How old are you?
Myles: I'm 33yrs old
Where were you born and where do you live now?
Precious: Omaha, Nebraska , Chicago, Illinois
Myles: I'm from and reside in Chicago, IL
How would you describe yourself?
Precious: magnetic fabulous diva fierce happy
Myles: Calm, passionate, hilarious, resourceful, and observant
What do you do for a living?
Precious: Assistant Director of Diversity Recruitment Initiatives at Columbia College Chicago. I have my degree in Liberal Arts from Columbia College Chicago as well.
Myles: I'm the Trans* Outreach Coordinator at Howard Brown Health Center
What do you do in your free time?
Precious: Shop, Travel, Catch up on favorite reality shows: Survivor, Amazing Race,Rupaul's Drag Race, Dine out
Myles: I love to travel with my fiancé', meditate by the shore of lake Michigan, and chilling with my family and friends
Do you have any hidden talents / random fun facts about yourself?
Previous: I am an amazing roller skater and no one really knows that I am a classically trained vocalist.
Myles: I'm a true Scorpio, ill will keep that little secret to myself.
If you could karaoke one song, what would it be and why?
Precious: I will survive.- Gloria Gaynor. I love a classic anthem. I am a woman who has survived great obstacles in my life but the resilience of my spirit trumps all adversity and who doesn't love the vibe of a disco diva?
Myles: Precious and I would kill Jay z and Beyoncé' song "On The Run" part two. That song captures the vibe of my relationship right now.
When was a moment in your life that you felt really free to be yourself?
Precious: When I was 23 I decided to leave my hometown for Chicago to live the life I had to long to live for so long. I had no money. I packed 2 suitcases with a dream in my heart. I left everything I ever knew to find my self and to live in the city I had dreamt of for so long
Myles: For me, that moment was when I decided to live my life as an out trans*men. I felt a sense of calm come over my body and I knew I didn't have to run anymore. When I was "stealth" I often felt like I was living in isolation confinement or under the witness protection program. I was able to walk around free from Trans* harassment and Trans* discrimination, but I was limited to the intimate encounters I was able to have. I had to keep the world at a distant because I was terrified what would happen to me if people found out. Once I broke those chains, my whole outlook on life was different, I felt that not being out was adding to the oppression against Trans people, after I publicly came out I felt free and proud of that aspect of my identity.
Tell us about how you identify yourself
Precious: Growing up I was adopted by my grandparents. I was always a gender nonconforming child. I grew up always feeling no like my older brother but more like my 3 sisters. I would walk in my sister high heels and cheer like the cheerleaders at all of my brothers football games. I grew up in a family that had lots of trauma. Growing up in an abusive household I was discouraged from playing with barbies or standing on top of the picnic table in backyard belting Whitney Houston's I will always love you. These are my first memories of what my identity looks like. I am a proud Trans woman, who is spiritual, left handed, short, biracial and the fiancé of Myles Brady. I love deeply and care about compassion, social justice, and bridging peoples differences. I identify as a diva who knows her power and its impact. I identify as a survivor who has never let life set backs keep her down. I identify as a witness to what you put into the universe will surely come back to you. I identify as a beautiful goddess whose words speak truth, edify, and declare peace. I am girl who loves glamour and hails all things femme. Transitioning for me was the key to unlocking my most authentic self. It was the moment 3 years ago that I could no longer hide from who I was destined to be. I transitioned and loosed all the shackles ever placed upon what someone told me I should be. It was me living for the first time.
Myles: I identify as a Black heterosexual Trans*men
What is a challenge you’ve faced since transitioning?
Precious: For me it's being hard on myself. I judge every flaw I have. Some days I look in the mirror and say this feature and that feature aren't looking how they are suppose to look and it causes me deep frustration. But, I have to release myself from those notions because they are societal constructions that have been placed and engrained in me my entire life of what a woman should look like. Transitioning is a deeply spiritual journey and I find myself more and more reflective. It’s hard when individuals who aren’t Trans don't understand what your body is doing and how that affects your navigation and view of the world. You just don't wake up Trans one day and not go through any things you have to process. It is a continual cycle of loving your authentic self
Myles: One of my initial challenges was the sense of loneliness and isolation I felt during the early stages of my life. Before the Internet, it was really hard connecting with people from my community.
What is a common misconception or question you encounter about your gender?
Precious: For me the most annoying thing people ask me is about my name? They say did your parents really name you Precious or say what is your real name> My name is Precious and that is who I am. Its disrespectful when people start fishing into the origin of a Trans persons name at birth. Names speak to identity, purpose, and I think Precious fits me exactly!
Myles: When people approach me thinking it’s a complement to tell me how well I "pass". That is not a complement to me, I'm not "passing" for anything, I am just being myself.
What does support and acceptance mean to you? Can you share a time when someone was accepting / supportive when you weren’t expecting it?
