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Ask Ian Trans Advice Column

A Trans Advice Column

This addition to the About Trans section is designed to aid in the spread of information about transgender-related topics. All questions are welcome from all walks of life. This includes cisgender, transgender, and non-conforming people. Questions may be edited for content, and all names are changed to protect anonymity.

Please submit your questions to ian@about-online.com


Q: I’ve met some people recently who are transgender, and they use acronyms that I have never heard. I want to be a better friend to them, and I’m a little uncomfortable asking them what they mean when they use these terms. Can you give me a breakdown of the most common phrases used that could help me follow these conversations with them?

Mark

Stop Fucking Killing Us

Trans transgender safety murder

Elizabeth Davidson discusses trans visibility and safety.

2017 now stands as the deadliest year on record for trans people in the United States. At the moment I’m writing this, twenty-seven trans people have been murdered in this country … and we’ve still got a month left. I would personally be willing to bet that two more trans people will be murdered by New Year’s Eve. (*Since writing that previous sentence last week, I’ve attended a vigil for a trans woman of color, Brandi Seals, who was murdered here in Houston. Citing numbers seems pointless now that the numbers are rising almost too quickly to keep track.)  Why is this happening? Is it because more and more of us trans people are coming out and living as our authentic selves? Are we seeing a pushback by bigots who can’t stand seeing us happy?  Or is the rhetoric of conservative politicians emboldening their supporters to attack us? In my opinion, it’s all of the above.

We used to be just a side-show attraction – if you have a free afternoon and a deep-seated desire to wound your soul – you can watch any number of Maury episodes that invite audience members to guess “is it a man or a woman?” Now, however, people take us seriously. And isn’t that just nuts? Likewise, if you’re loathing yourself or genuinely just find your curiosity piqued to know what the world has to say about trans people, you can tune into conservative media and hear about how “the transgenders” are out to get the women and children of America. But there still stands the fact that in 48 states, the murderer of a trans person can claim that they were “freaked out” to the point of murder, and will receive a less severe sentencing than if they’d simply pled guilty. That alone makes me think that in a lot of places around the country, any  reason to murder trans people is a good reason.

So what do we do about this? Honestly, if I had a way to change the hearts and minds of the country (or at least daytime TV programming), I would have already used that power a long time ago. Honestly, it’s going to take a united effort by more than just the trans community to convince the world that murder is bad; so, if you were hoping to find an easy solution to this problem in this essay, I’m sorry to disappoint you. However, there are some simple things we can do that can help make our lives easier, happier, and hopefully a little safer.

#1 Come Out!

I know that it’s scary and difficult; and yes, I know we have to do it over-and-over again to many different people, as it is rarely believed that we know who we are.I’ve come out to my family so many times that I’ve lost count. Are they supportive? For the most part, no. Maybe they’ll come around and realize through knowing me that trans people aren’t creepy weirdos lurking in bathrooms, but instead are bright, funny, talented, beautiful people. Conversely, they may leave me alone and stop telling me, “You have evil in your soul.” But by coming out, you’re letting others  know that they already know a trans person. And if people know one of us, it’s harder for them to believe the lies about us. We have a superpower here. A magical ability. You have the potential to change someone’s mind for the better. Now, be safe about how and when you decide to come out. If you think coming out will endanger your life or well-being, come up with a strategy so you can be safe and be yourself. Above all, I want you alive and well and able to shine your unique light into the world.

#2 Find your tribe.

I’ve found mine in a number of places. I realized my transness through drag performance; and my friends in the drag scene are still some of the kindest, sweetest, and loudest champions and supporters I have. Also, going to trans support groups when I needed them helped me find a community of trans men, women, and non-binary folks that I still turn to and rely on some 2+ years into my transition. Because my birth family isn’t so great, my family of choice consists of the people I love and who love me back unconditionally, as any real family (birth or chosen) should. Having a tribe means having a place where you know you belong, and a group of people who are concerned for your wellbeing and safety—people who will check on you and encourage positive, safe, healthy living.

#3 Watch your back!

It sucks and it’s going to sound like I’m putting the burden on us to not become victims, which is not my intention. With that said, it’s clearly a dangerous time to be trans. Don’t tell anyone that the funny-looking object on my keychain is actually pepper spray, but that’s what it is.I’ve been attacked before, and I don’t want that to happen again, to me or to anyone else. Talk to some cis girls about how they protect themselves—they’ve been dealing with creeper dudes since they were kids. Maybe Karen at work has some tips? Remember, Tiffany at the coffee shop told you to get your keys out of your purse *before* walking out to the parking garage! Bond with these people who can advise you on safety and maybe they’ll even end up being in your tribe.


