Kierna Mayo, the Editorial Director at Ebony.com, the online home of Ebony magazine has published an op-ed entitled "To My Trans Family With Love."
In the piece, Kierna describes her experience from years ago when, for the first time, she met a teenager named Cynthia who was trans.
I was afraid of Cynthia. But I wasn't afraid of the person I had been warned about. I was afraid of the Cynthia I did not know. The one I'd made a zillion assumptions about. I was afraid of confronting a new truth. Here was a person before me whom I had every reason to believe was a young man—except she wasn't. I thought of my own nightly rituals performed in the comfort of my room, performed in the fullness of my own femininity and I thought about how similar, in fact, mine were to hers. I was afraid that Cynthia had somehow changed me. I could never un-know this moment, the moment when I stopped seeing Cynthia's physical size and her male body and started bearing witness to her female essence. This was not a person performing for me, for anyone. She was merely being.
She continues her article by explaining the ways in which meeting, speaking with, and writing about trans people has educated Kierna about the transgender community and about how to be an ally. "I am always willing to listen and learn," she writes. The op-ed concludes with Kierna explaining her dedication to celebrating trans folk in the Black LGBT community and educating EBONY.com readers, even, she says, if she sometimes miss the mark.
In 2011, GLAAD nominated Kierna for an award to celebrate an as-told-to article she wrote for Marie Claire, in which renowned LGBT advocate Janet Mock came out as transgender.