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WUSF has been reporting recently on a difficult issue — legislation aimed at transgender persons. To help highlight other stories of the trans, nonbinary and gender noncomforming community, we asked residents what "Trans Joy" means to them. Daylina Miller is sharing their stories.

Trans Joy: Black joy and family acceptance

a man with short hair wearing a blue polo and standing in front of green foliage.
Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media
Ny'Jal Lyons.

Today we hear from Ny'Jal Lyons, a trans man from Tampa, about the intersection of trans and Black joy.

(Trans joy) reminds me of Black joy. You know, being a Black person myself with all the Black boy magic, Black girl magic and Black boy joy, all of that. It just speaks of like a pride in who you are and things that you can't change about yourself.

And so when I think of trans joy, I think of that pride, that healthy pride of you are something that you can't change and pretty much accepting it and finding the silver linings in it.

About a few months into my transition, my godsister was having her Sweet 16 and I went to her birthday party and my godparents were their mom. My godparents have always been kind of like, free, a little bit freer than my mom.

So, you know, when I told them, they were like, 'okay, so what I call you now?' So that was cool. But when I went to the Sweet 16, a family friend of my godmother, who have I've known forever, her best friend, she came up to me, and you know, just said to me, personally, she was like, 'Yo, like, cuz.' She's known me since I was a baby. And she's like, 'Yo, this, you know, I love what you're doing. Like, you have inspired me like to just live in my authenticity.' '

And like, in my head, I'm thinking, I'm like,' Are you trans, too?' Like, she wasn't, she was just saying, in general, seeing me just stepping into something that was me and just standing in it and being proud. You know, it inspired her to live in her authenticity, whatever that meant for her.

And then the other defining moment was when my mom ... I've been on T [testosterone] just over four years. So about a few months ago, my mom, I was on the phone with her, and she told me how she was having a conversation with one of her old friends that I've know, you know, I know all my mom's friends. And she was saying how, you know, her friend was asking, 'Oh, how's your daughter?'

And she's my mom, who wasn't ... who didn't understand at first, was like, 'Oh, well, actually. Ny goes by Ny now. And he also goes by he.' Like, she's out here informing people, and like telling them and like setting them straight.

And I'm like, that was defining for me because I came from trying to make this metaphor of this movie called The Hot Chick to my mom and saying, like, 'you know, how, you know, he woke up as a man, he just had to be female because he just knew he was a female?' And she didn't understand. I thought that was like the most obvious metaphor ever.

And she was like, I don't get it. So we come from that to 'Oh, no, he goes by he now.' So I was like, 'Wow, thanks, Mom.[ Like, me and my mom are super close. So like, that was like the one thing that we didn't really see eye to eye on it. So when we finally did get there, that meant everything to me."

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.
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