Xion's Story: Transgender Woman Tells Of Life On The Streets (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

Xion's Story: Transgender Woman Tells Of Life On The Streets

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
We'll head back to the District now to bring you the story of 20-year-old Xion Unique Lopez. Xion was born Ronnie Lopez Taylor, but decided as a teenager to transition to becoming a woman. Since then Xion has experienced a lot of hardship on the streets of D.C. And now, she's an activist helping other young people in similar situations. She recently shared her story with Jessika Officer. And we should note this story may not be appropriate for young children.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:00:39
My name is Xion Lopez. I'm 20 and I'm a freelance activist. I'm from Washington, D.C. I've been on my own since I was 14.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:00:51
I come from a very wealthy, big, unsupportive family. I felt like I didn't belong. I felt like it was me against the world. I came out first as a gay male, in which my mom was a little more accepting. But then when I came, it was just like, okay, this ain't working for me. I wanna be a woman. Things got really ugly. Me and my mom's relationship just went completely south. There was a huge disconnect with me and my family because I grew up in P.G. County, so it's such a taboo to even be gay, let alone transgender.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:01:23
I had to go through homelessness and addiction, prostitution. There were so many things. The first thing I went to that I knew of, I met a friend. She introduced me to the stroll, which is known here in D.C. It's like a prostitution zone. I kinda just went to what I knew at the moment. And it was a quick and easy way to make money. I was young. That's where it all began.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:01:55
I actually had a full-time job at the time working at Potbellies. And I would go from the stroll to school, all the way out in Laurel, Md. from 7:00 to 2:00 and then my job and then back and doing it -- it was just like a seven-day cycle for me. I kinda just set myself on that. You know I always told myself that I was never gonna miss a day of work and I was never gonna miss a day of school. That's what kind of kept me in line and drove me throughout that process.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:02:23
The moment where I felt like I was at my lowest, I remember I had went out partying the night before. And I used an overly excessive amount of drugs. And I woke up from a date rape in a hotel on New York Avenue, called The Budget, and I said to myself when I woke up -- blood everywhere, still feeling high and the room was spinning -- and I remember waking up in the bathroom -- just had been robbed and everything. I remember waking up and saying, you know, Lord, if you just give me the strength to get up and call somebody, I'm gonna change.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:02:53
I didn't know that that one phone call was gonna change my life. I actually called my counselor, who's also like my play mother here at the Wanda Alston house. And from there we began to get me the proper treatment and started to move forward as far as working towards housing.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:03:10
I kinda look at my younger sister, she has a car and just the attention and the love and all that from my mother. I do feel like I missed out on that and I wanted that. I tell people all the time now and I live life with no regrets, you know. Everything I've done I've had to go through -- it was a lesson for a reason.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:03:30
I hope and pray that soon there's gonna be an end. I just want the outcome and the circumstances that homeless youth are facing right now to not be as drastic, especially for the LGBT community. When you are homeless, you know, you never know where you're gonna lay your head because you're faced with so many different things. A lot of us are unemployed because, you know, discrimination and just hard to do so many things, you know, getting medical records on your own and enrolling in school.

MS. XION LOPEZ

00:03:56
So many things that, you know, you had done while you were under the supervision of either the system or your parents, but when you're out there on your own, you're out there on your own.

SHEIR

00:04:08
That was Xion Unique Lopez speaking with producer Jessika Officer.
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