I found what appeared to be an abandoned trailer park in Luthersville, GA yesterday, so I stopped to explore. As I was driving through, I heard someone holler at me. It was Trena. I told her about the project, and asked if she'd tell me her story. We talked a lot about God and how she felt abandoned by her spiritual family at the local church.
Atlanta's a great city, man. Every city has it's ups and downs, but for me and my healing process, Atlanta's been a great city. I've been in and out of Grady and Emory hospitals having research done and tests done.
I've been a working girl for a very long time. I grew up in Ben Hill. I learned the streets at 14 years old right here on MLK and Fulton Industrial and now I'm 43.
This story contains graphic descriptions of molestation. I fight everyday of my life, but here's the messed up part, Brent [crying hard] when you get sober all these feelings are coming back that I'm used to medicating... what do you do? What do you do when you have to deal with this shit...
I pulled over and gave her a copy of the book. She read her story and was moved. I told her how much I thought her story helped people. She was really happy. I was really happy.
So I was sixteen driving around in a brand new Lincoln Continental. My stepfather gave it to me because I was playing the game. When I graduated I was supposed to go to University of Louisville or Tennessee.
My family always take care of me no matter what. I think that has a lot to do with me still being out here. My mom will send me money and pay up my motel room. They don’t know no better.
You’re giving someone $1000-$1500 a day and for him to just down me, down me, down me, all the time. I tried to be whatever he wanted me to be.
I want people to know who I am but the way trans people are treated… someone finds out that I am and they could fucking kill me.
some things have happened. Like he hit me once or twice but he apologized after that happened. He cried and said “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.” And now I’m having a child from him. I want a boy.
I had to give him up for adoption because I had thoughts that shouldn’t be there. In other words, I prefer not to be around little boys.
BW: So, you were worried about doing to him what had been done to you? Did you voluntarily give him up?
Betty: Yes. I broke the chain.
She was my motivation and when she passed away, that’s when things started going down hill. I started using marijuana and popping pills. Then it went to doing cocaine. Then I moved back from Peurto Rico to here and started using methamphetamine.
For a long time I tried to keep everything as clean and perfect as possible, so that nobody would get angry. After a while I realized that it wasn’t working, so I started doing other things. I self injured [cut] for a while. I wanted a way to control the kind of abuse that was directed towards me. If I abused myself, at least it was me choosing it.
I came here to Grady in 2014 because I was fighting cancer [and got a Grady health card]. This is the only hospital in the country that I have any type of insurance at.
Yummy: I was eight. I never really told anybody. I do feel like that’s what pushed me in the direction where I’m more sexual, I guess, even though it’s used more for a commodity.
BW: You never told anybody about what happened when you were eight?
Yummy: No, you are the first person.
I told him I didn’t know where [the gun] was. I was bloody and they had bags up underneath my body. They were talking like I wasn’t there like, “What do you want to do? What car do you want to take him in?” They were really gonna kill me! It went too far.
My next door neighbor got me started using drugs. one day I was locked out of my house from school and he offered me some [crack] because he wanted me to have sex with them. After a couple of tries I finally gave in and done it with him.
Right now I’m pregnant with twins. I’m only five months but I’m big as hell. People ride past me because they think I’m getting ready to pop and they don’t stop so some days I stand out there forever. I might just catch one or two dates. Sometimes none at all.
What is he gonna have to do, kill me before you do anything to this man? Because he means me absolutely no good. Before I’ll let him take mine, of course I’ll take his life. I’m not trying to go down that road but I’m not going to idly stand by and let him take my life from me. I’ll shoot the shit out of him and keep it moving.
I hustle and I work on Fulton Industrial. It’s how I make ends meet. It’s how I provide and how I eat. I don’t do this for a drug habit. I do this because most men that look at me like to have sex with me so I just charge them. I’m not a prostitute. I’m a hustler.
They had his DNA all over the tea cup [he had drank out of], the condom with his nut in it, they had his fingerprints. They had everything but Fulton County didn’t send my rape kit to the GBI [Georgia Bureau of Investigation]. They lost it.
We started messing around with the pain management doctors. Selling the Roxys. We weren’t hurting for nothing. But that’s what led us into heroin. We thought it’d be cheaper and better.
Now, being transgender in jail… First of all, my ID says that I’m a female. So, I get to the city jail. They asked me if I was all woman. I said no. At this point all of the officers are like staring at me like I’m a freak of nature.
my dad and he would come home drinking almost every night and he would come and line us up and just beat us for nothing and he also molested us. We went through being hungry every day. He had a good job but he took it and spent [his money] on other women. We used to eat peanuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, finally my mom left him when I was eight.
Rochelle: I was seven and my cousin was fifteen. Now, I’m fifty-five. Did anybody talk about stuff like that back then? Hell no. Did I know in my seven year old mind that something was going awry? No, I did not. But, in his fifteen year old mind did he know? Hell yeah.
Once my mama found out, she began to [treat me different]. It made me upset to the point I just didn’t want to be around nobody. Her people, her sisters and brothers, them some ignorant folks when it comes down to HIV. I’d have to clean with Clorox every time I used the bathroom. I went into a shell. I went into a deeper depression.
Growing up we had to isolate ourselves. We had to deal with things on our own. My mom would run off for a week or so and get fucked up on meth and he’d [stepdad] try to make us choose sides and shit.
Actually I’m not homeless. I have a place but… I do drugs. I stay in Norwood and I prostitute over here [downtown] so it’s too far to go home and come right back over here. I might as well go on and stay over here in the downtown area, keep going, get clothes from the shelter.
I went to court and the judge said, “From what I’m reading here, looks like you’re charged with 850 pounds of marijuana. I just looked at him and I didn’t know what to say so I said, “Well, your honor, it was all for my own personal use.
God say he would never put no more on you than you can bear so I go through these trials and tribulations and the struggle and it hurts. It really hurts. Cause you know you a good person. Deep down inside your heart, you a good person.