August, 8, 2017

Words by Zekiah Coleman

Since a young age, I’ve always felt DIFFERENT! It wasn’t until my teenage years that I realized that I was more than gay and began my trans journey. I closely watched other transgenders. I was terrified to tell my family, thinking they wouldn’t understand or accept me. Thank God, they did and I began my transitioning around age 18.

My message to the LGBTQ youth, especially my young trans sisters is to not be afraid! Be who you are in these scary times. You are beautiful! Live YOUR life. Live YOUR truth and follow your heart to happiness. It would have been nice to have a program like Safe Space NOVA when I was coming up so that I could have had the opportunity to bond with other people LIKE me, who understand my experience, and my struggle.

It’s critical to reach the youth especially between the ages of 14 and 18 because that’s when you are becoming the person you will be for the rest of your life. This is when you have questions. This is the time when you are most curious. Safe Space NOVA provides a secure environment for the youth to explore and get the information they NEED!

It is also VERY important for me to make sure the youth know that besides overcoming the hurdle of accepting your truth and being free to be you, that you can do all of that AND be a productive member of society! I am an entrepreneur. I previously owned my own hair salon in the Downtown Baltimore area and am a traveling freelance makeup artist now. Do not be afraid to fail, because to fail means that you tried. Everyday that God gives you breath, you should be trying!

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