Eisha Love: A Trans Woman of Color in Chicago | them.

What Is It Like to Be Transgender? Eisha Love Answers Your ...

[siren wailing in distance] – How’s that job coming along? – Ma, oh, my God. I’m so grateful for that job, baby. That’s to have something to do more so, I think, ’cause at first I was kind of getting discouraged a little bit more of not knowing, I’m saying, I wasn’t able to kind of get a job due to the fact of my background, so… It’s like beauty supplies. – Oh, that’s good.

Yeah, you good at that. – Ooh, whee. Look, Eisha. Achievement letter. – Clean my teeth. I know, I saw it. – You know what, when she was little, she had a lot of feminine ways.

How many times I had to run to her rescue ’cause people want to mess with her ’cause of how she is. – The area that we was in, it was a very rough neighborhood. – Yeah. – So we had a lot of boys that was very biased to the fact of any gay, open people that was out there, so at the time it was very– – It was wicked at that time. – Yeah, I felt as though, what I was gonna go, I was gonna do, despite who felt whatever they was gonna say about me or how they act about me or whatever’s gonna do to me, I did it, you know, off of the strength of whatever the consequences that come along the way, so I think that that’s what really what it was; it was some boys that felt as though they was gonna say some things that [inaudible] me and feel that though they gonna treat me the way they want to treat me, and I went off. – Oh, what about the time that guy was kicking on your mama door, when I was there with y’all? – Ooh, my God. That situation, it was very, very, very, very intense. – Who you telling? I had to back him down. I was so scared. That man was kicking on that door.

He was like, “I’m looking for a girl named Eisha, whoever she is, tell her to come out.” Oh, she ain’t coming up outta here. Now, if you want, you gonna have to go through me. He looked at me up and down, seen I had my butcher knife and I was standing there like– I was scared though, but I ain’t let him know I was scared. [laughs] Okay, you got to live in your own truth. You never worry about what somebody saying about you. – And that’s crazy that you say that right here, that never be worried about what people say about you.

I had to learn that concept of… – We all did. – Being concerned about– – We all did. – Especially in this lifestyle. That’s why I was in a lot of situations I was in, I’m saying, ’cause I was looking at it as how people thought of me, what they said about me. – You made a big growth, though. ‘Cause I remember the times when you be ready to get down immediately. Like, Eisha, when you get comfortable with yourself, baby, can’t nobody say nothing. Can’t they touch you with a ten-feet pole.

That shit would bounce off your fucking chest. It won’t bother you. ‘Cause people gonna talk. That’s what people do. You can’t stop people from saying it out they mouth. – Mm-hmm. – You can’t control that. [ambient music] – It started when I was young. In school I was picked with, teased.

I just… Didn’t want to go. And sometimes I just didn’t want to go ’cause I knew what I had to deal with going.

Everyone kind of always thought it’s just only a phase. I felt that this wasn’t a phase; this is who I was; this was my truth. In high school, there was a teacher that I got into it with.

She used to kind of make me feel like what I was doing was wrong. She basically expelled me. I ran across some girls and saying they kind of engaged in exchanging money for sex, and we kind of, like, did it periodically, you know, to get by because, you know, we didn’t come from a silver spoon, you know. We came from kind of like trying to, you know, survive. I was out on the strip, and a situation occurred with me and this young man.

It was basically discrimination that kind of escalated to him striking me in my face. It escalated from one thing to another, and it basically led me to lose my freedom. I was incarcerated for four years, without a trial. Hi. – [laughs] Hey, Ms. Love. – How are you? – Good, how are you? – I’m doing pretty good. – I am digging the hat. – Thank you. [laughter] – So what have you been up to? – Um… – Where you staying now? – Um, right now I’m actually in the area that you may not feel comfortable with me. – Why are you out there? – Um, as of right now, because of, like, my mom, like, she doesn’t stay with us right now, so I kind of take on responsibility as a big sister/mama role, which is a good thing, but sometimes it kind of be overwhelming, because, you know, bills and, you know– it’s just a lot of responsibilities.

