Malaysia Walker is an African-American transgender woman – she was born and raised male but knew from a young age that that didn’t quite fit and so transitioned to live every day as the woman she long knew herself to be. She has worked for many years as an advocate for transgender people, and has invested much of her time in educating the community at large regarding transgender issues. As someone who has experienced discrimination when applying for a job, and who tragically lost a fellow transgender friend to violence, Malaysia continues to stand up for others who have found themselves facing discrimination.
Mississippi’s legislature passed HB1523, the most sweeping anti-LGBTQ law in the nation, in 2016. The measure is a broad License to Discriminate that denies LGBTQ people in Mississippi equal treatment under the state’s laws. Despite the challenging landscape in her state, Malaysia is continuing to fight for nondiscrimination protections. “One thing I’ve found is that as a community, once we gain an understanding of who we are, what we have become, and what we see in the future, we have no problem making sure other people understand that as well. We need to make sure the younger generations have this knowledge – that it’s OK to be who you are. They’re the ones we leave the world to.”