While reading I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman, I started to reflect on my own life. For one, I didn’t get nearly as much attention from the same sex in high school and college as Toni. (Yes, I’m kinda jealous, haha!) Aside from that, I was able to reconfirm just how good I had it (and still do). My family accepted my sexuality when I came out and I never had to go to extremes to explore and be who I was. The same can’t be said for Toni, nor for many other transgender people for whom she wrote this book. While her strict Christian family accepted her as a gay male, that connection was lost once she told them the full story. She explored being a man, but found that she couldn’t hide from who she really was. This led to her decision to make the transition. And what followed was a story worth making into a movie.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Toni and learned so much by reading her story. Despite all of her circumstances, she gave us all the message to live in the fullness of who you are. This is something we both agree on. My tagline is Show Yourself, after all.
Watch the video below, subscribe, and grab a copy of her book for the full story.
The Read: Toni Newman
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Short Film: Heart of a Woman
For more great authors and interviews, check out the Black LGBT Authors Database.