There’s been a lot of stress and political upheaval this past year, and maybe that’s been driving the violence against the trans community. Personally, I hope 2018 calms down. Perhaps drawing attention to the issue will wake up the rest of the country. For information on resources and where you might find your tribe, contact About Magazine, the Montrose Center, Legacy Community Health, or search Facebook for groups to join.

And cis people, DON’T BE SILENT! If you hear a friend, family member, or coworker making jokes or disparaging comments about trans people, call them out and educate them. We need your help, because the only way we can change the world is if we do it together.

Raising Kiki, a Genderfluid Child

Kiki the Genderfluid Non-Binary Child Gender

Moco & Maize Steinman of art duo Mandem give insight into raising a genderfluid child.

Raising children isn’t a task anyone is up to. They come into the world completely unpredictable. You can’t say if they’ll grow up to excel at math or at mischief. Their sexual orientations will begin to reveal themselves at unknown times. It’s impossible to know if they’ll be artists, or scientists, or humanitarians. What’s also impossible to predict is the gender – if any – they will identify with.

The latter was the case for young Kiki, the gender-fluid, sometimes non-binary child of parents Moco and Maize Steinman-Arendsee. Kiki prefers the pronouns they/them/their, and as an aside from being non-binary (not a defining factor of who they are), they are also extremely talented in art and linguistics. They are loving, kind, and possess the brains of well-attuned adult.

Kiki’s parents (and Kiki!) sat down with About Magazine to discuss what it’s been like raising a non-binary child, how it’s changed them, and the pride and humility their child brings to the both of them.

MANDEM_artist_photo-184x300 Raising Kiki, a Genderfluid Child


About Magazine: Let’s start by hearing a little bit about your child, Kiki.

Moco & Maize: Kiki is a super-affectionate and clever child with a tendency to hyper-focus on research into their interest of the day (currently ant-keeping). They’re also bouncy, hyper, and resilient in the face of tragedy, though easily made sad by failure or rejection. At the end of this semester, they’ll have just turned 7-years-old and will be in third grade. They’re in public school via a virtual/online option, which allows them to work through things at their own rate and (more importantly) allows them to do math while jumping on the trampoline, wear pajamas all day, and take sanity breaks whenever needed. It’s a great system, and Kiki is doing well with it. They want us to add that they have multiple imaginary friends who are very important to them, and that they’re a very kind person.

Kiki’s pronouns are they/them/their. Kiki is, presumably, non-binary. Correct?

Yes, that is mostly correct. If you were splitting hairs, I think you’d say “non-binary spectrum” because they alternate between being a boy, or a girl, or both a boy and a girl, or agender. Under some classification schemes one might call this gender-fluid, but non-binary works.

Tell us a little bit about how that discussion came up between the two of you as parents, if you don’t mind.

We are asking Kiki all of these questions because we don’t want to speak for them, but when we asked “how did you realize you were both a boy and girl,” they express confusion because that’s just how it is. I think most six-year-olds when asked “when/how did you realize you were a <gender identity>” would be confused – it’s just how they are. And Kiki has been outwardly expressing this gender identity since before they can remember. So we’ll try to answer without them.

But to be honest, this is hard to answer – it didn’t come up between the parents, it developed naturally with getting to know Kiki. They brought it up. So you get a narrative.

We started with the awareness that we didn’t actually know their gender. We did originally use their “designated at birth” pronouns (which we’re not going to mention here), but with the psychological awareness that we were open to whatever gender identity they developed. We also were choosing mostly non-gendered clothes (to the best of our ability) and such early on because we wanted this to be something that could develop naturally.

Before they could talk, Kiki started developing a strong preference for clothes and toys that were coded for the “opposite” gender; and as soon as they could talk they started saying they were the “opposite” gender of their assigned-at-birth sex – and correcting people about that. So, we started using the pronoun “they” because we weren’t sure what gender was going to stick. Around 3 1/2-years-old, Kiki started going through a six month femme stage, and at the same time started identifying exclusively as a boy. At that point they’d explain to everyone “It’s okay, boys can wear dresses too,” and correcting us whenever we misspoke or referred to “boy clothes” or “girl clothes.” But they grew out of the “all femme all the time” stage when they were around 4 to 5-years-old, and then they verbally articulated that they were BOTH a boy and a girl, and sometimes neither a boy nor a girl, and that they just wanted to be able to change between them. Consistently since then, they have been fluid in their identity – mostly settling on “both a boy and a girl.”

