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Nikki Araguz-Lloyd urges students to fight for equality

By Amanda Leon and Joshua Bennett
On October 10, 2013

Nikki Araguz-Lloyd spoke to students at Prairie View A&M University on Tuesday as part of the Student Participating In Transcending Knowledge (SPIT) lecture series in the Opal Johnson Auditorium.
 Junior psychology major Londyn Williams, an openly transgender student on campus, introduced the speaker.
When Araguz-Lloyd arrived on stage, the audience seemed unsure of how to react to her presence. As she started to speak about her life, her large personality began to unfold.
The audience was taken aback by some of the comments, jokes, and statements she made as many of them went unanswered and without comment or laughter.
"Growing up as a transgender woman in Texas was really hard. There was no one on TV talking about it and so really the only talk shows at the time that discussed it painted it in a negative light," said Araguz-Lloyd.
She discussed how a traumatic rape at the age of 13 deeply affected her and how she began to respond by acting out sexually.
After losing her first husband to a house fire, she felt lost and alone.
Araguz-Lloyd said, "I felt devastated, betrayed, and really confused. I was in the middle of grieving the loss of my husband; a man that we all loved together. I was just absolutely blown away that I was being attacked by a family I still loved and supported."
She went on to tell the students about the many trials she has had to face since then, including a lawsuit and heartbreak.
Senior sociology major LaFredrick Smith said, "The event was wonderful to have on a campus that was created in results of equality issues. I wish more people would have attended the event due to the fact that more people on this campus need to be educated on the subject. But then again the ignorant will be ignorant and not open to expanding their ways of thinking. Nikki Araguz-Lloyd was amazing. I love how open and down to earth she was. She left nothing out. That's what we look for at S.P.I.T Knowledge! My favorite quotes from Nikki were: "I love shouldn't have to be defended" and "my vagina says I'm a woman."
Williams discussed her experience with living a transgender lifestyle by saying, "It takes a lot of confidence. You have to be strong. You have to 100 percent believe that the person that you are is who you truly are. I walk around campus and I see people look at me or say certain things, but I won't let it get to a point that it drags me down. People are talking about me because I'm so brave and I'm so strong."
Williams encouraged others by saying, "Don't be afraid to tell your parents. I was comfortable with my mom and my step dad saying 'if this is what you want to do, we're cutting you off.' I knew what I wanted to do and I was willing to do what it took to get there. You have to prepare yourself for the negative and the positive."
"No one understands the process of being transgender. I've been on hormones since January. I have female parts, no one really knows that they think just like Nikki said I'm just a guy in a dress or a guy walking around in women's clothing and that's not the case. I've taken the steps to become a full-fledged woman. I feel like the people that didn't know me before look at me as just this transsexual," said Williams.
Williams desires to affiliate with several organizations on campus, including being a cheerleader and a Black Fox. Her determination pushes her to keep going, although she knows that not everyone will be accepting of her.
"PV has started to make steps in to the right place... SPIT knowledge was completely a big thing for me and for the school to do something like that, but I don't see them opening doors everywhere," said Williams.

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