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The Life of a Black Transgender Woman
As the writer of this story I would like to share my experience, strength, and hope. I’m a transgender female who has struggled with many challenges, from rape, drugs, acceptance, abandonment, neglect, and my transition. This is my journey through recovery and becoming congruent with ethnicity and gender. Throughout my life I have experienced trauma in many forms. My mom was incarcerated when I was young. I’ve struggled with addiction to drugs and fast money. Lastly, coming to terms with my sexual abuse.
During my early childhood my mom was incarcerated for fraud and shoplifting. She left me and my siblings with the responsibility of taking care of ourselves. We struggled with finances, security, and guidance. We were in the custody of our grandmother, and she did her best, but it was not the same as the love of a mother. The absence of my mother made me feel hurt, worthless, and neglected. Those feelings lead me to my drug addiction. The emotions were extremely difficult to cope with, so I turned to substances to mask the pain.
At first, the drugs took away all my worries. Eventually, though, I became a slave to them. They were also a way to escape from being my true authentic self. I lived my life in bondage because I was afraid to be myself. I lived a life of lies. Obtaining fast money was easy and addictive. This led to getting incarcerated myself. I became my mother at the age of fourteen. This made me feel enraged with life. Struggles with anger and my lifestyle placed me in a situation in which I was sexually abused. All these things lead to a vicious cycle of drug use, illegal activity and incarceration.
At seventeen I began my transition. Being a black transgender female I faced backlash from not only the hetero community, but even more from my black community and my family. As a black transgender woman I dealt with extra discrimination. This lack of support from my family and the black community left me feeling isolated and alone. My only comfort was drugs which, in turn, delayed my transition, left me feeling helpless and even more isolated than before. Not until I was twenty-nine did I actually give recovery a chance and finally begin to transition to the woman I am today.
Today I have almost 2 years clean and sober due to Inspire Recovery and the staff. I’m becoming a woman I can honestly say I am proud of. My days are spent working on myself as well as helping others. Now I work as an advocate for people like myself who have gone through things that I have, and I help them transition back into society with the resources they need to succeed. I have faced my own demons and won. I can help others defeat theirs. Life is just beginning and I am excited for what is yet to come.
Written by: Ciara Cooper