You two also began using the they/them/their pronouns, and you mentioned to me previously that Kiki asked this of you. Can you tell us a little about how that conversation and decision went?

The entire family did transition to using they/them pronouns, though it’s not as simple as “Kiki asked us,” per se. We have both self-identified as “genderqueer” for over a decade (we were both gender nonconforming), but within the context of being in a queer relationship and not in the context of changing pronouns or thinking much about that aspect. When we were queer youth, the idea of changing one’s pronoun was a lot more niche than it is now (we are a bit older than most people think we are) and trying to survive (as disowned queer teenagers) was more on the forefront of our mind for a long time. And it also seemed to us before that being trans was a very binary thing, that there wasn’t space for someone to be “not a boy and not a girl.” But talking through with Kiki how they felt about gender helped both of us realize that this was also a more authentic way of thinking about our own lives as well. I suppose it helped that Kiki would frequently ask us our pronouns/genders (“Today I’m a girl. What are you today?”) and no one had ever asked either of us that in a safe environment before. (Plenty of, “So… are you a boy or a girl?” from street harassers, of course!) So just having a reason to interrogate that was amazingly healing.

I’ve met several parents, actually, that came out as trans or began to identify as trans after seeing that their children were gender nonconforming and thinking “that’s just like me as a kid” – and then realizing that they could love their children regardless of gender or binary presentation. A good parent with a trans kid can come to this line of thought: if I can love my genderqueer kid, then the problems I had as a child couldn’t have been my fault – it was a societal fault, or a parental fault, or whatever… and if my child should be proud of who they are, then how can I try to repress it in myself?

We’ve both had this experience along multiple vectors of abuse, while watching our child grow up. There are all these little moments that have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with love, such as “when my child breaks things and cries about it, I just want to cuddle their little heart and make them happy again…. how could my parents have hit me when I broke things?” And then you forgive yourself for having been a “bad child,” because you never were.   But that’s getting a bit off topic.

kiki-3-169x300 Raising Kiki, a Genderfluid Child

Do you think that more parents should adopt the ‘they’ pronouns? And what are the more important aspects of it that you would stress?

Kiki feels strongly that parents should start with a gender-neutral pronoun – we’re all fans of “they” for that – and switch to he or she (or keep they) when the child becomes aware of their own gender identity. Kiki says it can negatively affect a child to be misgendered, and that if you call them he or she they might be mad that their parents have been using the wrong pronoun.

From a slightly more adult perspective, keeping in mind how slowly society changes and what challenges face a child, we would suggest a more moderated answer.

So, yes – more (all) parents of gender nonconforming children should ask their children if they would like gender-neutral pronouns and be willing to support that if the answer is yes. There is sometimes a rush to assign children to a binary gender – even with trans kids – and this shouldn’t be so parent-driven. Parents already say, “You were born with this genital configuration so we’re going to gender you thus,” and switching over to, “I see you have these gendered interests so we’re going to re-gender you this other way” isn’t the answer. Allowing kids to have the space to explore their gender while using non-gendered pronouns is a really good measure that takes into consideration the concerns regarding young transition while also acknowledging the reality that trans kids often know their authentic gender very young. And of course only a non-gendered pronoun is going to be an authentic fit for a child whose gender exploration is going to also end with a strongly non-binary identity. This needs to be youth-driven in that parents should ask and listen about their children’s authentic gender expression.

Kiki is probably right that it’s also true that more parents should start out saying, “We don’t know for sure what my child’s gender is,” and that starting with a gender-neutral pronoun and waiting to see what gender develops would be a brilliant. But in real life, this is a battle that may not be worth it in most cases. Using a non-binary pronoun means you have to defend the pronoun and face transphobia really early on, and there’s also this sense that then you’re putting a weight on a child to pick a gender ASAP because everyone is asking about it. For us, when Kiki was very little, it was easier to use a gendered pronoun until such time as they expressed a preference, even though in terms of clothes and toys we mostly gave them non-gender-stereotypical things. That said, I think what would be really glorious would be if parents could avoid aggressive gendering of children (i.e., buying them only toys marketed to one gender, adhering to gendered colors or styles, etc.), and then just check in occasionally to see if they have a preference on gendered terms and pronouns.

