Q: Tell us about your time at smyal:
A: SMYAL was a safe haven for me, a place to go and explore different selves. As they say, life is about creating yourself, and it was a place away from society’s usual judgments and baggage to do just that. I learned so much about tolerance and perseverance while attending the support groups and events. It was, in a way, what people say church is: a hospital for those who needed somewhere to become strong. Entering SMYAL as a young gay male of color and exiting as a young transwoman of color, I take with me the understanding that change can happen where hearts are open and given the opportunity for change to happen. I carry change in my spirit and in my pocket because it is shared every day.
Q: Where are you now?
A: It is February 24, 2014, I just completed school for massage therapy and have applied for my license in DC, Maryland and soon Virginia. I have been away from my community work due to working and school. The biggest obstacle has been the loss of my mom back in April of 2012. Her home going is still very fresh and very painful. However, in time I shall learn to function entirely again. I hope to return to volunteering with SMYAL along with my interest in healing people through massage.
Q: What advice would you give current smyal youth?
A: Let no one tell you your dream is impossible! Let no one stop you from giving 110 percent! Least of all you, the only one at the end of the day who can truly stop you, is yourself.