Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dear Isis

TransGriot Note: I know this cycle of America's Next Top Model was shot during the summer and the winner has already been determined.

But I still cried and I'm disappointed about seeing Isis eliminated during Wednesday's broadcast.

I'm writing this open letter to my sis anyway.

Dear Isis,
I just watched the episode containing your heartbreaking elimination from Cycle 11 of America's Next Top Model, I know you wanted to go much further in the competition than you did and your brothers and sisters in the worldwide transgender community and beyond wanted just as badly to see you win it.

Sis, know that I and the entire transgender community are immensely proud of you.

Through difficult circumstances, catty remarks, borderline inappropriate questions and the ignorance of some of your fellow competitors you handled yourself with class and dignity even with a camera lens pointed at you.

I felt your pain of dealing with a transition in a fishbowl situation. My own transition was done in the middle of a major international airport in which 30,000 passengers a day transited through it. I don't know if I would have had the courage to do it with most of the planet and the unblinking eye of a television camera following my every move, But if that's what it would have taken for me to become the Phenomenal Transwoman I am today, I would have done so in a heartbeat and with a smile on my face.

I recognized that you had the weight of our community's hopes and dreams on your slender shoulders in this competition and I worried about that. I noted you were struggling with the confidence issues that many transwomen have during the early stages of transitioning from the old gender role to the new one. I'm 15 years into it and I still have nervous butterflies from time to time when I'm thrust into an unfamiliar situation or meet a relative from my extended family for the first time in decades that only remembers the old me.

The recent article I read mentioning you'd only been transitioning for two years confirmed what I'd suspected as I watched the episodes of you in that competition unfold from week to week.

Sis, you have the look, the intelligence and the talent to go all the way. I have no doubts that you will succeed at whatever you choose to do. You also have something else going for you that many people don't have who are trying to enter the fashion industry- a worldwide community of people who love you and wish you nothing but success.

As time goes on, transition will get easier for you. Your confidence will grow as you learn who Isis is, get comfortable with your body and figure out what type of woman you want to project to the world. As you work through that ongoing process, you will eventually get to the point in which you feel as strong, sexy, beautiful and confident as the Egyptian queen you chose to name yourself after. This America's Next Top Model experience will only help speed that inevitable day along.

Isis, you are a wonderful role model for us, and as Tyra said, you are an inspiration to me and many of us inside and outside the GLBT community. Hold your head up high and never forget that we love you. You are a beautiful butterfly emerging from your cocoon, spreading your wings and evolving into a classy young woman both inside and out.

Never let anybody tell you you're not.

Sincerely yours,
Monica Roberts
The TransGriot

11 comments: said...

Hey there!

I hope Isis sees this touching and inspiring letter!

I believe she will!

Remember the Saturnday morning show for children that had the superwoman who used to say:
"OH MIGHTY ISIS!" before her exploits?

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Lisa Harney said...

I remember that show - one of Sid & Marty Kroft's.

Monica, I cried too. :( I was expecting her to last a few more weeks.

Monica Roberts said...

I hope she does as well.

And if you do Isis. Let your big sis know you saw it by leaving me an e-mail or a message on this post.

VĂ©ronique said...

Beautiful letter, Monica. I'm very proud of Isis for taking on such a challenge and doing as well as she did. I'm sure she will go far.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Monica,

Isis showed so much poise. I too was proud of her. I didn't expect much from the producers at ATNM and sure enough they didn't really offer any education on the subject of transitioning. It was a missed opportunity to educate a lot of people.

Mireille said...

I think Isis was incredibly brave. At that point in my transition, I was just trying to do my thing and not be noticed. I think she just needs time to develop the confidence in herself that only comes with experience. Maybe it's just me, but it took years until the defensiveness went away. There are still moments of distress, but anymore, I know who I am and nobody can tell me different. And, with any luck, she'll get there, too.

On another note, while I do think Isis was a total class act, it's disappointing that acceptance in media and the mainstream seems to depend on passing and beauty. Definitely not Isis' fault, she is who she is, but it would be nice to see that sort of rallying for all of us.

All of this is said having never watched the show because ANTM gives me body acceptance issues, so I don't watch it anymore.

GallingGalla said...

Sis, know that I and the entire transgender community are immensely proud of you.


NerfButch said...


Kara said...

I had the need to write her too. Sympathetic, yes, but also how it will inspire others and hopefully help her as well. While it would have been great to see her go all the way there can only be one winner .... although her being able to get through being spotted by Tyra, the casting call, and several eliminations is already an achievement.

Fortunately, with a bit of googling, I was able to find her myspace page and send it (see the email to you Monica). Hopefully she writes back, as there is a better than even chance we know some of the same peeps in DC.

Tyler said...

Very very beautiful. Isis is amazing.

Monica Roberts said...

Got an e-mail from Isis this morning thanking me and everybody here for all the support we've given her.