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“Trans are Beautiful”: loving ourselves

On February 14, 2019 I went to teach my weekly class in the Transgender Housing Unit of RMSC on Rikers. As it was Valentine’s Day, I brought blank cards, colored pencils, and writing prompts so that we could both make cards for the people we love and who love us, and so that we could write about what it means to love ourselves as trans, gender non-binary, and/or intersex people. Below is the transcription from what Ms. Kitty Jane Rotolo wrote, accompanied by an illustration from Ms. Dawn Kimberly Cole.

Image of a rainbow with “Trans are Beautiful” written across it and hearts underneath. Created by Dawn Kimberly Cole, an incarcerated trans artist.

When I was recently released from the NYS DOCCS in September I found solace and acceptance in the hands of my trans brothers and sisters at the SRLP. They even threw me a party. A coming home party! I was overwhelmed with the kindness! Love and support that I received from them.

My BFF, Eddie also welcomed me with open arms! She made me feel accepted and loved in a realm beyond the norm. I felt so overcome with joy, acceptance, love! While I was out…and I met people with whom I was able to share my story with. I felt the love from them. Now mind you. These were complete strangers!! But at the end of the day…when I think about it…all of the love, respect, admiration, and acceptance that I received from the LGBTQI – especially the trans people of that acronym – it brings me to tears! And makes me feel a very high, strong feeling of love. It overwhelms me. It makes my day!

I come from a place of long-term incarceration! So I don’t trust a lot of people I don’t open myself up to too many individuals. However, more time than not, I continue to be blessed by the beautiful trans people. May God bless us all, everyone!

Thanking you in advance,


Image of Ms. Kitty’s essay written in script on light pink paper.

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