Tyra A. Ross, A Tobago Classic Beauty!
By S. Riviera – VivaLaRiviera.com
She’s a model, a statuesque beauty, a crowned pageant winner, and a real talent but most of all Tyra A. Ross is a genuine sweetheart and an advocate for our youth. I met Ms Ross in NYC several years ago when I had first started my website. She was one of my first supporters and then I got to interview her and found out she was a total sweetheart. One expects beauty queens to be the exact opposite but not this runway model. She’s a genuine human being. She is also a real talented performer and now an author. She has written a book entitled, ‘The Transsexual from Tobago” by Dominique Jackson, available now on Amazon, about her life experiences. I had the chance of chatting with her about her life growing up, her trans experience, and her fans or as she likes to call them her friends. So down to earth, I tell ya’. And now you can experience the beauty, inside and out, of Ms Tyra A. Ross.
Samara: How was life growing up for you?
Tyra: Life growing up was bitter /sweet. I had lots of love and care however now that I am older it seemed conditional. My grandmother, Mother and Aunt were my main guardians, I lived with my grand-mother and aunt. My father was never present in my life and did not seem to have a desire to be around me. However he did spend lots of time with my sisters in their early years. My island views and explorations were beautiful. In my mind I would retreat to some of the wonders of my island when I felt alone. My passion was to be a dancer and it brought me immense joy. I was pulled from dance classes twice when my guardians believed it influenced my femininity and forced to play soccer. The first time I was devastated but a few years later rejoined the troupe, permission granted because it was a school troupe. The second time I was refused parental permission I just gave up. I did not have many friends and at times felt very much an outcast. I struggled secretly but constantly with my sexual identification, always trying my very best to hide my feminine nature. By the age of fifteen I had attempted suicide over a dozen times. I constantly heard people speaking of what they did to people who identified differently from the norm and feeling the way I felt I began to fear that one day I would not be just yelled at or beaten but killed horrifically. I faced some very traumatic situations growing up but did not realize what I had faced until I finally decided to face my own reality. All I knew was that parts of my childhood were haunting me and causing me lots of turmoil mentally.
Samara: Tell us about your trans experience, how has that been for you?
Tyra: LOL There have been great moments of self-fulfillment. There have been moments of utter discrimination, prejudice and pain, where you have to attempt to convince yourself that you are a human being and not some rejected, deformed being. There are moments of utter awe as people show you respect and understanding, seeing you as a person of value and not judging you by your choice of expression or what they imagine you do in the privacy of your bedroom with other CONSENTING ADULTS.
Samara: How did you get into the entertainment industry?
Tyra: I was not good nor did I feel like escorting was my true path. Princess Janae and Lady Jasmine James were entertainers at a place in the NYC West Village called Two Potato. They encouraged me to perform as a way to make an honest living after we became like family and they got to know bits and pieces of my life. Princess Janae adopted me as her daughter. They both took me to a club called Hatfield’s in Queens where I met my other Momma Miss Jessica Foxx. My fashion runway work came from many people believing in me and finally deciding that it was about my look not my sex. I thank Zoe and Shaka Mikoko both now deceased and the well-known Courtney Washington a Brooklyn Couturier who kept calling me for his shows ignoring my trans identity and seeing a human being with what they called a perfect body and height to carry couture pieces with a heck of a catwalk.
Samara: How was it that you got into helping our LGBT youth?
Tyra: As a result of the experiences I had as a youth I believed that I was HIV positive and I was going to die. That feeling was one of the worst I had ever felt. Even-though I had attempted suicide on numerous occasions I still could not face death from HIV and AIDS complications. I refused to get tested. When things got serious with the guy I was dating in 1998 my now husband I knew I had to do something because I was now responsible for two lives. Fear still prevented me until I lost two of my wonderful protégés that called me Mom. I knew how I had felt and the conversation I had with one of them a trans-woman age 20 as she lay in a hospice quickly dying I knew I had to attempt to help. I found it an injustice for youth to be infected far more maliciously infected. I met with Michael Roberson a strong advocate and activist that worked for one of NYC’s top non-profit organizations a few months after I finally got tested and was given a negative result and he encouraged me to be a part of the fight against HIV /AIDS, especially for youth. The negative result was a huge relief but my soul still felt weighted but after listening to Mr. Roberson I understood that I could use my journey and popularity to assist others and help to heal my community.
Samara: And now you wrote a book. Tell us about that?
Tyra: My book is my truth. It is my attempt to humanize my community. This is not a tale of fashion, shoe shopping and picking up boys. It is an attempt to bring visibility to a lot of trans-identified people that are looked over when it comes to equality on a whole. It is the truth of what most trans-people of ethnic identification go through. It is also my tribute to all of my trans-bros and sisters that lived their truth and were violently and brutally struck down for it with no justice in sight.
Samara: Are you spiritual or religious?
Tyra: I am spiritual, it feels so much cleaner.
Samara: What advice can you give young trans-girls coming up in life?
Tyra: I would advise them to think of their identity as who they are not what they are. I would advise them to seek a therapist and primary physician in the beginning and during their trans-process and experience. I would advise them to find strength, because as the years go by they will need it. I would advise them to love themselves and treat themselves in relationships as ALL women should, with respect and a drive to be everything they desire to be because a lover /partner should not validate them but that the two parties coming together under true love should empower each other.
Samara: What other projects are you workng on now?
Tyra: I am currently promoting my book ‘The Transsexual from Tobago” by Dominique Jackson (me lol) and working as one of the resident models to Couturier and Photographer Adrian Alicea.
Samara: Where can your fans find your official social media sites?
Tyra: Lol I do not think I have fans, just a lot of friends. I am on Facebook: Dominique Jackson or Tyra A Ross. Instagram: Tyra A Ross. I hardly use twitter lol
Samara: Any last words to your west coast fans?
Tyra: There is that word again lol. I have never been to the West Coast would love to see it. (wink)…
Be well all and just remember there is a whole lot more to a person than what they wear or what you imagine they do.
Thank you all.