Transgender: Young person in autumn park on a skateboard

My Story, My Transformation As a Proud Trans Man

My name is J for all of you who don’t know me. I’m a transgender male, which means I was born as a female with the female anatomy, but transitioning into a…

brother: activists, some wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts, gather for march to protest alleged police brutality

My Brother’s Killing Messed Me Up

March 7, 2012 my oldest brother was killed. He was killed by the NOPD (New Orleans Police Department). Coming home from school March 7, 2012, my oldest brother and his friend was sitting outside. They were just chilling and talking. Once he saw my siblings and I get off the school bus, he told us not to come outside until we finished our homework.

feelings: Young man of color with sad expression

A Deadly Lesson in How Not to Feel

He broke my heart. After that night I’d see him act the same bewildering way many more times. It was, I eventually learned, what too many beers did to him. But the first time my uncle hit me (I was 4 or 5 years old), all I knew was that something had changed. Not in him. No. Something had changed in me. 

foster home: Black friend holding hands of another black person.

I Got Lucky And Found Family

Foster home to foster home to foster home, etc. Twenty-six homes in total. One “family” to the next, passed on like the bubble in my mother’s tweaker circle.

guilt: Translucent ghostly hands beating man. Concept of psychological self-flagellation, self-punishment, self-abasement, self-harm guilt feeling.

Guilt, Self-hate and Forgiveness

People find it difficult to admit fault. We would rather receive an apology than apologize for our own wrongdoings. It is a position of power: having the ability to forgive someone or not, rather than being at the mercy of another, in a vulnerable position.  

TAG: Isolated thinking man face looking up. Low-key, black and white portrait. Hope concept.

I Found Purpose in Prison, and Not Just to Build Paper Trail for the Parole Board

I murdered him. I stabbed him 51 times in his sleep, and now his name likely evokes in people close to him funny, warm and wonderful memories of a man they still love. And then it evokes pain because they remember, they realize suddenly after a happy thought and a smile that he was brutally taken from them for no real reason.

recovery: Portrait of young man in ball cap, necklace looking out at the city.

My Sad, Bad Past No Longer Defines Me, Thanks to Recovery

When I took my first breath in this world, it was while being placed into the arms of a child herself. A drug-addicted and alcoholic mother at the age of just 16 and, needless to say, my mother was a very reckless, sad, incapable parent.