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Kymkym Williams, GENDA Advocate

Kymkym Williams, GENDA Advocate

Photography by Arnaldo Vargas

“I was born as a twin—my sister’s name is Kassie—and although I was born male, my mother raised us both as little girls, and I always felt like I was a girl. But as I got older, I developed a man’s body, and I realized that I was a woman trapped in a man’s body.

My father taunted me all the time, telling me he “didn’t want no faggots.” My mom would tell him to leave me alone and she would stick up for me, but then he would beat up on her. People always thought I was crazy because I was a girl. My dad didn’t let me eat at the dinner table and he kicked me out of the house when I was 15.

Back then I didn’t know of places where I could go and ask for help. I was getting beat up, shot at, beaten with beer bottles. People always tried to beat “it” out of me.

I was in the hospital more times than I could count, and I couldn’t tell them who it was or why they did it because I was never conscious when the ambulance arrived.

The police investigators weren’t into helping minorities or transgender people like me back then. I was patched up and then dismissed from the hospital. No one ever wanted to hear my story.

Most recently I have become a home-health aide for mentally ill and disabled people. I work out of my home and help people find housing and services to improve their lives. And because of this work, I realized I am a grown-up and that I realized that I can live as a woman and people will still love me and respect me and my work. And so one day I put on make-up and a wig and I never it off. And I’ve been living as a woman now for four years.

There have been a few setbacks. I was boarding a bus one day and said, “Good morning,” to the bus driver and he said, “Good morning sir.” I tried to explain to the bus driver that I was a woman, but he just shook his head and said, “No,” and then threatened to kick me off the bus if I didn’t keep quiet.

I also was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and when I went to Kings County Hospital, they told me I would die within a year if I didn’t have treatment. And so they operated on me, but after months of recovery and treatment, I was told I was cancer free by February 14, 2012.

Most recently, I went to court to have my name legally changed to Kymkym, and when I walked in the judge greeted me by saying, “Going morning, Mr. Williams.” But after I signed the papers and I was on my way out, the judge said, “Have a good day, Mrs. Williams.” That was a great day.

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