Pretty in Palms
Upon meeting 28-year-old Sergio Nuñez Cordero, one is immediately struck by how beautifully handsome he is. It made it easier to understand the turns his life took at such a young age. One can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him to realize he was a cross-dresser in this small Baja town.
MM: Sergio, when did you first understand you enjoyed wearing women’s clothes?
SNC: I knew since I was a little kid that I was different. I was cute. When I turned 15, I started going out in public. I didn’t care. I just decided to do it. I felt that if God knows, then the whole world should know.
MM: Oh my, how brave you were! How do you think of yourself… as a transsexual, transvestite, transgender? Are you gay?
SNC: I see myself just as a regular person, only with different preferences. I am gay, but not treated like the other gays here.
MM: Are you saying you are not part of the gay community here in Todos Santos?
SNC: The gay community doesn’t accept me here. I think they are jealous because I do whatever I want.
MM: So where do you go to connect with other people like yourself?
SNC: I only go to La Paz.
MM: Do you ever use the Internet to look for support groups?
SNC: Never. I don’t like to go through a screen.
MM: You seem very strong and grounded. Were your parents very understanding? Did they take you for counseling?
SNC: I’ve never had counseling. I always was sure. But I did have lots of problems, especially with my dad. Huge problems. I tried to commit suicide even. I was in a La Paz hospital and my dad came to visit me. He didn’t like my partner, who was older. We actually just broke up three months ago. He lives here. I have nothing to hide.
MM: I appreciate that you are so open. Tell me about the work you do.
SNC: I consider myself an artist. I trim palm trees and do palm work like palapas. I like to do rustic decoration with rock and landscaping. I also am very involved with Grupo Tortuguero, protecting sea turtles and collecting their eggs.
MM: That group does wonderful work. So what do you do to have fun around here?
SNC: I don’t like to go out here. I stay home and read or draw, or just relax. I go out to dinner.
MM: When you go out, do you get all dolled up in heels and everything?
SNC: It depends on the occasion, whether it’s formal or disco. I never wear heels. I don’t really feel like me in them. I never want to compete with a woman. It doesn’t feel comfortable. When I wear just a t-shirt, people wonder what’s wrong.
MM: What’s your favorite outfit?
SNC: Something sexy… blouses, comfortable pants, no jewelry.
MM: Do you ever dream about traveling anywhere?
SNC: I don’t like to travel. I’m really happy and emotionally satisfied here. The Argentine director, Sylvia Perel, invited me to two film festivals in New York and San Francisco for the premiere of a film she made here about life in Todos Santos. I was the main character, but I wouldn’t go. All that I need is here.
MM: That’s so wonderful. What kind of music do you like and do you have a favorite movie star?
SNC: I really enjoy romantic music and Banda. My favorite celebrity is Antonio Banderas.
MM: I’ll go with that! But really, don’t you even have some fantasy adventure you’d like to do someday?
SNC: I actually just had one come true. I can tell you but you can’t write it down.
MM: Aw, come on. At least give me a hint of what it was! You’re so lucky!
SNC: OK… just a tree under the rain.
MM: You really are romantic! Did you have a childhood nickname, like everybody else around here?
SNC: Oh I had thousands of them! One good one was when I was 15. They called me la Mistica. Another one is la Calendria, a bird that flies from palm tree to palm tree.
MM: I heard that you actually do that, and at great heights! So Sergio, do you have a special message for the people out there?
SNC: Yes. Thank you to everyone for the way you treat me and respect me. When something is clear, it’s decent.
MM: Thank you, Sergio, for being such an inspiring example of living your truth.