Angelica Ross shares experience as trans woman
The Office for Multicultural Affairs (OMA) hosted Angelica Ross, an African American transgender activist and businesswoman, on Monday. The talk, which was originally scheduled as a part of the Ethical Challenges of a Diverse Society speaker series for Black History Month was rescheduled due to snow. Ross, who is also an actor and author, spoke about her own life as a trans woman as well as the creative design firm which she founded, TransTech social enterprises, and her role in the TV series Her Story.
Named a “foot soldier of the year” by former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry in 2015, Ross started her own company in order to empower transgender and gender-nonconforming people by providing job training and workplace skills.
Ross began her talk by using the analogy of the caterpillar and the butterfly, likening it to the experience of being transgender. It seems easy when viewed from the outside, but in reality it is a painful experience. Ross, who was raised Christian but currently identifies as Buddhist, talked about how religion helped her find worth in her life and experiences.
“Buddhism put me on the path to discover my value. When my mother, who claimed to be an agent of God, told me to kill myself, she said either you kill yourself, or I will kill myself because I cannot live with the thought of you,” she said.
After this conversation with her mother, Ross attempted to kill herself by swallowing several pills.
“I took all the pills in the cabinet and just blacked out. And I woke up at some time in the middle of the night, thank God, and I was basically throwing up everything I had swallowed,” she said. “I hear so many people talking about God speaking to them… but I had this moment where I identified with God speaking to me,” she said. “But the reality is God said, “Why are you trying so hard to make me love you when I created you? Don’t listen to what they’re saying, I know you. What’re you doing? Just get up and walk, and I’ll walk with you.” Read More
Select Past Engagements
- “We Are Worth!” at Bloomsburg University | March 31st
- “We Are Worth!” at Johns Hopkins University | March 21st
- Janet Mock & Angelica Ross at Denison University | March 2nd
- Creating Change: “Creating Sustainable Trans Leaders” – February 4th-8th
- Creating Change: ” The T in Technology: TransTech Social Enterprises” – February 4th-8th
- Creating Change Caucus: The “T” in LGBT Orgs – February 4th-8th
- Musical Keynote at Vassar College – April 8th
- Tackling the T: Being Transgender In Today’s World – Deutsche Bank, Wall Street June 25th
- “Creating a more Trans* Inclusive Campus” Workshop for Michigan State University / November 19th 2014
- Trans*H4CK Boston at the Harvard Innovation Lab – “Trans* Identity, Technology, and Entrepreneurship” / November 14th-16th 2014
- oSTEM / Out to Innovate 2014 – “Each One, Reach One: People of Color in STEM Disciplines” in Atalanta / November 7th-9th 2014
- Transgender Day of Remembrance Keynote Speaker in Chicago / November. 20th 2014
- “Exploring Freelance Employment Opportunities” Workshop / WERQ Chicago, October 22, 2014