I'm a father of five, grandpa of two, and mother of many.
Our photojournalist volunteer enjoyed the vibrancy and education this conversation shares. Recorded in a salon in Dupont Circle, Rayceen takes you on a journey of what it means to be of service to the Washington D.C. LGBT+ community.
I’m a native Washingtonian, father of 5, grandpa of 2, and mother of many.
I’m very spiritual and embrace all sides of spirituality. I consider myself a child of God, and I am a two spirit person. I embrace my feminine side, my masculine side, and I am free. I am at a point in my life where I am so happy to live in my truth. I am so happy to be free. I am just a humble vessel that likes to make sure I am lifting up my community by living my purpose and my truth.
Someone once told me to be in service is the greatest gift of God, and that is why I'm always giving. Many people in my life have shared with me, and motivated me. I think it is important to exchange energy and leave people with great feelings of love. I am the essence of love, honey. I’ve always lived in my truth.
I have a large family of all nationalities and all races.
My mother is my greatest champion. She is the greatest love of my life because she allowed me to be free. She accepted me, and never allowed be to feel ashamed. She used to wake me up in the morning by reciting poetry. My favorite poem was In the Morning by Paul Laurence Dunbar. My mother was the first to show me love.
I was radical, and went from marching with King to marching with the queens.
My mother always told me to speak up for injustice. She told me to never allow anyone to walk all over me, but to do it in a way that is respectful.
I was allowed to bring home everybody to my house. All of my friends who are trans women and trans men, I could bring them in my home back then before they transitioned. My mother was always accepting.
Even with the plight of AIDS, my mother watched me go through that struggle of nursing my friends.
I had to educate her about AIDS. I had to explain that she couldn’t catch it from toilet seats, and so on. She would want to know. She was scared, so I had to educate her.
My second mother was Avis Pendarvis. She was the mother, and founder, of the House of Pendarvis. She was a trans woman who lived her life authentically in her truth. She was an incredible activist. Everyone loved her, and nobody knew she was a trans woman until she died. She lived authentically in her truth about who she was and that is what I loved the most about her.
My children are my greatest love.
They give me my greatest job, and they are my greatest stregnth. I used to ask my daughters how they explain all of me. My children would say they would never explain me, they would just let me walk in the room. They grew up in the 80s, so I would always walk in the room in full double belts, neon shirts, assyemtrical hairdos. When I walked in school and said I was looking for my daughter, they would tell her that her mother was there to pick her up. I would correct them and say, "I am not her mother, I am her father." I would walk in the room, and kids would gravitate to me because I was young, cute, and fashionable. Their mothers were around, but I raised my kids by myself.
The greatest love of life is when we are blessed to love ourselves, to have love, and to experience love.
The greatest love of my life was David Davis. We were together for 20 years. He allowed me to be, and I allowed him to be. I could be vulnerable with him, and I could be safe with him. I loved him up until the day he died. I lost him 7 years ago. I used to tell this story crying with tears of sorrow, but now I tell this story with tears of joy because I want people to have that kind of love. What I want us to understand as LGBT or non gender conforming people is that we have the right to love, we are entitled to love, and we deserve to love.
The Ask Rayceen Show answers community prayers.
I have had the blessing to work in the entertainment field during the the last 30 years of my life. I used to be an ANC commissioner, honey, and I have marched for everybody. I believe in always giving a voice to people who are oppressed, and people who have not had a voice. My passion was around HIV activism, and neighborhood activism. I had an incredible mentor, Tina Teasly, who helped me understand addiction. When Tina passed, I dedicated my life to helping the LGBT community. Whenever someone needs me, I’ll hop on my broom and I am there.
Someone once told me they needed an event where people in the community can learn from one another. They were looking for a way to bridge LGBT issues and information, talent, community, and art. From religion to politics, and fashion to music, there was a need for a place where everyone could come under one umbrella and be affirmed. Black, white, straight, gay...everybody. Pain has no color, no race, or no orientation. When we come together and share that bond, and we find the light in each other. The Ask Rayceen Show in DC creates that space.
I am the official gender blender, honey.
Thats what I called it before we had the term "non gender conforming." I was sitting in a room with transgender people and a conversation came up about Caitlyn Jenner. People didn’t have a lot of good things to say. I think Caitlyn has a right at the table, like we all have a right at the table. You may not understand Caitlyn, or you may not know Cailtyns journey. Even when Caitlyn was Bruce, who comes from a white wealthy privileged background. She will never know what it is like to be someone has to decide if they should use the money they just tricked for to buy more hormones, or get a happy meal. She will never understand that. By sitting at the table and hearing the stories of those who had to, she will begin understand that being trans is just not enough. She will have to begin to do some work in her community.
For those who identify as gender nonconforming, they may have been born female, but they look like they are male, but yet, they embrace both sides of who they are. They don’t feel like they have to check a box. Some days they may decide they look like a male, born biologically female, but like dating women, very feminine women, or very feminine men. They will not be confirmed by any form of gender.
To be transgender.
Transgender is defined as a transgender woman or man who was born either biologically female and identifies as living as a male, or born male, and identify and lives as a female. They identify with being the opposite sex they were born, and they are going to live that life. It is about being free and finally living in a body that fits with you mentally and spiritually. When you are unsure about something, go up to that person and ask how they identify.