StyleCrush: Trans Activist Juniper Cordova-Goff
Blogger and QTPOC rights activist Juniper Cordova-Goff may be young, but she is not new to the scene. “There is power to a brown trans femme finding her voice,” Cordova-Goff says on her website.
Name: Juniper Xiomara Cordova-Goff
Location: Berkeley, CA
Where did you grow up: El Monte/Azusa, CA
Blog/Brand: juniperxiomara.com (coming soon!)
Where can we find you on the web? Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Wear Your Voice: How do you describe your style? What informs it?
Juniper Cordova-Goff: I want little kids and old people to stay confused. Also, I need to be comfortable. I’m not here for things I can’t breathe in. But my style has truly been through my whole evolution. I know that for so many years, my style was goal-oriented, always wanting to conform. When I thought I was a boy, I portrayed what society expected. When I came out as a transgender girl, I conformed to what society expected. For the past few years, my style (thank goodness and thank radical femme role models) has been relaxed, willing and WANTING to explore. My style is a femme meets non-femme meets brown radical chingona meets classy uptown girl meets weekend night out meets weekend next day hangover comfortable meets me, Juniper. My style is me and is ready to change and transform once it is no longer “me.”
WYV: What inspires your work?
JCG: I plan to debut my blog on my 20th birthday, October 4. Really the reason I even considered starting a blog is deeply rooted in the continued silencing of folks like me — brown, trans, femme, nonbinary, queer, poor, young, etc. I know organizations who fight for social justice are beginning to slowly include our voices, but I want to do it on my own terms. My voice has always been the one tool this system can never take, along with my education. Like my mother has always said, chingonas have a lot to say, so say it.
WYV: Who are your three top StyleCrushes?
JCG: Frida Frida and Frida! Also, my mother circa 2008 and myself. Can I say “myself?”
WYV: Where do you shop? What are your favorite brands/designers?
JCG: Target — hey, how about that big shopping spree for a shout out, @Target? But seriously, I really do appreciate the Target in my town because it’s the one place I feel comfortable shopping for my clothes, throughout all sections of the store. As a transgender person who refused to conform to any binaries, it can be really hard to shop comfortably in public. It can also be dangerous. Add in the fact that my body oftentimes struggles finding femme clothes that fit, shopping is a real challenge. For these reasons, once I find a store, I hang on for dear life. This is what Target (in Azusa, California) has been for me.
WYV: How can the media better address trans issues?
JCG: In order for the media to better address trans issues, the media needs to take a seat and hand the mic to trans people. There really is no longer an excuse for transgender people to NOT be at the forefront of any segment addressing our community’s issues. Talented folks have proven we can survive and thrive *cough Laverne cough* on the silver screen, so it is time we are given the opportunity.
WYV: How can fashion be a radical political statement?
JCG: I believe that any person who was assigned male at birth makes a bold, political move when they place anything society has deemed not fit for them onto their bodies. Because of the toxic mix of patriarchy and fragile masculinity in our society, the act of feminizing someone’s wardrobe spits in the face of everything we’ve been taught, of every lesson that being a womxn is inherently weak. My heels are a political statement and also the perfect tool to smash haters in my path.
WYV: How can the body-positive movement be more inclusive of transgender folks?
JCG: I feel that the body positive movement can be more inclusive of transgender folks by intentionally removing all conditions and terms to ally-ship. Non-trans body-positive folks cannot say, “we support trans people and trans bodies and trans wardrobes — unless they look like a man in a dress.” First off, men in dresses should not be an issue. Second, claiming that people who do not identify as men still look like men is an act of violence. The body-positive movement needs to validate trans folks’ constant struggle with body image that has been directly placed on our community by hateful, ignorant non-trans #haterz. We need to actively combat this in our activism.
WYV: What do you hope to change in the world?
JCG: Like Princess Diana, I hope to lead by the heart, not the head. I know as a political science major at UC Berkeley, admitting I will not lead by the head is risky for my political future. But it is true. I hope to lead by compassion, by experience and by love for people, especially my own people.
WYV: How do you wear your voice?
JCG: I wear my voice by never doubting myself why I answer “What do you want to be when you grow up.” (P.S. The answer is President of the United States, 2032.)