I had the privilege of being part of a wild and crazy show called Strut. It’s a series about transgender models who are trying to tear down the walls of the fashion industry. You might have seen a crazy scene between me and Isis King, one of the stars of the show who became famous as the first transgender contestant on America’s Next Top Model. Why the hell did I decide to open up about something so personal and private on national television? Well, it’s all about timing, fate, and answering a door that I’ve been avoiding for a long time.
I’ve kept my personal transition and past hidden away, and I’ve refused to talk about it in public. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I want people to judge me based on my knowledge and personality, not my gender identity. Second, I see myself as a woman, not a transgender woman who is using her transgender status to seek attention. I planned on keeping my transition and personal life private, until the massacre in Orlando.
When I first walked into the hallowed halls of Pulse, I had never been to a gay club, and I was scared shitless of what might happen. But as soon as I walked in the door, I knew I had found my home. The regulars and bartenders at Pulse welcomed me with open arms, buying me drinks and making me feel like I belonged. For the next three years, Pulse was my sanctuary, a place where I could be myself and let my freak flag fly.
But then, seven years later, that sanctuary was shattered by a madman with a gun and a hateful vendetta. I watched the news in horror as people I knew and loved were gunned down by ignorance and fear. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I saw fellow Americans with conservative views celebrating the attack on social media. It was a dark time, and I felt like I had lost everything.
But then something amazing happened. The outpouring of love and support from around the world was overwhelming. People came together to mourn the loss of life and to support each other in the face of such terrible tragedy. It was in that moment that I realized I had to be proud of who I am and what I stand for. There are thousands of transgender individuals out there who are lost, who face hate and fear on a daily basis, and who are just looking for some hope in a world that often seems to have none.
That’s why I agreed to appear on Strut with Richard Lowe when he asked me to come on. I knew it was the right thing to do, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to speak out and be heard. And when I had the chance to talk to Isis King, I knew that this was the universe telling me that I was on the right track. It was a beautiful moment, and one that I will always treasure.
For those of you who may be skeptical of reality television, I can assure you the scene between myself and Isis was raw, and a spur of the moment conversation. It was just something that magically happened. So now it is time for me to stop being silent, and to be a voice for the LGBT community. Ideally, I would love to guide transgender individuals into being successful men and women in the corporate and creative world. It may not be much, but if I can help at least a few, it will all be worth it.
I would like to conclude this blog post with a special thank-you to my amazing friend Richard Lowe, you are a magical star in my life I could not live without! Thank you so much Ceci, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Lanston, Tom Leonardis, Lynn Tilton, 44 Blue Productions, Isis, Laith, Ren, Dominique, Arisce, and of course the amazing Cassandra Cass. Love you all XOXO!
If you are tuning in, thank you all so much for your support!
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