Precious: Support is love. It is listening. It is compassion. It is uplifting an individual’s physical, emotional, and spiritual being. Support is everything. Support is the security that wraps our heart when doubt tries to enter in. As a Trans person I cannot imagine making it this far in my life without the support of so many individuals who sustained me. Support came in the form of hug, a meal, helping me pay college tuition, and even a card. Support comes in the smallest of gestures. I don't like the word acceptance. Acceptance means I have to do something for you to take me in our to care. I prefer words the word appreciate. Appreciate means your celebrate me, you revel in what I am and that which is. One can have an appreciation for something they do not understand. We as humans must learn to appreciate the fact that we have this opportunity called life and the only thing that can sustain us is love. I have never changed my legal documentation to the gender that I identify as. When I got a new job I was so concerned because I applied as Precious the name that I identify as. Upon getting the job I had to explain to my new boss that my legal documents did not reflect the name that I go by. My boss at Columbia was so understanding and helped me navigate the entire process. My previous job put me through so many hoops when I transitioned ( and that was at an LGBT organization) Seeing that my new boss served as an ally for me was so inspiring.
Myles: Support and acceptance means to recognize a process or a situation that's going on and instead of trying to change/protest the situation we find ways to become allies to that situation. As a very young child I knew that there was something uniquely different about me. I realized that I wasn’t 100% male like my brother or female like my sister. I didn’t know what trans* was when I was younger, so I had to learned how to love and accept myself as that third sex. I lived as a gender nonconforming child. My parents and siblings gave me a lot of freedom and even though they didn’t understand it they gave me the space to dress and express myself as I pleased. Coming out as Trans is a different process for everyone. I cherish the fact that I got to explore aspects of my transness as a young child and that my family were supportive in this way, I don't think I would have been able to survive without their love, support, and acceptance.
What was your favorite part about the Happy Hippie Presents #InstaPride shoot?
Precious: My favorite part of The Happy Hippie shoot was talking to Miley about her passion regarding supporting LGBT youth and her relationship with what she experienced with being a kid actor in Hollywood who was stifled from being the person she wanted to be. She talked about relating to other LGBT youth who aren't allowed to be their authentic selves. Seeing Miley's passion and relatability to everyone in the room was inspiring. It didn't feel like we were shooting with one of worlds most famous musicians. It felt like we had built a community. A community that supported, embraced, and celebrated every individual in the space. Love, energy and magic was abounding. Being shot by Miley was pretty fun too. Her energy is infectious, warm and loving. I really enjoyed working with her.
Myles: My favorite part of the day was being able to share that moment with some of the younger Trans* people, their friends and family. Mentors have always played a major role in my life, so I always try to give back by being that adult I had in my life growing up. I love to empower young people by sharing my knowledge, experience, and story with them. I also enjoy creating a safe space for them and there family to talk about there experiences and life.
Who came with you to the shoot and what did it mean to you to have them there?
Precious: I came with my fiancé Myles Brady. Coming to the shoot with Myles meant the world to me. He is my everything. My all. His love calms me and shows me what I deserve in this life. Spending those moments as an engaged couple together at a shoot celebrating our love meant the world to me. For a moment in our busy schedules we stopped to recognize the power of our love. It felt complete having him next to my side. He is my comforter, my biggest supporter, and my best friend. I can't imagine him not being there.
Myles: My fiancé' Precious Davis was apart of the shoot with me. Whatever I do in life my ultimate goal is to be happy and to get joy out of whatever situation comes my way, I feel so blessed to be able to share all my life moments with Precious by my side. She makes every moment magical.
What are you hopeful about in the next year—both personally and when it comes to transgender rights?
Precious: This next year I will have the opportunity to marry my best friend. As a Trans woman I never thought I would see the day I would walk down the aisle. I am looking forward to having a magical wedding and living happily ever after. When it comes to Transgender rights it is my hope to see more safe and affirming spaces, diverse educational opportunities to individuals who might not traditionally have access to higher education, and housing initiatives that that offer life skills and resources for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming populations. One of my dreams is to travel the country visiting LGBT youth Centers sharing my story and loving on LGBT youth. It is my hope that Trans individuals are able to exist in the world without being in danger and trauma consistently. I hope balance, peace, and fulfillment becomes a theme an a consistent attainable thing.
Myles: Personally I look forward to marrying my fiancé' next August and starting a family!! As far as Trans*rights I feel that the movement will still be making tremendous strides for equality. I would love to see more community based organizations actively being a part of the social mobilization and fight against the barriers that Trans* people, particularly Trans* women of color face every day.
What is some advice you have for someone who exploring their gender identity or transitioning?
Precious: Love yourself! LOVE YOURSELF. You are beautiful! Be you. Celebrate all that you are. Revel in the exploratory. You exist and matter. Trans is beautiful. Take time for yourself. Surround yourselves with individuals that love you. Find community that can uplift and support you. Trust yourself and own your truth. Honor your self by indulging in self care. Be bold, authentic and know that happiness is a human right.
Myles: The beginning is hard, but its gets so much easier. So don't be afraid to live your truth!