Back in May I talked about a JET magazine story that was brought to my attention by ELIXHER magazine and Janet Mock featuring Washington DC girl like us Brandi Ahzionae.
It contained a quote from Brandi that dovetailed nicely with my sentiments about the piece that I hoped it was the beginning of more positive coverage of trans women and transpeople in general.
It's two months later and Brandi's in the news again thanks to a recent Washington Blade article featuring her and Washington DC anti-trans discrimination campaign poster girl Consuella Lopez.
In addition to being one of the people featured in the DC Office of Human Rights ad campaign Lopez is a licensed hairstylist. She owns a salon in the suburban DC metro area and has worked with celebrity clients such as Mila Kunis, Tracey Edmonds and Patricia Arquette.
She met Ahzionae at the September 2012 kickoff event for that campaign and was producing a trans calendar for Casa Ruby at the time. She extended Ahzionae an invitation to model for it which she declined, but Ahzionae did accept Lopez's subsequent invitation to take her on as a hairdressing apprentice.
Brandi also produces a newsletter called the DMV Trans Circulator that seeks to create what the site describes as a “trans community inside and outside the prison walls in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia” that is “free from imprisonment, police violence, racism and poverty.” and is taking classes at the Aesthetics Institute of Cosmetology in Gaithersburg, MD.
When her apprenticeship ends in May 2015 she can receive her own stylists license once she passes the test.
This article is a concrete example of what I've talked about that needs to happen more often in our community in which transpeople support each other, reach back and lift someone else up so they can be in a position to lift up others behind them.
But nice to read this story about Brandi and I hope we continue to see more positive ones similar to it about trans people in TBLG and other media.