I’m not eligible just to kind of go and apply for an apartment, being as though that I have a felony on my background. This was the letter that came in the mail. It was from Amazon. And they had kind of told me, like, my background history kind of, like, gave me a background check of, like, all the current or any, like, cases that I had had, but that was the reason why I guess that I was kind of disqualified for the job.

[siren wailing in distance] – How’s that job coming along? – Ma, oh, my God. I’m so grateful for that job, baby. That’s to have something to do more so, I think, ’cause at first I was kind of getting discouraged a little bit more of not knowing, I’m saying, I wasn’t able to kind of get a job due to the fact of my background, so… It’s like beauty supplies. – Oh, that’s good.

Yeah, you good at that. – Ooh, whee. Look, Eisha. Achievement letter. – Clean my teeth. I know, I saw it. – You know what, when she was little, she had a lot of feminine ways.

How many times I had to run to her rescue ’cause people want to mess with her ’cause of how she is. – The area that we was in, it was a very rough neighborhood. – Yeah. – So we had a lot of boys that was very biased to the fact of any gay, open people that was out there, so at the time it was very– – It was wicked at that time. – Yeah, I felt as though, what I was gonna go, I was gonna do, despite who felt whatever they was gonna say about me or how they act about me or whatever’s gonna do to me, I did it, you know, off of the strength of whatever the consequences that come along the way, so I think that that’s what really what it was; it was some boys that felt as though they was gonna say some things that [inaudible] me and feel that though they gonna treat me the way they want to treat me, and I went off. – Oh, what about the time that guy was kicking on your mama door, when I was there with y’all? – Ooh, my God. That situation, it was very, very, very, very intense. – Who you telling? I had to back him down. I was so scared. That man was kicking on that door.

He was like, “I’m looking for a girl named Eisha, whoever she is, tell her to come out.” Oh, she ain’t coming up outta here. Now, if you want, you gonna have to go through me. He looked at me up and down, seen I had my butcher knife and I was standing there like– I was scared though, but I ain’t let him know I was scared. [laughs] Okay, you got to live in your own truth. You never worry about what somebody saying about you. – And that’s crazy that you say that right here, that never be worried about what people say about you.

I had to learn that concept of… – We all did. – Being concerned about– – We all did. – Especially in this lifestyle. That’s why I was in a lot of situations I was in, I’m saying, ’cause I was looking at it as how people thought of me, what they said about me. – You made a big growth, though. ‘Cause I remember the times when you be ready to get down immediately. Like, Eisha, when you get comfortable with yourself, baby, can’t nobody say nothing. Can’t they touch you with a ten-feet pole.

That shit would bounce off your fucking chest. It won’t bother you. ‘Cause people gonna talk. That’s what people do. You can’t stop people from saying it out they mouth. – Mm-hmm. – You can’t control that. [ambient music] – It started when I was young. In school I was picked with, teased.

I just… Didn’t want to go. And sometimes I just didn’t want to go ’cause I knew what I had to deal with going.

Everyone kind of always thought it’s just only a phase. I felt that this wasn’t a phase; this is who I was; this was my truth. In high school, there was a teacher that I got into it with.

Eisha Love: A Trans Woman of Color in ...

She used to kind of make me feel like what I was doing was wrong. She basically expelled me. I ran across some girls and saying they kind of engaged in exchanging money for sex, and we kind of, like, did it periodically, you know, to get by because, you know, we didn’t come from a silver spoon, you know. We came from kind of like trying to, you know, survive. I was out on the strip, and a situation occurred with me and this young man.

