Jackson, MS

I am an intern at My Brother’s Keeper right now. It’s an organization for LGBT. They do HIV testing, STD testing, teen pregnancy, reproductive health. LGBT rights. I am basically an intern for the transgender community. So, it’s kind of a big deal. I’m not for sure if they’re gonna add me on or not. But I am trying to break that stigma, break that barrier. Because not a lot of…no offense, but no homosexual (cis) male can say anything about transgender people. I’m also a CNA. Yeah, I’m a CNA. I work at a hospital. I save lives. My goal is to be a nurse. Well, a nurse practitioner - to help LGBT specifically, but more on the specific side, well, I’d rather have transgender patients. Because we don’t have health care here. Actually - we don’t have healthcare anywhere here. It’s hard to get hormones. There’s only one place that I know of in the whole state to get them, and that’s Open Arms!

I try to be solution oriented. I kind of want to motivate others. If they were having that mindset like “I don’t feel like myself.” or feeling powerless, well I am not a counselor but I am kind of that listening ear. I ask, “Have you ever thought about it another way?” And they were like “Yeah I’ve thought about it! But I’m scared!”

I wasn’t always a solution person. When I was younger I had to figure out who I was. So, I was like okay something doesn’t feel right. I turned into this kind of person where I felt sort of like….OK…let me just stay at home. Let me just stay at home and don’t do nothing. Just go to sleep. Just everybody else take care of it! What I learned is, that was not the case, because nobody’s looking out for us. Nobody cares. And I hate to say it like that but it’s true here in Mississippi. Nobody cares. It’s true here. A trans woman died in 2017 here, in the surrounding area. And they still have not found the killer. They don’t care. And people say they know the person that killed her! But they’re not speaking.

Transilien: What changed you to be more solution oriented?

Laney: I would say a spiritual experience. Like okay hey, hey, *slaps cheeks lightly* you have to tap yourself like “Hey. Wake up!”  these people are not caring for you. You have to care for yourself! No one else is gonna do it, you gotta do it. I had to kind of shake that fear out of me. Because no it wasn’t my mom that encouraged me, it wasn’t my grandmother, it wasn’t my sister. It was me.