Mariah Moore / United States
“My journey started on the first day of summer in 1988. June 21, 1988 for those who arent aware of the official first day of summer. My childhood would go on to be anything but normal. I never liked to be outside, nor did I have an interest in the sport so beloved in my city called “football”. I knew I was different and so did everyone around me. I was often called “gay” and “sissy” not even knowing what those things meant. I assume that this is the reality for lots of other youth as children. Most of my young adult life, I woke up hating the skin I was in not understanding who I was or why I felt “this way”. I knew I wasnt a “boy” or “male,” how could I be? Nothing about me read male except for my assigned sex at birth. I often laid in bed at night dreaming of what It would be like if I was actually my correct gender and was assigned it at birth. The experiences of bullying and abuse including verbal emotional and physical are ones that still resonate with me to this very day. Through all of this it never stopped or molded me to be anything other than a caring, selfless, kind, woman who would give her last to anyone in need.
This world has not been kind to me, As I discovered who I was…a Black transwoman. I began to feel the weight and the hurt that the world was pushing on me. I was pushed or forced into sexwork at the age of 22 because I could not find employment. This world has not been kind to me, let me reword that, the people of this country. At 24 someone attempted to murder me causing me to jump from the 3rd floor of a building. Both of my legs were broken, my scars remind me everyday that I am a lucky one, so many others didn’t make it. For example my dear friend Lestes who was discouraged from taking his antiretroviral medication because his parents knew god was the cure. Remmy who was murdered by a self hating man on the street, Chyna who was taken away by a man who allegedly was deeply in love with her. Amber who died unexpectedly and her family wont tell us how….I could go on and on about what has been taken…which leads me to my need to take back. I’m taking back what so many other men and women have lost, or what was stolen from them, this voice. It is my duty to be here, to lay the foundation so that men, women, and gnc folks can be confident and comfortable knowing that they will make it in this world. My aspirations and dreams to be a prominent political figure aren’t just for personal reasons its for the trans kids who will sit on the playground and wonder who am I? Do I belong here? Why do they hate me? Why does my body make me so uncomfortable? Its also to eliminate the stigma and stereotypes that brand trans people as burdens, predators, sex workers, and countless other dehumanizing things. I’ve come from a place where I couldn’t see my future, I’ve come from a place that forced me into an undesirable profession, a profession that will one day try to be used to publicly shame me. I look back at all of these experiences and I’m thankful. I’m thankful because I’m now strong, confident, brave, unwavering. The most important thing that I could ever do was to be “here” exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing. By simply walking the halls of city hall, my local university, and even my local grocery store. Im changing hearts and minds. If my life ended today and my journey was over even though I didn’t become a mayor, or governor I left my community better that I found it.