trans spaces?
Oftentimes I feel like the only brown face there. White trans people are nice, but like being trans and bisexual and not being white complicates it because I am visibly a person of color and trans so like safety and feeling comfortable being vulnerable in trans spaces is more difficult when I’m the only QTPOC there. Also just interacting with the LGBT+ community as a whole I feel a lot of pressure to be the ‘fashion girl’ or dolled up or dressed a lot more feminine or provocative just so that people can validate me. There’s a point where I don’t mind it, I like putting effort into my aesthetic and the way I look, but there are some days where I do it for necessity if I want to use the women’s bathroom or exist in white LGBT spaces just so I can get validation or attention.
I try to be the loudest one there. I am afraid of being in a space that is supposed to be affirming but have it be majority white so my instinct is to be the loudest person there, to not people talk over me. It causes me to be more aggressive to people when I talk. I also find myself having that issue in non lgbt spaces of color, I try to be the loudest one there because they are only representing and affirming one of my identities.
What is it like to be dating as a trans person?
I didn’t get a first kiss or first sex in high school, and i still haven’t done that shit and it’s so hard because of issues of safety and fetischization stop me from hooking up with whoever I want – especially white men. I already see the fetishing I get from men of color, so I can imagine how much worse it can be with a white man. I know that they want to learn more about my body than me, and it can be a safety risk and I don’t want to put myself in a situation like that.