Did having a non-binary child change your opinions about things like gender-reveal parties, and learning the sex of a child before birth?

Learning the physical sex before birth can help parents prepare to take care of that particular configuration of physical body parts, and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially since parents need to be prepared for the fact that doctors are going to try to pressure parents into gential-altering surgery if the child is born with a penis or intersex genitals, and parents shouldn’t go uninformed into that situation. Knowing what physical parts the baby is going to have can be totally separate from assuming gender.

That said, to be honest we were never very comfortable with gender-reveal parties. I think people assume that a kid’s genitals are going to tell you a great deal about their personality and that’s just not a given… so there’s a sense that the kind of person who cares so much about the infant’s genitals isn’t going to be very able to let go of those preconceptions and be happy to allow the kid to develop into whoever they want to be. But maybe it’s just something neurotypical people do that we’ve never grokked. It wouldn’t be the first thing that seemed confusing.

When people asked us, “what do you want?” assuming we’d answer boy or girl, we used to respond, “A clever kid.” It threw people for a loop when we answered that way.

Also, a name-reveal party would be more fun.

How supportive have the reactions of other parents, teachers, and children been about the non-binary pronouns?

It’s a mixed bag. Concern about that is a small part of why we’re doing virtual school (though to be honest that has more to do with Kiki’s learning style).

Kiki says that the teachers at the Youth Club they attend have been very supportive but still don’t pick up on using “they.” However, they are not being bullied about it and that’s pretty cool.

Kids are often confused — they ask Kiki a lot of questions about “how does that even work, being a boy and a girl?” and Kiki tells them “I just am.”

When we use “they” casually in conversation, we get a lot of “wait, there’s more than one?” and then people trying to explain grammar to us, which is frustrating. Of course we’re prepared with the entire linguistic history of singular they, but even people who have within minutes used the singular they without realizing (as in, “I don’t know who left these keys but I’m sure they’ll come back for them,” or even “Are they a boy or a girl?”) then act confused when we used the singular-they to refer to Kiki! Despite common usage, people seem reluctant to use it for people who self-identify as such.

Online we get a lot of support — a lot of questions, a lot of people seeking to understand, and that’s really encouraging.

kiki-6-169x300 Raising Kiki, a Genderfluid Child

Aside from the use of the they pronoun, you could do anything to adjust the school of thought on gender identity, what would that be? Either as parents or as people.

Kiki says everyone should use “they” for people they don’t know and only use he or she if they have confirmation that’s the right gender identity/pronoun. Kiki says they wish people would not use physical appearances to assume gender identity – like long hair vs. short hair.

And Kiki says they wish other parents would realize that they’re hurting their children by not letting them choose their gender. They said that if their parents didn’t respect their gender, “I would be sad and have to wait until I was an adult with my own house to get out of their presence! I would have to lie to my parents … but I would tell my friends in secret that I was nonbinary.”

We think this question is more complicated than it first appears, because in asking about “adjusting the school of thought,” the question assumes that there’s just one school. And there are people on every side of the aisle that do think that there’s just one school and everything else is wrong. But we’re more inclined to think that gender and gender identity are both societal constructs… that the reason we have gender nonconforming folx appearing all across society is that almost all of the schools of thought are attempting (metaphorically speaking) to draw a round, 3-D world on a square, 2-D map, and necessarily that means warping elements and flattening elements and also choosing an “up” and a “down” and a “center” in a way that reflects all kinds of biases and false assumptions. Making a 2D square map is an inherently biased process. Likewise any school of thought on gender is going to have biases based on the culture it comes from, the gender of the people making it, and all kinds of religious and social and class issues.

If there was one thing I wish people knew, it would be that their school of thought was a construction – a flat map of a round world, or a classical mechanics system that doesn’t explain quantum-level functions. It’s good enough to get around with, but it’s not going to be 100% true or accurate, and the more granular your resolution (e.g., the individual rather than the masses) the less it will hold up. Likewise the more binary the school of thought, the more stuff in the middle of the spectrum that gets erased. But binaries are easy, and the instinct is to fall back into them (“cis” and “trans” are also binaries in many ways).