It was basically discrimination that kind of escalated to him striking me in my face. It escalated from one thing to another, and it basically led me to lose my freedom. I was incarcerated for four years, without a trial. Hi. – [laughs] Hey, Ms. Love. – How are you? – Good, how are you? – I’m doing pretty good. – I am digging the hat. – Thank you. [laughter] – So what have you been up to? – Um… – Where you staying now? – Um, right now I’m actually in the area that you may not feel comfortable with me. – Why are you out there? – Um, as of right now, because of, like, my mom, like, she doesn’t stay with us right now, so I kind of take on responsibility as a big sister/mama role, which is a good thing, but sometimes it kind of be overwhelming, because, you know, bills and, you know– it’s just a lot of responsibilities.

I’m not eligible just to kind of go and apply for an apartment, being as though that I have a felony on my background. This was the letter that came in the mail. It was from Amazon. And they had kind of told me, like, my background history kind of, like, gave me a background check of, like, all the current or any, like, cases that I had had, but that was the reason why I guess that I was kind of disqualified for the job.

And it kind of put me in a standstill again. I can recall that you said that if you had a felony or anything like that, we can kind of go into the scene that if we can kind of get it not expelled but kind of sealed… – All right, so I think what you’ve got here is an assortment of obstacles. – Mm-hmm. – And we can’t get rid of all of ’em. But what you can get rid of is some of them that’ll make the one remaining obstacle a little bit more dealable by the time you get to an employer. And when you turn this in, they’re always going to find that felony, so but what you can do is when you go in and turn the application in, you can say, “You know what, I have a felony conviction for aggravated battery,” and they’ll probably look away, “And that sounds like a really bad thing. I’d like to talk to somebody about it and explain it to ’em.” – Mm-hmm. – Take a little ownership of that, because it is not gonna go away ever.

And explain to them that this is not something where I was walking down the street and decided to jump on somebody. – Mm-hmm. – This is a situation, and you go into the whole story about what the situation was. Let me ask you one other question. Have you given any thought… [ambient music] [door clicks opens] – [sighs] Ooh. – Hey, girl. – Hey, son.

It’s freezing out there. – I already know. Come on, Ms. Eisha Love is in the building. So what you been on? What you been doing? – Um… – How’s your day been going? – Really just trying to stay focused on this book that I’m preparing. – Okay, so how is that going? – Um, it’s going pretty well.

Just a little difficult sometimes. I just hate reliving the story, like, you keep reliving it and, I’m saying, kind of, like, going over it. – It brings you back to the emotions that you had when it first happened… – Yeah. – And everything like that. – It definitely do. – I mean, you a strong person, so I know it’s gonna be okay. – I just think it’s kind of– it’s like being just– keeping hope alive. – Mm-hmm. – And, you know, sometimes, you know, it’s hard to kind of do that. – And then being in the lifestyle that we are in, you know, nowadays, you know, it’s slowly but surely being accepted and everything like that, but you still have your flaws in it, so… You know, you definitely gotta be ready for that. But I see you– you’ve been working at the beauty supply store, right? ‘Cause I know you been wanting to do that for a while for getting to it, ’cause it’s in the area that you like. – Well, I’ve been wanting a job for a long period of time. I definitely been wanting a job; let’s put more emphasis on that. – Right, the job. – But, um, I got something the feel that I feel like that was more comfortable for me– – Mm-hmm, that you can relate to. – And I feel comfortable doing.

You been to the Mini Ball before? Have you ever been to one? – You should go with us tonight. – You should. – You sit around and watch a performance, basically. – Oh, where they… – Yeah. – They vogue. She said they do this. [laughter] – That is called voguing. – That’s called voguing. – Get it right. – He looking– Darian finna go ballistic, though.

Get it right. – Hey, honey. – What’s going on, y’all? – How you doing? – It’s raining and snowing out there. – I already told you it’s snowing. – It’s big snow pieces. – I told you. Hi. [smooches] What’s going on, honey? – I deserve a vacation. – Oh, yeah? – Don’t you feel like you deserve a vacation? – Right now? – Even if it’s for, like, a couple of days, like, you know, two days, three days. I’m gone. And if I like it, I’ll be gone all year.

I want to go somewhere else. It’s a big world out there. I don’t want to be here anymore.

