Real Talk: Normalizing the Trans Community with Casil McArthur
Foxxtales sat down with model, Casil McArthur, to gain perspective and insight into his life as a transgender model. Casil is quickly making a name for himself in the LGBTQ community; as well as, the modeling world. Casil recently was featured in GAP's #BridgingTheGap campaign and has walked the runway for big name designers, like Marc Jacobs. His eloquence, poise and confidence has allowed him to break down stigmas and educate others about the trans community.
Foxxtales: To be honest, you’re the first trans person that I’ve ever met. I think you speak so eloquently and passionately. Do you think you could walk us through your transition journey?
CA: When I was 13, I had met up with some really good friends - who ended up being some of my best friends - and they introduced me to something called, “cosplaying.” Cosplaying is when you dress up, like anime characters or characters from cartoons, and portray them. That was the first environment that I’d ever been in (that wasn’t a work environment) where I got to dress up and really be who I wanted to be. I started cosplaying male characters because I liked the masculinity of it and I liked people calling me “he.” When you’re a cosplay character, people will refer to you as the gender of the character, not what they think your birth gender is. So, I was in an environment where I was being called “he.” Encountering things like that really caused a shift in myself and how I saw myself because I felt way better when people referred to me with male pronouns. It made me feel so much better about myself. [There is a something specific] that sparked my “Oh!” moment though. I was at Starfest and I was cosplaying Dave Strider from Homestuck. This lady came up to us and she was complimenting us. But, she was deaf and she couldn’t hear my voice. She couldn’t hear that my voice was feminine. When my friend called me “Dave”, she was like, “Oh my god, you’re a guy?! You’re the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.” That was the most heartfelt compliment that I’ve ever received. That was literally what I was looking for. I’ve always wanted to be a beautiful guy, not a beautiful woman.
Foxxtales: Once you had your “Oh!” moment, could you look back on your childhood and see signs of gender dysphoria?
CA: I definitely showed signs of gender dysphoria as a child, without it being picked up. I just don’t think I ever picked up on it because modeling is such a weird and fluid environment. It just didn’t matter. The only time it started effecting me is when it interfered with my real life.
Foxxtales: So now that you’re a part of this LGBTQ community, how you would like to see societal attitudes towards the LGBTQ community change? Where is there room for growth still?
CA: There was a Facebook post asking, “Should Trans People Tell You That They’re Trans Gender Before You’re In A Relationship With Them?” In my opinion, theoretically no. First off, if you’re thinking about dating somebody, you’re probably already to the point where you’ve talked about that.
[For example,] let’s say: a trans woman has had a bottom surgery for 5 or 10 years. Foxxtales: A “bottom surgery” refers to gender reassignment surgery. Now, she’s ready to be in a relationship. Her body has healed and she’s ready to go. I don’t think she’s in any position to have to tell anybody that she’s trans. But a lot of men (and a lot of people in general) think she has to say something. [A lot of men have said to me] that if she was trans, they would beat her up. This is such a common thing for guys. [For them], the thought of transgender people being a part of a relationship [feels like] infiltration. If you’re going to be in a relationship with somebody, I don’t feel like you need to out yourself because that conversation should have already happened. If that conversation hasn’t come up, it probably means you aren’t comfortable with them and this person shouldn’t be your partner. As far as one night stands go, if you’re a trans person that hasn’t had [gender reassignment surgery] yet, there is such thing as genital preference. Genital preference is not transphobic, no matter how you look at it. What is transphobic is how you act about it. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand and don’t know how to differentiate.
I would like society to get to a place where trans people are normalized, especially in relationships. It’s so weird. People think we’re threatening them, then they attack us. We’re just living our lives; but then, we’re also being attacked for how we want to live.
Obviously with how things are going, I think in like 3-5 years, it will be way better. There’s so many people coming out now with gender fluidity. Trans is an umbrella term that includes so many things that are not just male or female. There is no normal gender binary in the trans community. Everything’s accepted.
Foxxtales: Do you think it’s about spreading awareness and knowledge about the LGBTQ community? I realized that you’re actually the first trans person that I’ve ever met. So just by talking to you, I've learned so much more. Is it a matter of people being more exposed to it?
CA: Obviously, there’s always room for learning. Nothing is going to change without that.
When trans people do runway shows or magazine covers, it’s news. It shouldn’t have to be news. But, it’s good that it is because people can be exposed to it. Then, they see another article and they’re like, “Ah!” Then, they’re like “Hm…I’m over this.” There’s no surprise factor here. This is normal. You have to feed people’s curiosity to the point that their curiosity is full. Once it’s full, they don’t care. They’ve learned everything they need to know and you can live in peace. So, it’s a duty for trans people in media right now to carry the burden of a “trans” label, before their name or before their gender. [This is not ideal for us though.] When you’re trans, all you want in life is to blend in as a cis-gender person. Foxxtales: Cis-gender person is a person who identifies with their birth sex.
CF: More of a definition, what does it mean to live authentically? Either as trans or for anyone.
CA: I think that, transgender or not, everybody goes through a point in their life where they need to transition into the person they need to be. To become that person, you have to sacrifice a lot and you have to do a lot of scary things to get over that hump. Once you’re over that hump, you can do anything and nothing stops you from [living life] in the way that you want to express yourself.
CA: It’s really important to live your life free. I don’t know if reincarnation exists. I don’t know what God exists. I don’t know whats happen when you die. What I do know: I am living this life and, eventually, I will die. So this one opportunity that I have to live, I want to live it to its fullest. I want to be the happiest with myself and the most at peace with myself. I want people to do that same. It’s really important to be happy with who you are. At the end of the day, the person that you’re going to bed with is yourself. If you’re unhappy with that person, are you going to sleep comfortably at night? Are you going to get up the next day and feel happy about it? Something as little and rip-able as clothing should not hold you back.
Foxxtales wants to thank Casil McArthur for contributing to our community!
If you want to keep in touch with Casil, follow him on Instagram @dreads_of_a_mink