People who are genderqueer or nonbinary or “other” may find that they don’t have the words to describe what they feel and are, until such time as the construction and the language evolves. That’s why some people will talk about being nonbinary as “a fad” right now, because just ten years ago the language and ideas weren’t popularized enough that people “in the middle” had words for their feelings. Nonbinary people always existed; they just didn’t always have the language to describe their lives. So…. be kind to those who are struggling now to find the words. Be kind to yourself if you’re looking for this language. And if there wasn’t room in your construction previously to allow for a space between “boys” and “girls,” then do your research and make sure you really think your construction works…. because binary divisions are almost nonexistent in nature. There’s always a gradation.

 


Moco & Maize are artists of several varieties, collaboratively making up the duo Mandem. You can visit their website here.

Trans About Town: Fabian Washington

Fabian Washington Graffiti Notez SP trans man musician

fabian3 Trans About Town: Fabian WashingtonFabian Washington, also known as Graffitti Notez SP, is an entrepreneur that has great attributes to present to the LGBTQIA community, as well as the world. Fabian is a business owner and activist of many sorts to the community and its youth. He is the proud founder of the multimedia company IMAN MARC LIVE and an active affiliate of Freedom Overground & Transcending Barriers. He not only believes that equality is vital, but that to achieve this state, we have to knock down the barriers of categorizing ourselves aside from our allies. A part of the reason that IML was created was to bring an entertainment label to the forefront that is all-inclusive to the world, and in one step at a time breaking down the walls of segregation.

What made you decide to transition medically?

As a child, at the age of 6, is when I found out that I was not [anatomically] a boy. I had been a tomboy my whole childhood, and in my freshman year of college I had come out identifying as lesbian. It never really sat well with me, I knew that I was attracted to women, but it still was a very confusing and depressing time in my life. I knew that there was something missing and that I had to find myself. I had been asked quite often, respectfully, if I were male or female as I matured more into myself, even before I started transitioning medically. One day in 2008, my girlfriend at the time and I were in the store and an older woman stopped us and said, “Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude. Can I ask you a question?” I responded and told her that that was fine and she then asked,”Are you a man or a woman?” I responded,”I am a woman.” After my response she said,”Well, you are very handsome, I just wanted to let you know that.” My heart was so touched, and that was when I realized who I was actually was—who I was to become. I didn’t medically transition until 2014. I had my first T-shot in June of that year. A couple of years later, I had top surgery with Dr. Pranay M. Parikh, MD at Baystate Hospital in Springfield, Ma. I just had been working to become the man I was inside, and now I see what everyone else saw in me. Through everything good and bad, I am the happiest that I have ever been in my life.

… When it comes to my craft, I don’t want to be recognized as a hip hop artist or music producer because I am transgender. I want to be recognized as an artist that is a transgender person.

What has been the most difficult and the most rewarding aspects of your transition?

In the process of transitioning, I faced some prejudice in the workplace. It was especially hard when the name and gender marker on my ID did not match my appearance and I dealt with discrimination. Not only in that but being a black man, there is a huge difference in how my interaction with people was pre- and post-transitioning. I remember I had a knee injury and I had to see the orthopedic surgeon. The pain was immense and I was on crutches barely able to stand. After my appointment I made my way to the elevator. There was a white woman getting on the elevator after me. She stopped and looked, grasping her purse and then stepped back to take the stairs. Prior to that, I could sit down as a complete stranger and talk for long periods of time with anyone. From there I knew that I needed to be more cautious. I felt she looked at me as a predator, but I would never harm a soul in my life. I love people, and I enjoy fellowship with folks from all different walks of life. That is the only way that we can understand the world in broader aspects is to be more receptive to one another for our differences; and there we will find our similarities and common ground. The willingness of understanding, communication, and overall knowing one another. So in the midst of the trials the greatest lessons I learn are through the obstacles that I have faced. To find understanding is a reward in itself.

fabian1 Trans About Town: Fabian WashingtonHow would you describe the intersectionality of being a black trans man in the South?

