Ariela, from Charm, by Phillip Dawkins

ARIELA (Puerto Rican trans woman) I think it’s really great what you are doing for these kids, being like a role model to them? Mira, I’m 33 years old and I ain’t never had not trans people to look up to. I mean, my mami was accepting of me, and she give me all this freedom and stuff, but like I kinda wished I had somebody giving me boundaries, you know? Then, maybe I would not had had all my surgeries right away. Because like I thought there was only one way to be a woman, you know? And like I wanted to move out and live with my pimp and like–Jesus, if somebody had just told me “no”….So, yeah, I think you can really help these chicas. Like a lot.

Context: Charm depicts the colorful inner workings of an etiquette class taught by Mama Darleena Andrews, an African-American transgender woman, in an LGBTQ organization known as The Center. Despite her students’ daily battles with identity, poverty and prejudice, Mama’s powerful love and unapologetic attitude ultimately help her pupils find a new way to respect each other and to redefine what “having charm” means. Inspired by the true story of Miss Gloria Allen and her work at Center on Halsted, this new play carries a message of dignity and inclusion to all those it touches.

More information: https://newplayexchange.org/plays/52099/charm

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