Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabrielle Inès.
Hi Gabrielle, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I grew up in St. Louis, and while I’ve had many a growing pain here, it will always be home and a city that truly grounds me, as well as one that I’m fully passionate about.
Furthermore, I’m a Black Trans woman living in St. Louis, and adding to that, I’m an activist, community leader, micro-influencer as well as a diversity, equity, and inclusion educator. I’ve offered education and trainings to local businesses and organizations. Modeled for and collaborated with local and national brands, and told my story to multiple platforms in hopes of inspiring and uplifting others, but more importantly, the voices of other Black Trans women just like me.
This work began a year or so ago when I was at a point of feeling so down, abandoned, and lost in my journey. I had also just gotten out of a difficult relationship that left me feeling broken and isolated from community. So, I took to social media to pour out my feelings. That video gained a lot of attention. And as I looked around as well as within, I quicky learned and sat in my reality – the difficulties of my identity, and found that I wasn’t alone. But I had to and wanted to do something to change that feeling for not only myself but other trans women. So here we are, doing the work to create a better future.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It hasn’t been easy. The fear of violence, ridicule, being ostracized, lack of opportunities, and even lack of romantic partners or prospects due to my identity and forwardness about it is something that constantly lingers.
It is the reality. And even in that, I hold some privilege. However, it’s still my reality.
Trans people, especially Black Trans women are murdered at such an alarming rate. They lack access to safe housing. Healthcare, jobs – life and simply being able to live comfortably and thrive. It can become quite difficult to push through those thoughts and find the will to carry in if I’m being honest.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Though my work benefits all trans people, it does have a focus on the Black Trans Femme experience. My activism and community outreach is what I’m most known for – my visibility. My ability to connect well with others and aid them in not only understanding me but understanding my community.
It is packaged in such a way, and Carrie’s in such a way that it makes people inquisitive and inquire within themselves how they can do more. How that can assist to make the lives of trans people easier. That’s my specialty of any; storytelling and connection in hopes of gaining more ally’s along the way. Building community and cultivating it.
And if I had to speak to what I’m most proud of, it’s learning to be okay, and gaining the strength to be myself – to be free to create these spaces and nurture a type of work that benefits and educates others. When you think about it, this work requires you to give up so much of yourself. I often feel depleted. But it’s rewarding. It’s necessary. There’s purpose and fulfillment in it – joy. And for me, no one can do what I do, the way that I do it. That’s what sets me apart.
We’re all different and there’s beauty in that.
Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I was so timid and shy in early childhood. Rather quiet. It wasn’t until I grew into my teens that the wings that I have now begin to feel confined and slowly, but surely began at an attempt to spread themselves.
I just didn’t have the tools or the guidance, nor the support system. So, in many ways, it presented itself in destructive and toxic ways. And I’ll be honest, throughout adulthood as well. It was a long and difficult journey settling into who I was and am.
My interests varied. I was really into music, R&B to be exact. I was also a child model – modeling for dillards and JCPenney. So, anything artsy and fashion I was all about…
- Email: Muvasouza@gmail.com
- Website: https://linktr.ee/MuvaSouza
- Instagram: Www.Instagram.com/MuvaSouza