Coming from the Bay Area, it is very down south as well as north east. Not just being a black man that has to watch his step in the streets of the South, but as a black man in a very segregated community, and as a black trans man that is frowned upon by other black people. Being a public figure and appearing on national television on Jerry Springer, I had made a sacrifice. Under the circumstances on participating in the production I feel I still was able to show a positive example for members of our community as well as those that do not understand the reality of trans identifying individuals such as myself. I have been disrespected in public and have heard another ‘correct that’ person. People always look for something wrong with the next person regardless. There is always going to be someone that will have a problem with you based on the silliest assessments. The prejudice within the POC community and the racism that exists outwardly is a real tragedy considering that racism is taught. Back home, it is so much more diverse and so much more accepting that I miss it quite often, but I know there is something that I am here to do and I do it wholeheartedly! I am a part of an awesome non-profit organization called Freedom Overground, which was founded by Ky Peterson and Pinky Shear and is also affiliated with Transcending Barriers, founded by Zahara Green. These non-profit organizations focus on assisting trans people during and post-incarceration giving them the help they need to get on their feet. Especially with assisting trans men; and that is a big deal simply because there aren’t many organizations that help trans-masculine identifying people. One day at a time we can make a difference. The world is crazy in this time and age and it is the most importantly time for us all to be vocal and to influence and practice unity, awareness, and love.

What challenges have you had as a trans man in the hip hop industry and how has this impacted your career?

As an artist I am known as  Graffitti Notez SP. I have been well-rooted in the industry since I was a young child. I was a prodigy saxophonist. [I] played professionally and even had my own quartet in high school. We performed a lot when I was a kid. As I got older I got into music production and my network grew. When I began my transition I took a seat back from everyone because somehow I just knew that they wouldn’t accept me. So I thought! Since I have gotten back into music, my network has been completely supportive and this has helped me to regain my confidence and continue my work as an entrepreneur. I have been working on building my company I M Live for some time and now all the hard work is paying off. Must say, I have some amazing affiliates and individuals on my team. We are currently organizing a tour for the summer. Details will be released soon and we will begin moving forward. Through all adversity, I cannot wait to rock the stage again, vibe out with my fans, and enlighten the hearts of many. Through The Trees [an EP] has been released and available for stream on SoundCloud!

fabian2 Trans About Town: Fabian WashingtonIs there anything you want people to know about transgender hip hop artists?

I can’t speak for everyone when I say this, but when it comes to my craft, I don’t want to be recognized as a hip hop artist or music producer because I am transgender. I want to be recognized as an artist that is a transgender person. One thing that I have noticed is that people in the community take advantage of their identity for publicity. My transition is not to exploit myself to create opportunity. What I do hope to accomplish through my visibility is to reach our LGBTQ youth and inspire them to go after their dreams and know that they can do whatever they set their minds to. The music and film industry is tough to get into as is, and though there is more acceptance in some aspects there is also still a lot of discrimination. It’s all about how you present yourself to the world. Put your best foot forward, first impressions really are everything.

Let’s talk surgery …

When it comes to surgery, I know that personally it has helped my dysphoria a lot. I have had top and look forward to bottom surgery sometime this year. The thought of surgery can be scary for anyone, and for others its the complete opposite. Medical transition is vital for me, and it is a part of my journey in who I have become and the man that I am being visible as to the world, not just in my head or on a piece of paper. I feel as though I have been set free. I would like to thank Dr. Pranay M. Parikh, MD, for an amazing job on my top surgery. I give him 5 stars and would not change a thing about it!

I have been told you came to Houston to assist with clean-up post-Harvey. What made you want to help all the way from Atlanta and what part of Houston did you assist?

I am a compassionate individual and I love helping people. When I found out about the devastation that Houston had faced, no questions asked, I was there. Though I struggled with some things while I was there I would not change a thing that happened for the simple fact that the things we go through in life mold and shape us into the people that we become. Seeing the wreckage alongside the streets and people’s homes was tough. My empathy goes out to all the people affected and the people who lost their homes. In my time there, I aided Woodbridge Apartments in maintenance for rapid repair of about 340 units. Some units weren’t affected while others were completely destroyed. People were in their homes with huge holes in their ceilings and no shelter from the rain droughts that continued after sporadically.I have to give it up for the Houston community for standing together to get through this hardship and coming together to make amends to there streets.There is still a road ahead, but the progress and the hard work that has been put into making Houston home again has been phenomenal thus far.

Final thoughts?

I would like to thank Dylan Wilde Forbes and the rest of the team at About Magazine for having me. And I would just like to close out with this: for our youth, if we don’t guide them, they will have no direction. Our youth will be our leaders one day, and it is up to us to set the example and show by action in which way they should go. To inspire their hearts to follow their wildest dreams and strive for nothing but EXCELLENCE. I love you, Houston.