Need a pick-me-up or some spiritual nourishment? Written by transgender advocate and warrior woman Ja’briel Walthour, “Live Your Best Life” is ELIXHER’s inspirational column.

As we enter the promise and prospect of a New Year, it is imperative to keep our spirits lifted and the momentum pumping.  We must honor ourselves enough to strive for the best in our individual lives, and to respect who we are as LBTQ women of color.  With the start of each year, we are afforded yet another opportunity to dream dreams, and to reach for the stars.  And in this spirit of “moving forward,” I do echo the sentiments of our newly re-elected POTUS, Barack H. Obama.

While campaigning for a second-term, President Obama affirmed his unwavering support for our community and reiterated his commitment to move our country forward.  I, too, have adopted this particular vision and ideal in an effort to enhance my own vision of manifest destiny.  It has become a mantra to keep me focused daily, and throughout the year.  Moreover, it is indeed my mission and mandate to challenge others as well as myself, to move beyond the constraints of fear and normality in our lives.

“Moving forward” requires a certain amount of tenacity and courage.  And for LBTQ women of color, it is indeed a pre-requisite.  Our lives are filled with love and lost, faith and fear, hope and hopelessness, so much so until we can’t help but to become the heroes we often seek.  In fact, resilience has been a resounding theme throughout our journey.  And as a result, we are a force to be reckoned with, each equipped with the tools she needs to be successful.

Illustrations of beautiful queer women who own their identity and influence in our movement are absolute jewels to be treasured.  We can certainly take note of trailblazers like our very own ELIXHER creator, Kimberley McLeod, and role models like Janet Mock, who are two such pillars of strength among a host of other phenomenal women.  These ladies are true visionaries, who are committed to use their talent and voice to spark conversation and create change.  In addition, the images they present and represent in the media are essential to illuminating our cause.

Each New Year brings resolutions, some are new and some are old, while others are simply abandoned.  As fierce LBTQ women of color, we owe it to ourselves and our ancestors to resolve to live our best lives, both openly and honestly.  We must move forward and embark to carry the torch of valor for our sisters in the struggle.  In doing so, we honor ourselves and make invaluable contributions to a world of opportunities waiting to welcome us.

– Ja’briel Walthour

Ja’briel Walthour is a transgender advocate residing in Hinesville, Georgia—a small, military community located outside Savannah. She currently works with special needs children and has authored a children’s book series loosely based on her experience growing up transgender in the South.

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