Julisa Abad


Detroit, MI

JULISA :  “ Ok, so everything started when I had auditioned for the Bad Girls Club in Florida. I was all over the tabloids. Then I messed around with a rapper, who is known, who got caught with me and then he made some really awful transphobic remarks to cover his tracks. After that, I was contacted by a show being filmed in Detroit called Motor City Housewives with Delicious from Flava of Love. So I came here and filmed the show. It never got picked up. I moved to Palmer Park because it was supposedly LGBT-friendly.


I was evicted from four apartments in a year because they like to do that here. In the hood, they don’t check your credit. You pay security deposit and first month and then you have three months before they evict you. In Florida, I had an apartment where my rent was $850 a month, a Dodge Durango in the driveway, and insurance I could afford. My living was steady there. It took me two years but then I was pushed into doing sex work here because everything was taken from me and I could not get stable. I still can’t.


There is no respect for you when you are a trans woman of color here. The misconception that we are all prostitutes or street workers is really hard. I don’t know anyone who chooses sex work. We are out there working because we don’t have a choice. It is the only opportunity many of us have. We need to survive. Many girls have had to date cops because that’s what the cops wanted and you don’t want to go to jail. Walking to the store is unsafe. I live in the Wild Wild West.


I’ve spoken to many publications openly about what it’s like to be a trans woman out here. I help my girls and teach them how to find resources. I advocate for us in the workplace. I am out. I try and educate everyone I meet.


I have been in the news due to my advocating. I hope and pray someone sees me and offers me a paid position for this type of advocating work.


It’s disheartening and incredibly unfortunate that, instead of receiving messages of people wanting to help or job offers, my Instagram, Facebook, and social media is clogged with inappropriate messages from men being like, “I saw you one T.V., they tell me how beautiful I am, and ask me -what is my ticket!?”


I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but a lot of the resources here aren’t great. The food boxes help me, but what about homeless trans women? What homeless person you know, carries around a can opener in their purse? Where are they taking this food box? To an abandoned building without water and electricity? Where are you taking this food now? In the summer? I know a lot of my home girls who were putting their food in a room and it was freezing outside so it wouldn’t spoil. In the winter time that was okay.

Organizations help us to an extent but do not fully understand what we need.


I speak three languages, I have a college education, and I type eighty-five words a minute. There is no reason that I should not be able to get an opportunity. I can help. I know what we need!


It’s just so hard sometimes.


Transilient: What do you do you to take care of yourself while surrounded by so much pain and trauma? What gives you joy? :


I haven’t had that in a long time, to be really honest with you. I live day to day trying to survive. Out of my peers and the group of girls that I know, I am, to them, one of the ones who’s most put together and well off. So, a lot of my crying and suffering I do in silence when I shower. I am afraid if I break down in front of them, they will lose hope. I guess I have had to learn to not talk about things.


I don’t ever want my mom to feel like she failed because there are certain things I have had to do in order to survive. So, I just have to keep it to myself and don’t talk about it. ”