Rolling Out

YouTube host Nahshon Dion continues her journey toward self-realization

Writer, artist uses her life experiences to tell story of change
YouTube host Nahshon Dion continues her journey toward self-realization
Writer Nahshon Dion (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Sianipar)
Becoming Nahshon Dion and living a peaceful and authentic life has been a work in progress. The Los Angeles native, who calls the Bronx, New York, home, faced gun violence as a gay male. Instead of choosing violence, she’s chosen another path — one that involves telling her life’s story on film in hopes that it will encourage others who want avoid the pain and pitfalls she experienced and find peace.

What would you say is the biggest misconception about trans people?

The false perception that we are abnormal, threatening, and plagued by mental health challenges demonizes us and places us at risk for violence. Being transgender doesn’t automatically equate to being abnormal, having a mental disorder, or being a threat. Mental health issues and violent tendencies can arise from various factors. It’s crucial to recognize the complexity of these situations.

There has been an increase in killings of Black trans women nationally. What do you think can be done to stem this tragic situation?
It’s disheartening and troubling to learn about the numerous incidents where Black and Brown trans women are subjected to violence, misidentification, and often denied justice. I knew one trans woman, Victoria Carmen White, who fell victim to such brutality. The details of her case were shocking. Surprisingly, the suspects didn’t face a prison sentence. Trans women need to exercise caution and avoid placing themselves in unsafe situations with trade. They should communicate their transgender identity to individuals they’re involved with romantically to prevent potential hostile reactions. Providing trans women, especially those of color, with enhanced resources, life skills, education, and inclusion is crucial for combating this issue, along with respect and love.

What are you currently working on?
I participated in multiple writing workshops and crafted a nonfiction book proposal, only to face rejection from numerous literary agents and publishers. I also attended three artists’ residencies. In 2019, I started developing a documentary, Renewed Life. In my role as an arts advocate, I dedicate my time to volunteering as a grant writer and hosting a YouTube show “TRANSBRATIONS.”

What is your documentary about and why do you want to pursue making it?
Renewed Life is a historical and educational film. It’s an extension of my unpublished memoir and centered on my life in Los Angeles County and the Bronx. My film is my contribution to ending gun violence, which has caused immense pain, suffering and destruction in my family and community for over a century. In January 2020, my family lost our young relative to gun violence. Renewed Life aims to showcase how one copes in the aftermath with the community’s support despite the pain and the tempting desire to cause further harm. It will shed light on my journey of coping with grief, managing anger, and dealing with these traumatic events, ultimately breaking the vicious cycle of physical violence. My film is not only centered on gun violence, it’s about how I utilized my writing skills as a teenager and how that ability transformed my life as an adult.

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