Starting in that crowded Bronx apartment with love and children, My Sister follows the sisters' diverging paths in adulthood as they each tried to forge their most authentic existences.

She is still someone who needs guidance and lots of love, and every day is a struggle for her,” she reveals. This person, this soul, this human being, this essence has always been there. No matter how much she has changed, or how different her appearance looks now than it did way back when, I see the same person, the same soul, in those pictures, and it’s in her eyes. “As a trans woman of color, I spent many lonely nights alone with pain that I could have never imagined and the reality is that I am not the only one who experiences this type of loneliness, pain and trauma,” said Marizol, whose story is the narrative that anchors the memoir. I was getting ready for filming in the hair chair, with Mamma D, one of the show’s stylists. Now, In her riveting new memoir, My Sister: How One Sibling's Transition Changed Us Both, Levya opens up about her own journey—specifically, the journey of witnessing, and supporting, her sister's transition. In this excerpt, Leyva reflects on a conversation she had about Marizol with her Orange is the New Black co-star and trans activist Laverne Cox, not long after Marizol checked into the Ali Forney Center, committed to helping LGBT homeless youth.

My mother and I still have them, tucked away in memory boxes, and on occasion, we’ll pull them out to reminisce. Unfortunately I still have fear, I don't like her going out of the house late at night. A conversation with Laverne Cox changed everything.
“Then quickly I thought, ‘This isn’t my sister’s experience. Selenis Leyva (“Diary of a Future President;” “Orange Is the New Black”) and her sister Marizol published their new memoir, “My Sister,” on March 24, where they write “about the issues of violence, abuse, and discrimination that transgender people and women of color—and especially trans women of color—experience daily,” according to the book’s publisher’s page. Unfailingly honest but compulsively readable, My Sister offers an essential perspective on what it takes to grow up both Latinx and trans—and what it means to be supported through that. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. — Selenis Leyva (@selenis_leyva) February 7, 2019. These events proved to be pivotal in helping Leyva understand her sister. What is not OK is to disrespect, to shame and to be harmful for people who are outside of what is considered to be the norm.”, Selenis Leyva on Her Admiration for Her Transgender Sister Marizol. Today, Marizol is a model, chef, activist, but the book opens back when Marizol was an infant, newly adopted into the Leyva family—and the apple of her older sister's eye. I can't say that I don't have fear for her safety or her life.

We say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and I cannot agree more when I look at old photographs of Marizol. Why not give it a shot? “There were many times where I feared for her life. “I felt that there has to be a way for me to tell the story about my sister that people can relate to.”, In the book, coming out in March 2020, Leyva admits she still worries about Marizol's safety today. Selenis Leyva is an award-winning American actress known for her roles as Gloria Mendoza in the Netflix hit series Orange Is the New Black and as Gabi Cañero in the Disney Plus original Diary of a Future President. I realized that I wasn’t mourning the loss of a literal person but the idea of a person. Oprah Magazine participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. People don't say, ‘I want to be gay because I want difficulty in my life. What is interesting is that my daughter never slipped.

Adults want to hold on to ideas, to what they’ve considered to be the truth, no matter how wrong or inaccurate or painful it is to others. Adults, I’ve learned, have a more difficult time accepting change than children do. And at times, it was incredibly painful. Saying this all out loud now feels strange. I want people to stare at me in the streets, I want to have difficulty getting a job, for my family to shun me.'

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