I don’t want to become a casualty. – To what? Violence? – Yep. – When you bring it to my attention that people saying that they came to my court appearance, saying that, oh, they’re gonna do this to me and do that to me, I was kind of nervous and fearing for my life. I kind of felt less safe being behind bars, I’m saying, but what about my family, you know, still?

You know? – We had your back out here, though, Eisha. We had your back out here 100%. It wasn’t like, “Oh, you see what she did?” It was like, “Man, you heard about that shit? That shit was fucked up. And I would’ve did it too.” – How do y’all feel, I’m saying, like, just you being out and you just seeing a lot of the girls, I’m saying, just, like, you hearing ’cause I was incarcerated, a lot of girls that was kind of like getting killed on the stroll and, you know, being in the area that that was a place that you worked at on Madison not too far from that, I’m saying, how did you take that?

Like, you know? ‘Cause I was in jail kind of shocked, I’m saying, not knowing, I’m saying, okay– – It was crazy ’cause some of them was my friends. Like, Paige was just over at our house. She was asking me to color her hair. And she looked so cute that day, you know what I’m saying, at the end.

You know, she got murdered right behind my house. Then it was just like a slew of, like, murders going on with the transgender community around that time. – Yeah, I ain’t gonna lie, your situation definitely opened my eyes up to, like, a lot of stuff that was going on. And you know the news, they just made it seem like it was just another trans life gone. – Yeah. – Yeah. They kept–they made it seem as though… [ambient music] – At least go to the room where there’s some heat. – You have to know the situations you’re getting into, and I’ve been in those situations where you know when you think back, like, damn, I was too thirsty. I let my guard down just a little bit.

And then you get into those situations where you have to go into attack mode. You know what I’m saying? But it’s not the girls’ fault.

These guys really are mentally challenged. And it’s so crazy how they can tick and they switch and they make you have to go crazy. I’ve been sexually assaulted in my own home. – I went through a situation of being on the West Side, I’m saying that’s where I’m from, the hood, K-Town– you know, hood girl– doing what normally girls do to make the ends meet. But–[laughs] I was on the West Side and I had got into it with a young man, I’m saying, you know, that was outside, you know, that kind of, like, didn’t like trans girls and saying– you know how they run their mouth.

They just feel threatened just on our presence sometime, and you be like, I ain’t do nothing. They just want to engage and just going back and forth. “You faggot,” this, that. But I think it’s more so they lack of insecurity, because we–I should– – They don’t understand themselves. – Whenever I come around, I shouldn’t threaten your… – Security. – Sexuality. [overlapping chatter] – You know somebody for so long… – Before you have to take on ’em. – So that’s what transpired with me.

I basically went into ballistic mode, got in my vehicle, honey, and yes, girl, I literally tried to kill him with my car. I didn’t intend to do it, but– – But you gotta understand, though, in the moment, it’s you or them, exactly. – And that’s what I’m saying. There’s plenty of girls [inaudible]– – Period, because they didn’t get in that mode. Yep. – But it’s kinda fucked up when you out here you got to protect yourself and the system not gonna be on your side, especially when you in the right. – True. – Exactly. – That’s true. – I have a homegirl from Minnesota, I don’t know if you know her. Laverne Cox did her story on MSNBC. – My niece. – That’s real. – There’s actually similarities. – That’s real, and if she hadn’t fought for her life, she’d be dead. – I felt and I believe that I did what was right and nothing I did was wrong. – And then to come out without any assistance from the government in helping you be rehabilitated.

And I’m not speaking that on no “give me reparations, my 40 acres and a mule.” Give me what’s the investment that we done put in this country, on many levels, and I’m not just talking about racially. I’m talking about from the bottom up. Period. – I agree. – It’s cold now, girl. You want to go in? – Oh, yeah. [laughter] – It’s a wrap! [lively music] [indistinct singing] – Let’s go! [indistinct singing] [all cheer] [ambient music]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *