Youth Voices: Nicole on Her Journey of Self-Acceptance and the Need for Better Laws for Trans Women of Color

Our weekly conversation series with youth from the Attic Youth Center.

G Philly presents a new collaboration with youth from The Attic Youth Center to spotlight the creative magic and cultural contributions of Philly’s LGBTQ youth of color. Today, 18-year-old Nicole talks about her journey of self-acceptance and the need for better laws for transgender women of color. 

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What is your favorite thing about you? I’m outgoing. I’m really friendly, happy, and always looking forward to meeting new people.

What are you up to right now? I’m almost finished with high school. I’m a senior right now. I graduate in June.I’m trans* identified, and my transition is going the way I want it to. So, I’m happy about that. For a whole year I was going back and forth, because I was suppressing my feelings about my identity. I felt pressure from my family and things like that. I wasn’t able to say that I was trans* until last summer. I just realized that I wasn’t going to fight it anymore. I finally came to terms with that and I accepted myself. I love myself now. I’ve been on hormones for six months, consistently, and I should be changing my legal name and gender markings soon.

What makes you a good friend? I have a lot to offer and I’m compassionate.

What do you imagine for the future of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ youth of color? I hope that there are a lot of improvements. As a trans* woman of color in Philly, I know there are a lot of resources and support groups, and safe spaces, but we get targeted by law authorities and we’re harassed by people. Just because we’re women and we happen to be transgender, people assume we’re doing sex work, or something like that. I wish that stereotype or that view upon us would go away. We also need more law enforcement to protect transgender women of color. LGBTQ people need protection, period. I don’t want to hear about another transgender woman of color being killed.

How do you define community and what does your community mean to you? I define community as a group of people coming together and accepting one another, everyone is from different backgrounds and it’s very diverse. A community stands up for what the group is about and what they believe in. Community does a lot for me. Like, at school or even at home people don’t really accept me, but  The Attic is like a second home. Every time I open the door, everything I’m worried about just goes away.

Anything you want to add to this? It’s time for us to make a change. It’s time for us to stop expecting death, stop saying that it gets better, and let’s make it better now.